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A cancer patient got a parking ticket while he was in the hospital. The city of L.A. towed his vehicle and sold it.


The man had paid his fine, and submitted evidence of his hospitalization

Image source: Pretty face The Situation Room YouTube screenshot

A Los Angeles cancer patient is suing the city for selling his vehicle over a parking ticket he received during an unexpectedly-extended hospital stay.

What are the details?

The Daily Mail reported Joseph Morrissey had surgery in February to remove a cancerous tumor and a third of his kidney. The procedure was supposed to be routine with an estimated two-day recovery period, but Mr. Morrissey suffered a seizure and stroke as he woke up from surgery.

Two more days were added to Mr. Morrissey's hospitalization while he recovered. In the meantime, his 1996 Jeep Grand Cherokee was ticked for being parked in front of his home for more than 72 hours. When Mr. Morrissey returned home, he learned of the ticket but was legally unable to drive after the surgery.

The Jeep was towed and impounded by the city before Morrissey could get a friend move it for him. According to the Daily Mail, he "immediately paid the $68 fine and contested the ticket and tow, submitting evidence of his hospitalization and medical condition to the city."

Morrissey says officials cashed the check for his fine, but never responded to the evidence he submitted. Ultimately, his vehicle was sold at a lien sale. Now, Morrissey is suing the city of Los Angeles for "violating his due process rights after the wrongful seizure and sale of his vehicle," arguing that he could not come up with the $2,000 fees imposed on him in order to get his car back.

"I want them to fix this, I want them to replace the car," Morrissey told the Los Angeles Times. "I felt that I was wronged, and I want justice. I want some sort of acknowledgement they made a mistake, and I want them to fix this. They have altered my life, and as simple as it was, I want my life back."

Attorney Nisha Kashyap from pro bono law firm Public Counsel is representing Morrissey. She told The Times, "This city tows otherwise safely parked cars after 72 hours, but then refuses to consider evidence submitted to contest citations and impound. This not only disproportionately impacts low-income residents, but it's also ableist. These practices discriminate against people like Mr. Morrissey whose medical conditions restrict their ability to move a car and are counterproductive for Angelenos already struggling to get by."

When asked about Mr. Morrissey's case, a spokesman for the City of Los Angeles' attorney's office said, "We'll review the claim, and we have no further comment at this time."

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