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|YouthPride ED sues Mercedes-Benz for nearly $1 million over an oil leak|
|by Dyana Bagby|
|March 14, 2012 11:43|
YouthPride Executive Director Terence McPhaul filed a lawsuit for nearly $1 million against an Atlanta Mercedes-Benz dealership on Feb. 28 saying its technicians never fixed a continuous oil leak in his vehicle.
McPhaul is suing the car dealership as an individual, not on behalf of the LGBT youth group.
McPhaul and YouthPride also recently countersued Inman Park UMC after the church, the agency's landlord, alleges YouthPride, an organization serving gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer youth agest 13-24 in metro Atlanta, has not paid more than $40,000 in rent.
McPhaul filed his lawsuit on Feb. 28 against Mercedes-Benz dealership RBM North of Atlanta “pro se” — meaning he is representing himself — for nearly $1 million because he claims employees at the Atlanta dealership called him “paranoid” for his ongoing complaints of an oil leak.
McPhaul is suing the dealership for:
He alleges in the suit that in 2008 he bought a 2006 E350 Mercedes Benz from RBM North of Atlanta. McPhaul claims the technicians were "willfully negligent and/or deliberately deceptive" in not properly investigating the vehicle.
McPhaul says in the suit he drove his vehicle for 18 months with a continuous oil leak that was never repaired by the dealership after several visits and that the car also had transmission problems. After McPhaul said he ran over a metal object on the interstate and scheduled an appointment to have the tire replaced, the dealership's service manager called McPhaul to cancel the appointment because "RBM North could not make plaintiff happy."
"Plaintiff drove the vehicle for 18 months with the oil leak because the RBM North service technicians stated that Plaintiff must be 'paranoid,'" court documents states.
"The technicians were even supplied with pictures of Plaintiff's parking space and the increasing number of spots over time," McPhaul states in his complaint.
In addition, McPhaul alleges the technicians "were deliberately ignoring the oil leak and other problems and helping Plaintiff's vehicle to fall in disrepair."
McPhaul also states that he asked RBM North technicians if there were any lawsuits or complaints against Mercedes Benz USA regarding the vehicle was driving.
"[P]laintiff was told that this was not the case even until Fall 2011. Plaintiff's research concluded multiple class action lawsuits were filed against Mercedes Benz in 2010," the lawsuit states.
McPhaul further alleges in his lawsuit that he does not have proper working transportation "because of the willful negligence and deliberate deception of RBM North service technicians and management" and he also states that his "driving experience with Mercedes Benz has been ruined."
YouthPride’s financial troubles became public in December, when YouthPride Board Chair Jordan Myers posted on Facebook that the agency needed to raise $25,000 in one week, and McPhaul said YouthPride had to raise $40,000 by Dec. 31 or face closure in 60 days. Despite that deadline passing, YouthPride currently remains open.
In the wake of the financial crisis, questioning by GA Voice revealed confusion within YouthPride about such basic issues as who serves on the board of directors and when the last board meeting was held. The organization has fewer than the five board members required under its bylaws, and the board has not met since at least December 2010 — although its bylaws stipulate monthly meetings.
McPhaul has maintained that the agency is staying open, although Tana Hall, the former counselor for YouthPride, told GA Voice that Myers told her the agency was stopping operations on Feb. 17. She said she asked to be laid off on Feb. 15 so she could ask for unemployment benefits and informed Myers of this decision.
Myers has not responded to repeated interview requests during YouthPride's financial crisis and did not attend a March 6 town hall meeting to discuss the viability of the organization that serves lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer youth ageist 13-24 in metro Atlanta.
The forum was held by two ad-hoc committees of community volunteers trying to assess the current financial and legal status of YouthPride and insure that at least some services for youth continue should the agency close.
Top photo: Terence McPhaul, executive director of YouthPride. (by Dyana Bagby)
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