CHAPTER 16-A. IMMOBILIZATION OF MOTOR VEHICLES BY BOOTING
§1741. Immobilization of motor vehicles by booting; private property; legislative findings
A.(1) The legislature finds and declares that the immobilization of motor vehicles by booting in the state of Louisiana vitally affects the public interest and the public welfare, and that in order to promote the public interest and the public welfare, and in the exercise of its police power, it is necessary to regulate those who operate motor vehicle booting businesses in Louisiana, in order to prevent frauds, impositions, and other abuses upon its citizens.
(2) The legislature also finds that as the practice of immobilizing motor vehicles by booting on private property has become more common, complaints have surfaced regarding the conduct of some of the persons engaged in this business, including complaints of employees engaging in strong-arm tactics to intimidate motorists. The legislature finds it necessary to establish minimum consumer protection standards as well as remedies for motorists who suffer property damage as a result of having their motor vehicles booted or claim to have been wrongfully booted.
B. As used in this Chapter, the following words and phrases shall have the meaning ascribed to them in this Section, except as otherwise may be provided or unless a different meaning is plainly required by the context:
(1) "Boot" or "booting" means the act of placing on a parked motor vehicle a mechanical device that is designed to be attached to the wheel or tire or other part of such vehicle so as to prohibit its usual manner of movement.
(2) "Persons" means any individual, partnership, corporation, association, firm, or other business entity.
(3) "Private property" means any privately owned parking facility at any location or any parking lot or street which is privately owned and is located near or contiguous to premises having one or more stores or business establishments which is used for the parking of motor vehicles or for vehicular travel by the owner or customers of such establishments and those having express or implied permission of the owner. Private property does not mean any parking facility, parking lot, or street which is owned by the state or any of its political subdivisions or by any postsecondary education institution.
C.(1) Any person engaged in the business of booting motor vehicles parked on private property in any parish or municipality in the state of Louisiana shall comply with all the requirements of this Chapter and all the licensing and other requirements of any ordinance regulating such business of the parish or municipality in which the person engages in such business.
(2) Any parish or municipality may levy an annual fee for licensing persons to engage in the business of booting motor vehicles parked on private property in the parish or municipality.
(3) No person shall engage in the business of booting motor vehicles unless such person shall do both of the following:
(a) Maintain minimum insurance coverage in the amount of one million dollars in general liability, one million dollars in commercial auto, one million dollars in garage liability, fifty thousand dollars in garage keepers, one million dollars in errors and omissions, one million dollars in umbrella coverage, and shall have workers' compensation coverage on all employees.
(b) Show proof of financial responsibility by depositing with the parish or municipality a continuing bond with a commercial surety authorized to do business in the state and approved by the parish or municipality in the amount of ten thousand dollars payable to the parish or municipality, which bond shall be conditioned upon faithful observance of all the provisions of this Chapter and any ordinances of the parish or municipality with respect to the business of booting motor vehicles on private property, and shall also indemnify any person who suffers any loss by reason of a failure to observe such provisions of this Chapter or such parish or municipal ordinance, or any person who suffers any loss, damages, and expenses by reason of a failure to properly boot a vehicle.
D.(1) No person shall boot a motor vehicle parked on private property unless such person has a written contract with the owner of the private property, or his authorized representative, to boot motor vehicles parked on any such property.
(2) No person shall boot a motor vehicle parked on private property unless a sign is posted at each lot entrance. In addition, each sign shall contain the information which may be prescribed by the parish or municipality and shall include all of the following:
(a) The signs shall be at least eighteen inches wide and twenty-four inches tall and shall be made of weather resistant material.
(b) In lettering at least two inches tall in height and in a solid color that contrasts with the background the sign shall read "Towing and Booting Enforced" or "Booting Enforced" as is applicable to the property.
(c) In lettering at least one inch in height and in a solid color that contrasts with the background the sign shall clearly state the following:
(i) The name and phone number of the booting company including the area code and the amount of the boot removal fee and, in the case of a pay-to-park lot, a statement that unpaid parking fees will also be collected.
(ii) Statement that "Unauthorized vehicles will be towed or booted at owner's or operator's expense."
(iii) A statement describing who may park in the parking facility or the private property, such as "Paid Customer Parking Only", "Permit Parking Only", "Resident Parking Only", or similar statement.
(iv) In the case of pay-to-park lots, the sign shall state how to pay.
(3) No charge in excess of the amount contained on the signs required by this Subsection shall be imposed to release a booted motor vehicle. In addition, no boot removal fee or any other amount shall be charged therefor if personnel responsible for removing the boot do not arrive within ninety minutes of the call or other notification that the owner or operator of the vehicle requests removal of the boot.
(4) The phone number required to be stated on the signs required by Paragraph (2)(c)(i) of this Subsection shall be in operation twenty-four hours a day and shall be manned by a live operator.
(5) No person shall boot a motor vehicle parked on private property or a pay-to-park lot because the motor vehicle is improperly parked in a marked space on such private property or a pay-to-park lot unless the person booting the vehicle obtains photographic proof sufficient to clearly show the improper parking, whether by cell phone photograph or otherwise.
E.(1) It shall be unlawful for any person, either as principal, agent, or employee, to operate any vehicle to engage in or operate, or assist in the engagement or operation of, a business engaged in booting motor vehicles on private property unless the vehicle shall have displayed on each side in plain view the name of the business, the address from which the business is operating, and a phone number with area code of the business. The lettering shall be at least two inches in height and shall be in a contrasting color to the vehicle. Information may be on a removable magnet, so it can be removed when the vehicle is not in service.
(2) Business identification shall be visibly worn by vehicle booting agents at all times while booting and accepting payment.
F.(1) Any person who has booted a vehicle shall immediately affix at the rear-most portion of the window adjacent to the driver's seat of such vehicle a sticker containing a warning that any attempt to move the vehicle may result in damage to the vehicle, the fee to remove the boot, and the time the vehicle was booted.
(2) The sticker shall also contain the name, address, and Parish or Municipal Occupational License Number of the motor vehicle booting business as well as the same twenty-four hour business telephone number required by Paragraph (D)(2)(c)(i) and (4) which shall facilitate the dispatch of personnel responsible for removing the boot and a statement that no fee shall be due if personnel responsible for removing the boot do not arrive within ninety minutes of the call or other notification that the driver requests removal of the boot.
G.(1) Upon payment of all fees to remove a boot, the person who booted the motor vehicle, or his authorized representative, shall remove the boot and the window sticker immediately at no additional charge. The personnel responsible for removing the boot shall be capable of accepting payment by credit or debit card as well as cash. However, no boot removal fee or other charge therefor shall be due if personnel responsible for removing the boot do not arrive within ninety minutes of the call or other notification that the driver requests removal of the boot. No release or waiver of any kind purporting to limit or avoid liability for damages to a motor vehicle that has been booted shall be valid.
(2) Any person who boots a motor vehicle, or any other person authorized to accept payment of any booting fees, shall provide a signed receipt to the person paying the booting fees at the time such fees are paid. The receipt shall contain the name, business address, Parish or Municipal Occupational License Number, and business telephone number of the person who booted the motor vehicle, as such information appears on the Parish or Municipal Occupational License granted to the person by the parish or municipality.
(3) The receipt shall also include any telephone number which has been designated by the parish or municipality as the office within the parish or municipality responsible for receiving complaints with respect to booting, if any.
H. The owner of a motor vehicle that has been booted shall have such right to an administrative hearing in the parish or municipality in which the motor vehicle was booted as may be granted by ordinance of the parish or municipality. The purpose of the hearing is to determine the validity of the booting and the fees imposed. The owner shall make a written request for a hearing within ten calendar days from the date the motor vehicle was booted. The receipt provided for in Paragraphs (2) and (3) of Subsection G shall advise the owner or operator of a booted vehicle of his right under parish or municipal ordinance to ask for and receive such hearing.
I. A parking facility operation company, valet company, or a general manager of a parking facility may not have a direct or indirect monetary or ownership interest in a business engaged in booting motor vehicles on private property which, for compensation, boots unauthorized vehicles in a parking facility. A parking facility operating company, valet company, or general manager of a parking facility in which vehicles are booted may not accept any rebate, compensation, or other valuable consideration, directly or indirectly, from the owner or operator of a business engaged in booting motor vehicles on private property in connection with the booting of vehicles, other than the collected unpaid parking fees.
J. A first violation of this Chapter by a person engaged in the business of booting motor vehicles parked on private property shall subject such person to a warning, a subsequent violation shall subject such person to a suspension of the violator's right to engage in the business of booting motor vehicles on private property.
K. Nothing in this Chapter shall be construed to prohibit any parish or municipality from enacting ordinances that impose more restrictive requirements or regulations than those provided in this Chapter.
Acts 2014, No. 800, §1.