ST. LOUIS – The City of Calverton Park finds itself at the center of a fiery legal battle. A class-action lawsuit emerges in the wake of FOX 2’s in-depth coverage of towed cars and temp tag concerns.
ArchCity Defenders officially filed a class-action lawsuit against the City of Calverton Park on Monday, alleging the city has violated residents’ constitutional rights by illegally towing their vehicles from private property.
The lawsuit contends that cars have been towed from people’s homes and driveways without giving the owners a meaningful opportunity to be heard, as is required by the due process clause of the U.S. Constitution.
FOX 2’s Mitch McCoy previously reported that Calverton Park’s ordinance “prohibits property owners from having an unlicensed and/or inoperable car on the property.” The city confirmed that since December 2020, there’s been a total of 350 violations and 81 vehicles towed away. If the vehicle is towed away, the city will also issue an abatement fee.
The lawsuit contends that city officials have deemed the vehicles as a “nuisance violation” and a “public health issue.” However, the lawsuit argues that most of these vehicles were seized due to lack of proper licensing or expired plates, and not any visible structural defect or safety hazard.
One such instance, as explained in the lawsuit and FOX 2’s reports, involves Christina Reise. She says she had been saving up to pay state taxes while her car had temp tags, expired for roughly two months. In May, the city of Calverton Park moved forward with a tow of her car, adding to costs she would owe over time.
According to the lawsuit, Calverton Park’s Code Enforcement Officer, Sean Gibbons, caused these tows by submitting misleading warrant applications that omitted crucial information, namely that the cars didn’t qualify as nuisances.
The lawsuit is seeking compensation for punitive damages, attorney’s fees and other costs.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates. For the full lawsuit text, click here.