Active soldier says his name was forged on vehicle loan

By Chris Dickerson | Dec 27, 2005

CHARLESTON – A West Virginia soldier currently on active duty in Iraq has filed a lawsuit trying to be removed from an automobile loan on which he claims his ex-wife forged his signature.

Dale S. Lahmayer is a United States Army Specialist currently serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom as a member of the 92nd Chemical Company attached to the 3rd Infantry Division (Mechanized). He has received commendations and decorations for his service, and he first was transferred overseas on Jan. 23, 2003.

In the suit, Lahmayer says his ex-wife Rachel M. Lahmayer bought a new 2003 Jeep Liberty from Markwood Dodge, Chrysler, Jeep Inc. in Moorefield on July 7, 2003, for $24,379.78. A total of $21,624.78 was financed with Chrysler Financial.

Lahmayer was overseas as this time and did not know of or consent to the purchase of the Jeep, he claims in the lawsuit filed Dec. 14 in Kanawha Circuit Court. Yet, he claims his employment and financial information was used to help finance the vehicle and that the signature that is supposed to be his on the loan documents is a forgery.

Lahmayer learned of the vehicle purchase when he returned to the United States in September 2003. The suit, filed by Charleston attorney Anthony J. Majestro, says he then spoke to and wrote to both of the defendants in the lawsuit – Markwood Dodge and DaimlerChrysler Services North America LLC – to tell them of the forgery and to request that his name be removed from the loan financing the vehicle. The suit says the defendants refused to do so.

Lahmayer then retained counsel, which wrote to the defendants again asking to remove Lahmayer from the loan. Those letters went unanswered, according to the suit. Also, the suit says Chrysler Financial was given an affidavit containing this information signed by the plaintiff. Again, the suit says there was no response.

Then, Lahmayer had to return to active duty in Iraq. After that, the suit says Rachel Lahmayer became delinquent on her loan payments.

In December, Lahmayer's father received a phone call from Chrysler Financial or one of its agents seeking to collect a balance on the loan from the plaintiff. The suit says the call was made evidently because Chrysler Financial had reposed and sold vehicle for less than the amount owed.

The suit says the defendants' conduct has caused Lahmayer to suffer emotional distress.

The suit claims the defendants' actions constitute numerous violations of the West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act, entitling the plaintiff to compensatory damages, declaratory and/or injunctive relief, statutory penalties and costs, including attorney fees.

It also says the defendants' actions constitute "the tort of outrage" and "the tort of defamation" as well as are negligent, fraudulent, intentional, willful, wanton, oppressive, malicious and/or reckless. All of those entitle Lahmayer to compensatory or punitive damages, the suit says.

Lahmayer also wants a declaration that he is not and never was responsible for the vehicle loan as well as interests, costs and attorney fees.

He seeks a jury trial.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Jim Stucky.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 05-C-2711

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