On New Year's Day 2009, a Tacoma police lieutenant named Anthony Abuan was captured by a red-light camera making an unlawful right hand turn in Fife. Abuan, though, didn't know the camera had photographed his car since he never received a notice of the infraction.
In fact, according to court papers, it wasn't until more than 18 months later, in July 2010, that Abuan discovered that he'd been issued a ticket -- and only then because he was trying to refinance a home loan and that the unpaid fine came up in a credit report.
In a suit filed against the city of Fife and the state Department of Licensing in Pierce County Superior Court late last month, Abuan says he never saw the ticket because he doesn't have mail delivery at his residential address in Eatonville. He gets his mail at his post office box. As a result, the $124 ticket was marked return to sender. The Department of Licensing keeps both a person's mailing address and address of the vehicle owner's primary residence.
The original ticket fine was also increased to $149 when Fife imposed an additional $25 penalty, and then the $149 judgment was raised again by a collection agency.
According to the suit, "The reporting of the City of Fife traffic infraction judgment to the consumer reporting credit bureau caused the Plaintiff's credit score to drop significantly causing him substantial monetary damage. The Plaintiff is now disqualified from eligibility for the lowest interest rates available .... which amounts to taking of his property rights without due process of law."
Calls for comment to the city of Fife and to Abuan's attorney, James Diaz, were not immediately returned.