Could we sue for not getting the title of the car?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Could we sue for not getting the title of the car?

My boyfriend bought a car from a couple a few months ago. He has been struggling to try to get the title in his name. He went to the DMV and they told him he needed insurance to do that first. The man who sold him the car asked if he had gotten the title in his name yet and when my boyfriend had explained he was working on it but was working on getting the car insured first he was told that the man had done it without insurance before and it should be easy. Later, after both the man and his wife and tried to argue that my boyfriend wasn’t doing this fast enough, they finally realized that they had not done their part to send in their information to the DVM and it was because of that that my boyfriend wasn’t able to get the title in his name without insurance. Due to him not being able to get the title in his name he had to contact the original owners of the car to have them help him get it out of the impound lot after it was towed in a snow emergency. It has also gotten him tickets and a suspended license for not being able to get the title and insurance soon enough. Is this something we, or more specifically he, would be able to sue the people he bought the car from for? If so, what would/could it be for? Could there be multiple charges like emotional damages and compensation for the tickets and things?

Asked on March 25, 2019 under Business Law, Minnesota


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Your boyfriend could sue the seller of the car for negligence, which is the failure to exercise due care (that degree of care that a reasonable person would have exercised under the same or similar circumstances to prevent foreseeable harm).
Damages (monetary compensation to seek in the lawsuit) for negligence would include the costs incurred such as tickets, license suspension fines and fee to reinstate the license, impound penalties, etc. The lawsuit can be filed in small claims court. Although the situation is frustrating, it is not sufficient to claim emotional distress which requires an extreme and outrageous act.
Upon prevailing in the case, your boyfriend can also recover court costs which include the court filing fee and process server fee.
A monetary judgment can be enforced with a wage garnishment.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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