LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Jesus Pimentel is hoping to do what many Angelenos who have faced parking citations have likely dreamed about: take the city to court.
Pimentel is the lead plaintiff in a federal class action lawsuit against the city of Los Angeles that claims the fines he was required to pay for parking at an expired meter on Eighth Street last year are excessive and unconstitutional, according to reports.
The 19-page lawsuit claims the $175 “excessive fine” — which included the initial $63 fine, its doubling after two weeks of non-payment, a $28 “delinquent” fee and $21 “collection fee” — violated the U.S. and California constitutions’ due process clause, Courthouse News reported.
The lawsuit also claims the DMV’s threats to withhold registration of his car, potentially boot or seize the vehicle if the $175 fine was not paid along, and report him to a credit bureau is unconstitutional, attorney Donald Norris said.
“There’s a clause called the ‘excessive fines’ clause, which prevents government from imposing fines that, according to the United States Supreme Court, are grossly disproportionate to the underlying offense,” Norris told KNX1070 NEWSRADIO.
The Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states that “excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.”
Using 2009 median income figures from City-Data.com, Pimentel’s $175 fine amounts to nearly 175 percent of the daily median income for a typical Los Angeles resident, according to Courthouse News.
The lawsuit, which does not detail how long Pimentel overparked or how much he initially fed the meter, seeks class certification, declaratory relief, an injunction and damages with interest, Courthouse News reported.
The L.A. City Attorney’s Office did not have an immediate response pending review of the litigation.