DUNEDIN, Fla. (WFLA) – A man is fighting to save his house after the city he lives in has made moves to foreclose on his home for not cutting his grass.
Jim Fick doesn’t argue that his yard should have been mowed when he was out of town, but he doesn’t think he should lose his home over uncut grass.
When he left for North Carolina in May 2018 to sell his late mother’s condo, he made arrangements for a friend to cut his grass.
“Apparently when you have the combination of the summer temperatures and it’s raining every other day, it’s just that growing season [for grass],” says Fick.
But his friend suddenly died.
He didn’t find out until he returned mid July.
A city of Dunedin code inspector found his grass to be more than 10 inches tall on July 5. Considering him a repeat offender, they started fining him $500 a day.
Fick says in the past when his grass has gotten too high, he’s gotten notices in the mail, but when it came to the moment he’s getting fined hundreds of dollars a day, he heard nothing from the city of Dunedin.
“In my case they didn’t even mail the notice until August 22 or 23 to let me know that they were running the fines since July 5,” said Fick.
He had to leave in August and was fined again for an additional 10 days of tall grass.
“Of course by then the fine had already run the $28,000 in recurring.”
The Dunedin code enforcement board has now moved to foreclose on Fick’s home and he is hoping the 8th Amendment and lawyers at the Institute for Justice will save his home.
“We are arguing in our lawsuit that limitless fines are unconstitutional,” said the Institute for Justice’s lead attorney on the case, Ari Bargil.
According to Fick’s attorneys, they say, depending on the outcome of the case, it could affect similar cases like his in the city of Dunedin.
The lawsuit against the city argues the fines are excessive.
We reached out to the city of Dunedin and have yet to hear back from them.