Bill Text: NY S04522 | 2019-2020 | General Assembly | Introduced


Bill Title: Provides recourse for a person whose vehicle was wrongfully towed in a city with a population of one million or more against the parking violations bureau in such city or the responsible agent of such bureau by granting such person the right to appear before a panel of administrative law judges which shall be empowered to order the correction of records, the refund of any fee paid to release the wrongfully towed vehicle and the reimbursement of out-of-pocket expenses, including lost wages; defines the term "wrongful tow."

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 1-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2019-03-14 - REFERRED TO TRANSPORTATION [S04522 Detail]

Download: New_York-2019-S04522-Introduced.html


                STATE OF NEW YORK
        ________________________________________________________________________
                                          4522
                               2019-2020 Regular Sessions
                    IN SENATE
                                     March 14, 2019
                                       ___________
        Introduced by Sen. GOUNARDES -- read twice and ordered printed, and when
          printed to be committed to the Committee on Transportation
        AN  ACT  to  amend  the vehicle and traffic law, in relation to wrongful
          towing
          The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and  Assem-
        bly, do enact as follows:
     1    Section  1.  Paragraph  (a)  of  subdivision 1 of section 241-a of the
     2  vehicle and traffic law, as added by chapter 338 of the laws of 1987, is
     3  amended to read as follows:
     4    (a) Every city with a population of more than one million  inhabitants
     5  that has established a parking violations bureau shall establish, within
     6  such  bureau, a properly staffed complaint unit of public service repre-
     7  sentatives to respond to complaints from any person  who,  after  having
     8  satisfied,  by payment, adjudication, or administrative action, any fine
     9  or penalty for a parking violation or after having proven that a fine or
    10  penalty was wrongfully imposed on this person,  receives  a  demand  for
    11  payment  of  the  fine  or  penalty  previously  satisfied or wrongfully
    12  imposed, [or] is denied any registration or renewal application  by  the
    13  department  of  motor  vehicles  upon  a certification from such parking
    14  violations bureau based upon lack of payment  of  any  fine  or  penalty
    15  previously  satisfied  or  wrongfully  imposed or whose vehicle has been
    16  wrongfully towed as such term is defined by section two  hundred  forty-
    17  one-c  of  this  article.    The  complaint  unit established under this
    18  section shall accept complaints either in person or by  certified  mail,
    19  return  receipt  requested.  Each written demand for payment, other than
    20  the first demand following issuance of the notice  of  violation,  shall
    21  advise  the  addressee  of  the  existence of the complaint unit and the
    22  procedure for submitting a complaint. Upon receipt of a complaint, if in
    23  person, or within ten work days after receipt of a complaint if by mail,
    24  the complaint unit shall acknowledge receipt in writing and  notify  the
    25  complainant  of  the  procedure  for  further review. The complaint unit
         EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                              [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                                   LBD02050-01-9

        S. 4522                             2
     1  shall, within thirty days after receiving a complaint in  person  or  by
     2  certified mail supported by the proof prescribed by this section, notify
     3  the complainant that the payment has been credited to his or her record;
     4  that  the  wrongful  imposition  has been removed from the complainant's
     5  record; or that the information sent to the bureau fails to  prove  that
     6  the  fine  or penalty was satisfied or that the imposition was wrongful,
     7  in which case the reason or reasons shall be set forth.
     8    § 2. Subdivision 4 of section 241-a of the vehicle and traffic law, as
     9  amended by chapter 339 of the laws  of  1987,  is  amended  to  read  as
    10  follows:
    11    4.  The  proof  that  must be submitted in connection with a complaint
    12  made under this section is, as appropriate, a copy of the receipt, money
    13  order or front and back of cancelled check; a copy of a police report of
    14  stolen vehicle or stolen or lost plates or proof of an insurance company
    15  payment for a stolen  vehicle,  [or]  a  department  of  motor  vehicles
    16  receipt for surrendered plates or a copy of a decision by an administra-
    17  tive law judge.  As used in this section, a "wrongfully imposed" fine or
    18  penalty  shall mean a fine or penalty which is imposed after the respec-
    19  tive vehicle has been stolen or after the license  plates  were  stolen,
    20  lost or surrendered to the department of motor vehicles.
    21    §  3.  The  vehicle and traffic law is amended by adding a new section
    22  241-c to read as follows:
    23    § 241-c. Wrongful towing. 1.  For purposes of this  section,  wrongful
    24  towing  shall  mean  the towing of a person's vehicle: (a) for a fine or
    25  penalty for a  parking  violation  previously  satisfied  or  wrongfully
    26  imposed  as  defined in section two hundred forty-one-a of this article;
    27  (b) for a parking violation which  the  person  is  in  the  process  of
    28  contesting  with  the  parking  violations  bureau; (c) for inaccurately
    29  being deemed a scofflaw; (d) for illegal parking when  the  vehicle  was
    30  legally  parked  at  the time of the tow; or (e) for the operation of an
    31  unlicensed, uninsured or unregistered  vehicle  when  such  vehicle  was
    32  properly licensed, insured or registered at the time of the tow.
    33    2.  Where  a  person's  vehicle is wrongfully towed, such person shall
    34  have the right to have an expedited  review  before  a  panel  of  three
    35  administrative  law  judges  as provided in paragraph (b) of subdivision
    36  one of section two hundred forty-one-a of this article. Such panel shall
    37  be empowered to compel the bureau or other responsible agent to  produce
    38  records and other evidence relevant and material to the complainant. The
    39  complainant or person shall be required to submit proof with a complaint
    40  made under this section. Such proof shall consist of, as is appropriate,
    41  a  copy  of  the  receipt, money order, or front and back of a cancelled
    42  check; a copy of a decision by an administrative law judge, a copy of  a
    43  police  report  of  stolen  vehicle  or  plates or proof of an insurance
    44  company payment for a stolen vehicle, or a department of motor  vehicles
    45  receipt  for  surrendered  plates  or  a copy of a current registration,
    46  license or proof of insurance.
    47    3. The panel of administrative law judges shall be empowered to direct
    48  that the bureau's and/or other responsible agent's records  be  changed,
    49  as appropriate, to ensure that no further demand is made for the fine or
    50  penalty  previously  satisfied  or  wrongfully  imposed  and/or  that no
    51  further wrongful towing action is taken against the vehicle for the same
    52  reason as the first wrongful tow and the bureau and any other  responsi-
    53  ble agent shall comply with such directive. Further, the panel of admin-
    54  istrative law judges, upon petition by the complainant or person, may at
    55  its  sole  discretion,  direct  the  parking  violations bureau or other
    56  responsible agent to refund any money paid  to  release  the  wrongfully

        S. 4522                             3
     1  towed  vehicle  and  to pay the complainant whose vehicle was wrongfully
     2  towed such out-of-pocket expenses,  not  to  exceed  one  hundred  fifty
     3  dollars,  as  the  panel  deems  reasonable only in such cases where the
     4  complainant  or person sufficiently demonstrates that his or her vehicle
     5  was wrongfully towed. Such out-of-pocket expenses shall include, but not
     6  be limited to, lost wages, provided the complainant  or  person  submits
     7  proof, satisfactory to the panel of such expenses incurred.  The payment
     8  of  any  refund  by  the  parking violations bureau or other responsible
     9  agent shall be made  within  thirty  days  of  the  date  the  panel  so
    10  directed.    After filing of a petition by the complainant or person and
    11  subsequent finding by the panel that payment was not timely  made,  such
    12  payment shall be doubled.
    13    4.  If the person's vehicle is wrongfully towed a second or subsequent
    14  time for the same reason as the first wrongful tow then such person  has
    15  the  right  to request and the panel is authorized to direct the parking
    16  violations bureau or the responsible agent to refund any money  paid  to
    17  release  the  wrongfully  towed  vehicle  and  to pay the complainant or
    18  person double the amount of his or her out-of-pocket expenses.
    19    § 4. This act shall take effect on the first of November next succeed-
    20  ing the date on which it shall have become a law.
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