In letters to Riley, the city cited two justifications for towing his legally parked car after 72 hours: A city ordinance and a section of the state vehicle code allowing for a vehicle to be towed when it "is parked or left standing upon a highway for 72 or more consecutive hours in violation of a local ordinance authorizing such removal."
The crux of Riley's argument, however, is that no such ordinance exists here in San Francisco. The aforementioned section of the city's Municipal Transportation Code he claims city officials cited to him is Section 11.1 (a)(9); this section outlines the myriad justifications for removing a private citizen's car from city streets. But the very first clause begins "when any legally required signage is posted giving notice..." The suit maintains that no signage "regarding the towing of vehicles bearing residential parking permit stickers" was present on the block Riley was parked on -- and, what's more, "no such signage was posted within the city limits of San Francisco."
As the suit sums it up, "Plaintiff alleges that Defendant" -- that'd be the city -- "has a policy practice and custom of towing ... otherwise legally parked vehicles without proper notice and legal authority to do so." Riley's complaint is a class-action suit as he believes -- logically -- that he was not the only person whose car was towed due to a policy he claims is legally problematic.
Our calls to Riley's attorney, Deborah England, and the Municipal Transportation Authority have not yet been returned. SF Weekly has filed an immediate disclosure request with the MTA to determine just how many legally parked cars have been towed in this city after standing in place for 72 hours or more.