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Meter Wars: City Says Man who Filed Lawsuit Is at Fault

Jesus Pimentel argues that fines for expired parking meters are unconstitutional and excessive.

Patch file photo.
Patch file photo.

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


Novato Native April 28, 2014 at 02:22 AM
Ron, please clarify how you are such an "angel" when it comes to Parking Wars! Do you really have a car? And do you ever used metered parking? Or have you never had an appointment run long, a trip out of your home go sideways, a medical issue, the power go out in your apartment so your alarm doesn't ring reminding you to move your car every two hours (you said 20 years), an emergency like witnessing an auto accident, misinterperate any sign around parking laws, or do you have a clock in sync with meters that I know from actually sitting and watching one skip minutes and act like the red light camera's that were found to be corrupt, or are you are a member of law enforcement or a government official with a "government vehicle" or do you visit your financial institution once a week to take out five rolls of quarters to cover your parking expense and always add the extra dollar when you run in for a gallon of milk and in essence pay your fine that way? Do you have a car? Tell me your secret...tell all of us who want to adhere to the law and not violate the rules set up to create our civilized society. Driving is a privilege and not a right, I know, I am at the mercy of the parking administration and DMV. But, how do you know how long the bank line will be or if someone falls and drops all there stuff and is injured and you help them pick their stuff up and make sure they are ok? How do you plan to practice random acts of kindness or time the unknown? Personally I would love to know! I want to never pay another fine or do anything that causes my monthly expenses to sky rocket and literally "throw away" money! Thanks!
Billy Savage April 28, 2014 at 10:46 AM
Nicely done. We didn't have these problems on Grant Ave or Redwood Blvd. in downtown Novato, did we? Sort of makes me yearn for the Black Oaks, Manzanita and rolling hills of the North Bay.
Paul April 28, 2014 at 01:05 PM
$72 is outrageous for an expired meter. LA city should be ashamed to extort its residents like this for a mistake when most of thier residnets are below or right near the poverty line. They should develop a grade, $35 for the 1st offense and up $10 or so for every offense after that. The add on "taxes" and "fees" are an absolute racket as well. The city is the biggest vilolator of false advertising. They're no better than the private scam lots that tow and impound.
Ron G. April 28, 2014 at 04:31 PM
In response to Novato Native's questions...yes I have a car and use metered parking when no private lots are available. While the street I live on does have the 2 hour max parking during the day, another street a block away does not have a 2 hour restriction. In regards going to the bank, I use the bank's parking lot..perhaps you should consider that. Luckily, now you can also use your credit/debit card at meters so change is no longer necessary.I don't sleep through alarms as I have them stationed so that I need to actually get out of bed. Try it, it works. In regards to signs, no I don't misinterpret them as they are generally clear on what will get you a ticket. My best advice to you is to use your common sense..and good luck to you.
Novato Native May 11, 2014 at 03:29 AM
Right back at you, Angel! Xoxo

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