IJ Never Stops Working for Our Clients

Justin Pearson
Justin Pearson  ·  September 25, 2023

At IJ, we never stop. When we take a case, we commit to our clients, and that commitment can remain even after the case is over.

City officials in Pasadena, Texas, are learning this the hard way. When local auto mechanic Azael “Oz” Sepulveda purchased property for his shop two years ago, any reasonable person would have expected city officials to applaud his entrepreneurial spirit. Instead, they responded by saying that he could not open at his new location—which had previously been someone else’s auto repair shop for decades—unless he added 28 parking spaces. That many spots didn’t make any sense and wouldn’t physically fit on the property, but the city refused to budge, relying on its abusive code.

IJ took Oz’s case, and, in March 2022, a court ruled that the parking requirements under Pasadena’s code were unconstitutional. After the court’s ruling, the city threw in the towel and settled the case.

But the city was not done with its vendetta against this small-business owner. There are numerous hoops that any business owner must jump through to open, and the city has given Oz the runaround for each one. To date, the city still refuses to allow him to open his shop.

City officials apparently thought that IJ would stop helping Oz once we won in court. But they were wrong.

Instead, IJ’s activism team sprang into action. We organized a fantastic event in support of Oz’s quest, which drew a huge crowd: By the end, 189 locals agreed to send letters demanding that the City Council let Oz open.

But Pasadena continued to ignore its constituents. So IJ filed another lawsuit in September challenging the city’s latest round of obstructionist behavior. We will not stop until Oz’s new shop is finally open for business.

Justin Pearson is a senior attorney and is manager of IJ’s Florida office.

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