Baker Marquart Client Resource Center: COVID-19 Client Advisories

The firm represents a group of putative class members in a civil action in federal court challenging the constitutionality of the defendant City of Los Angeles’ fines and related late fees for parking meter violations. The plaintiffs, represented by partner Donald Pepperman, allege that the City’s fine structure violates the Eight Amendment as constituting “excessive” fines. The trial court granted summary judgment in the City’s favor. On appeal, the Ninth Circuit reversed the 100% ($63) late fee imposition claim noting at the oral argument that this high rate for paying a fine 21 days late would even make a “loan shark blush.” The amount of late fees collected by the City during the relevant time period exceeds $32 million. The Ninth Circuit’s published opinion finds that: “[W]e cannot endorse the court’s conclusion that the late fee does not constitute an excessive fine.”