The Ohio State Highway Patrol’s investigation of Mershon’s World of Cars has now spawned two lawsuits — first against authorities and now against the business.
Essentia Insurance Company filed a lawsuit this month to recoup the costs of covering the loss of a client’s 1967 Corvette purchased at Mershon’s in 1994 because of a theft investigation.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol began investigating Mershon’s in March after a former customer reported that the title on his Corvette had been canceled because Mershon’s sold another vehicle with the same Vehicle Identification Number. Highway patrol officials were unavailable for comment Friday.
According to the highway patrol, duplicate VIN numbers indicate a car may have been stolen.
After reporting the canceled title, the highway patrol’s vehicle theft unit seized the Corvette in April as stolen property, according to the insurance company’s lawsuit filed with Clark County Common Pleas Court.
Attorneys for Essentia said they could not comment on the case. But according to court documents, the insurance company paid $50,0000, Essentia’s limit of coverage for vehicle VIN theft, in July.
Essentia is suing Mershon’s, as well as anyone who may have been involved in the duplicate VIN number, for the cost of the claim.
Owner Dan Mershon was unavailable for comment, but previously he said he would not comment on the investigation or any lawsuits until the case was over.
Mershon also filed a lawsuit in January against the highway patrol and Department of Public Safety for confiscating two vehicles and parts during a raid in May, as well as harming his business.
After searching the entire facility, the highway patrol took two cars worth a total of $60,000, two VIN plates and six data trim tags, according to court documents.
In the lawsuit, Mershon says Public Safety and the highway patrol’s actions “have harmed or will harm (Mershon’s) business relationships, will place a cloud upon the motor vehicle titles and will disregard both Ohio statutory law and Ohio case precedent.”
Mershon’s has been in business for 31 years and sells about 200 cars a year ranging in price from $60,000 to more than $200,000.
Mershon is asking for confiscated vehicles to be returned and an injunction against investigating authorities, as well as a statement that he owns the vehicles.
The Mershon’s case is still under litigation and cannot be commented on, said Ohio Attorney General’s Office officials.