A Pound of Flesh, or maybe an Ounce…
Stanley Epstein is a class action lawyer. And here we go. I reported last summer that Stanley and his wife had begun a class action lawsuit against the city of Santa Monica over a parking ticket his wife received. Stanley was nice enough to call me and fill me in and trust me, you don’t want this lawyer after you. You can read an update here.
Stan’s wife got a citation for parking illegally. They are not disputing that. They are disputing the way it was handled. She paid the fine and then asked for a hearing. Her citation was upheld and it should have ended there. However Stan and co noticed that the letter upholding the citation did not meet the standards set by the state which clearly set down that the city must tell the person receiving the citation WHY it was upheld. (“You were parked in a no parking zone and we checked to be sure it was marked and sure enough, it was so you are guilty”, something like that.)
Other cities in the area like LA, West Hollywood and Beverly Hills seem able to do this, but Santa Monica doesn’t. This is a problem for SM since if Stan wins, they will have to go back and perhaps cancel and refund all those tickets.
Stan is not unreasonable — he simply asked that the city change it policies (it has done so) and then notify all the folks who have gotten tickets that they can, if they like, request an explanation and if they do so, be sent one (there are about 30,000 of these) and if the city can’t come up with a reason, the tickets refunded. It seems that the clerk that adjudicates the tickets actually has a reason written in each case, but they just neglected to tell the poor SOB who didn’t move his car on street cleaning day.
The stumbling block seems to be that Stan wants the city to come clean and tell the story and name the people who screwed up the procedure in the beginning and publish all this in the city’s newsletter. If the city had done all that Stan was willing to go away — after they pay his legal fees. The city has balked at this.
So Stan is going to court and who knows how much SM will spending defending a seemingly indefensible position.
I’ll keep you posted, as I know Stan will keep me informed.