NCLEJ Sues the New York City Transit Authority, Alleging Systemic Due Process Violations

Last week, NCLEJ filed a class action lawsuit in the Southern District of New York against the New York City Transit Authority (NYCTA), an arm of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA). This action is brought on behalf of low-income New Yorkers who have received one or more tickets, called Notices of Violation, for infractions of transit rules, and have suffered financial penalties as a result.

The lawsuit challenges NYCTA’s pattern, practice, and policy of denying Plaintiffs’ rights under the Due Process Clause of the Constitution by entering default judgments against them without adequate notice of the transit violation, the default penalties, or the judgment itself; denying them meaningful opportunity to contest the transit violation, the default penalties, default judgment, or collection activities; refusing access to documents necessary to challenge any default judgment; and refusing to waive fees for reviewing documents in TAB’s possession that are necessary to contest the default judgments entered against them, despite Plaintiffs’ indigence.

These Due Process violations have an outsized impact on low-income and homeless New Yorkers and people of color, who are most likely to be charged with violating NYCTA’s rules in the first place. And, many of those who are being hounded by the NYCTA are not even responsible for the violations! Homeless and formerly homeless New Yorkers are often the victims of identity theft when their possessions, including identification, are stolen in shelters or on the street and others use their ID to evade tickets and other criminal penalties.

NCLEJ brings this suit with our co-counsel, New Economy Project, the law firm of Drinker Biddle & Reath, LLC, and the law firm of Jerry Hartman, with support from the McDowell Foundation.

For more information, contact Staff Attorney Katie Deabler.

Learn more about this case on Inside City Hall

and in the New York Daily News

Read our Joint Press Release