Los Angeles city attorneys seeking dismissal of a federal lawsuit alleging that fines imposed for expired parking meters are unconstitutional and excessive argue in newly filed court papers that the plaintiff is the one at fault.
Jesus Pimentel, the lead plaintiff in the proposed class-action complaint, failed to show that a violation of law occurred or that the plaintiff is entitled to a legal remedy, according to the city's filing.
Further, the fine was the result of Pimentel's "carelessness," according to the city's motion, which is scheduled to be argued May 22 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Frederick F. Mumm.
According to his complaint, Pimental's vehicle was ticketed on Eighth Street downtown at 3:10 p.m. last May 29. The ticket started out at $63 for an expired meter, but doubled because it wasn't paid within two weeks.
Pimentel says he also had to pay a $28 delinquent fee and $21 collection fee before he could register his vehicle at the Department of Motor Vehicles.
The lawsuit, filed in February, alleges that the DMV's threat to withhold registration of his car and/or boot or seize the vehicle if he didn't pay the $175 -- along with the threat of civil litigation, reporting him to a credit bureau and garnishing of his state tax refund -- violated his constitutional right to face his accusers in court.
"The parking meter expiration penalties are unreasonable and oppressive, and grossly disproportionate to the seriousness of the violation," the suit alleges.
The lawsuit seeks class certification, declaratory relief, an injunction and damages.
--City News Service