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