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Judge Tosses out Lawsuit Challenging Parking Meter Fines as Unconstitutional

U.S. District Judge Fernando M. Olguin ruled that the plaintiffs failed to show that a violation of law occurred or that they are entitled to a legal remedy.

Patch file photo.
Patch file photo.

A federal judge tossed a lawsuit alleging that fines imposed for expired parking meters in Los Angeles are unconstitutional and excessive, court papers obtained today show.

In granting the city's dismissal motion Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Fernando M. Olguin ruled that Jesus Pimentel and David R. Welch failed to show that a violation of law occurred or that they are entitled to a legal remedy. However, the judge granted the plaintiffs until June 30 to file an amended complaint.

The plaintiffs' attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

According to the city's motion, Pimentel's $175 fine -- which sparked the lawsuit -- was the result of his own "carelessness."

Pimental's vehicle was ticketed on Eighth Street downtown in May 2013. The ticket started out at $63 for an expired meter, but wsa 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, alleged 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 alleged.

Welch was also fined $175 in February 2013.

--City News Service


Penny Arévalo June 19, 2014 at 11:27 AM
John, masked cursing is also against the TOU. I've emailed your comments so that you may repost them without any cursing of any kind. Thanks! (this issue brings out the anger, I see!)
John Clark June 19, 2014 at 11:34 AM
How about this? "Nice try, Messrs Pimentel and Welch! We're all with you; the fines are oppressive and just plain wrong. Same went for the red light camera issue, where huge fines were generated without direct human observation of the offense. But our court system of justice will defeat you every time when constitutional issues are presented as evidence. Judges don't give a fig about those defenses."
U - M June 19, 2014 at 12:22 PM
Why am I not surprised at all. All we are here for is to have pulled our money out of our pockets. But if the city owes us anything or is obligated to do something benefiting us residents, then all sorts of excuses are ready. And no one is accountable.
Genv Erac June 29, 2014 at 12:51 AM
the whole country is turning into a compiled mass of rules for what people are not allowed to do.its has become so bad that we have only 2 things which will always remain the same without change...that is paying taxes and dying . and the only reason these remain untouched as to the content, because they don't know how to stop either of theses events from happening.

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