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Judge Tentatively Rules Against City in Parking Ticket Lawsuit

The city of Los Angeles improperly relies on a subcontractor to handle disputes over parking citations, Judge James Chalfant said.

A $63 parking ticket in Los Angeles. Patch file photo.
A $63 parking ticket in Los Angeles. Patch file photo.

A Los Angeles Superior Court judge tentatively ruled that the city of Los Angeles improperly relied on a subcontractor to handle disputes over parking citations, an attorney said today.

City personnel write and issue the parking citations, but hand off the processing of the tickets to Xerox, including the task of reviewing challenges to tickets, according to Caleb Marker, attorney for Cody Weiss, who sued the city in January after his initial request for a review of his parking ticket was denied.

Weiss contended the ticket, which he received for parking longer than the posted time limit, was wrongfully issued because he had moved his car in time. The ticket also failed to include his VIN number and accused him of driving away, even though the citation officer was able to affix the ticket to his car.

In a tentative ruling issued Tuesday, Judge James Chalfant did not address the validity of Weiss' citation challenge, but took issue with the fact that the initial review was handled by a company called PRWT, a subcontractor for Xerox.

Chalfant wrote that only the city "as issuing agency" can conduct initial reviews, "and it may not delegate that task to its processing agency, Xerox." Chalfant cited a 1995 change in state law that said only the agency that issues a citation can conduct reviews.

Marker said he and his client are "very pleased" by the ruling.

"The judge correctly applied the law," he said. "The city and Xerox have been in violation of the law since 1995, when the law changed."

Rob Wilcox of the City Attorney's Office said the city had only just received the ruling, and attorneys are "reviewing it." Representatives of the city Transportation Department and Xerox had no immediate response to the ruling.

Marker said PRWT "is not accountable to the city, and its employees are required to adhere to an hourly quota that includes initial reviews. Thus, an employee must review the motorist's challenge, any evidence, the city's rules and render a decision in approximately three minutes or less."

Marker said with about 90 percent of challenges denied under the system, many people give up and end up paying the city.

The city takes in $158 million a year in revenue from issuing about 2.5 million parking tickets, according to Marker.

--City News Service


John Clark July 17, 2014 at 09:42 AM
What is Marker charging for taking on this lawsuit? How much is Cody Weiss out of pocket? Just asking.
Marsia July 17, 2014 at 11:17 AM
about 2 years ago I got a ticket for having my front tire an inch or so on the blue line of the handicapped space next to me. mind you, I had my own handicapped placard hanging in my window. I caught the parking officer and he said "sorry, I didn't see it. Since I started I have to finish. Just make a copy of your placard and mail it in, the ticket will be removed." Liar. When I did all that I was rejected. But I could drive downtown (I live in the Valley) during rush hour at 10am to the only office that handles reviews to sit all day until it's my turn to be rejected by a clerk, to fight the ticket. So I paid the ticket. Great scam. Taught me to demand a supervisor on the spot next time.
Bill Wentz July 17, 2014 at 05:25 PM
What you should have been taught was how to park in a spot properly, you cross-eyed invalid.
Rick Jackson July 17, 2014 at 11:21 AM
I am glad someone had the time and money to challenge these agreements between the government and private companies. I believe these agreements give these private companies more authority than We The People give to our Government Officials.
James C. Walker July 18, 2014 at 07:11 PM
Most parking and traffic law enforcement is about $$$$ and many cities do not care at all whether their ticketing, enforcement, and collection methods are either fair or legal. James C. Walker, Life Member - National Motorists Association

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