On November 15, 2020, a Federal Judge in Chicago granted class action status to a lawsuit accusing the City of Chicago of “towing without telling” – towing cars without providing advance notice to the owner. The suit alleges that the City’s ordinance grants virtually unlimited discretion to City personnel to determine whether a car is considered “abandoned” and subject to a tow. The plaintiff, for example, is a senior citizen with multiple sclerosis who is confined to a wheelchair. For years, she legally parked her vehicle, which contains special lift equipment for her wheelchair, on her block. City personnel nonetheless determined that the vehicle was abandoned and ordered that it be towed. To make matters worse, the City does not send any warning or notification by mail to the owners of such vehicles. In the end, the plaintiff’s car was towed and sold for scrap by the City. By obtaining class action status the suit now covers thousands, if not tens of thousands, of vehicles improperly towed by the City.
The suit was covered by CBS Chicago, Fox Chicago, NBC Chicago, and in the Chicago Sun Times.