that requires him to go through the courts and, worse, requires him to assert that the previous owner failed to pay bills.
this can negatively affect the person ( credit rating, outstanding court judments ) who MADE A PRESENT OF THE CAR in the first place ... not exactly the best manners.
i used to know a guy in Fla who was buying storm/flood damaged cars and then taking them up to Vermont ( ? not certain which New England state this was ), getting a salvage title and then converting that to a normal title.
whether this will be applicable to you, i don't know.