Seattle, WA: (Jun-08-07) Colette Turner, a Bellevue woman filed a class action lawsuit against the City of Seattle for issuing her a $35 parking ticket when she parked in Seattle on Friday, on New Year's Eve three years ago, even though city code defined that day as a legal holiday and thus a free parking day, she argued. Superior Court Judge Harry McCarthy sided with Turner and more than 4,000 other people who got ticketed for parking on legal holidays. The class included people who parked on certain holidays between 2003 and 2006. An attorney for the plaintiffs said they will seek a refund from the city, though it's up to the judge to determine whether that happens and how much. The city may owe citizens a total of between $300,000 and $500,000. Many drivers paid their $35 parking tickets, others got towed or had their cars impounded.
Turner's lawsuit argued that city ordinance specifically gave drivers a parking break the day after Thanksgiving. If a holiday fell on a Saturday, drivers also got a free pass the day before, on Friday; and if a holiday fell on a Sunday, the following Monday was a legal holiday, according to the lawsuit. Last fall, in response to the pending lawsuit, the city changed the rules and effectively cut back on those freebie days. Drivers now must pay to park the day after Thanksgiving, and they no longer get a free pass on a Friday if a holiday falls on a Saturday. But if a holiday falls on a Sunday, drivers still get the following Monday as a free parking day. Turner and other drivers won a victory when the judge issued a partial summary judgment against the city, saying it violated state law and city ordinance. The judge noted the city's inconsistent enforcement practices during the period when Turner was cited. [SEATTLE POST INTELLIGENCER: HOLIDAY PARKING]