Does the city of L.A. essentially deprive you the right to challenge parking tickets it issues?
A man named Jeff Galfer thinks so. He's the lead plaintiff in a new class action lawsuit that alleges the city violates your constitutional rights by making it difficult to appeal a parking ticket.
According to the suit ...
... L.A.'s use of a private contractor to handle ticket processing essentially throws a roadblock at you if you want to challenge the violation.
According to Courthouse News Service, the suit argues that City Hall's use of ACS State and Local Solutions since 2006 means ...
... a parking ticket review and collection process in a way that assures that motorists cannot meaningfully contest citations.
The suit, filled with the kind of anger you'd expect from folks who think they're being taxed unfairly via parking tickets, argues that the city uses the allegedly error-prone violations as a $150-million-a-year money maker -- as ...
... a profit center for the city, rather than a mechanism for enforcing parking restrictions.
Tickets, the suit alleges, have ...
... the greatest impact on low-to-moderate income residents who live in densely populated areas with inadequate street parking.
The plaintiffs say that ACS has only dismissed two percent of challenged tickets. It says, in the meantime, motorists are required to pay late fees as they wait for their cases to go through the system.
The suit seeks restitution for those who challenged their tickets unsuccessfully, including, according to Courthouse News Service, ...
... refunds of fees and penalties, return of impounded vehicles, removal of wheel clamps and registration holds, and fair initial reviews and administrative hearings, plus restitution, penalties, punitive damages and costs..
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We reached out to the L.A. Department of Transportation for its reaction but had yet to hear back.
[Added at 3:44 p.m.]: The LADOT sent us this:
Our staff just received the details of the lawsuit today and are currently evaluating it thoroughly. We have no response at this time while LADOT staff and the City Attorney review the details of the pending lawsuit.