On November 4, 2015, residents of Pagedale who had received warnings that they may receive tickets, have been ticketed, or will be ticketed by the city filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. The plaintiffs sued the City of Pagedale under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 ...
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On November 4, 2015, residents of Pagedale who had received warnings that they may receive tickets, have been ticketed, or will be ticketed by the city filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. The plaintiffs sued the City of Pagedale under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and 28 U.S.C. § 2201, alleging violations of the Fifth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments. The plaintiffs, represented by both private counsel and a public interest law firm, asked the court for certification of their proposed Ticket and Warning Recipients class, declaratory and injunctive relief, nominal damages, and attorneys’ fees.
The plaintiffs claimed that the City of Pagedale used its code enforcement and municipal court to generate revenue, violating the Due Process and Excessive Fines Clauses of the Constitution and abusing the City’s police powers. Specifically, the plaintiffs claimed that the City’s search for revenue resulted in government intrusion into the homes of residents by dramatically increasing the number of non-traffic tickets issued, ticketing for conditions it terms “nuisances,” regulating things not included in its Code, and fining or imprisoning residents for minor infractions (including such things as basketball hoops or dish antennas in the front of houses, not walking on the right side of crosswalks, or wearing one’s pants below the waist in public). The plaintiffs also alleged that Pagedale’s municipal court system, through its opacity and inaccessibility, denies ticketed residents their right of due process.
On December 7, 2015, the City filed a motion to dismiss the plaintiffs’ class allegations. On December 21, 2015, the City also moved to dismiss one of the individual plaintiffs' claims for lack of justiciable controversy.
On January 22, 2016, the court (Judge Rodney W. Sippel) denied the City’s motion to strike the class allegations from the plaintiff’s complaint. The court determined that, while the class is quite broad, it does not lack any possible relation or logical connection to the subject matter, so a motion to strike is not appropriate.
As of February 11, 2016, litigation is ongoing. Katrina Fetsch - 02/10/2016