A woman has filed a lawsuit against the town of Lantana, Florida, after she was fined over $100,000 for parking incorrectly in her own driveway.
Sandy Martinez and the Institute for Justice held a news conference to announce the lawsuit, revealing that Martinez had been fined daily for parking her car partially on her front lawn, in violation of town codes.
Section 6-30 of the Code of Ordinances of the Town of Lantana states: "All off-street parking spaces, including driveways but not including parking spaces located in swale areas as permitted by section 17-34, shall be asphalt, concrete or block and shall be hard surfaced and in good repair in compliance with town codes."
Martinez lives with her mother, her sister, and her three children - two of whom are adults. The household has four drivers, meaning that the four vehicles need to be squeezed into the driveway, leaving one car parked partially on grass.
According to Martinez, she called the city when she was first cited for the violation, but no inspector came to her residence. A year later, she found out that she’d been fined $250 a day for 407 days, amounting to $101,750. Additionally, the city fined her over $65,000 in cosmetic violations such as cracks in the driveway and a broken fence.
"I've been living here for 17 years now and I'm being fined over $160,000 for parking on my own property," she said in the press conference. Her attorney, Ari Bargil, argued that the exorbitant fines were a plain violation of the Excessive Fines Clause of the Florida Constitution.
"The government doesn't have the power to impose the financial death penalty for trivial violations," he stated, revealing that Martinez rectified the offenses immediately but no code inspector showed up at the residence to confirm the changes and drop the fines.
Martinez stated that she left "left voicemail after voicemail" with the town to send an inspector but got tired of "playing phone tag."
WPTV-TV reported that the town reduced the fines to $25,000 if Martinez agreed to pay them by December, but following her refusal to pay, they reinstated the full amount.
Martinez is now seeking a declaratory judgment from the court that the fines imposed on her are unconstitutional.
Sources: The Blaze