On February 26, 2018, a Judge in Chicago approved an unprecedented $125 Million settlement of a class action against the City of Chicago relating to the operation of its controversial speed and red light camera program. The suit alleged that the City ignored the requirement under its own municipal code to issue the appropriate notice to accused drivers and provide a 14 day grace period prior to issuing a determination of liability, depriving vehicle owners of the statutorily required due process and pre-liability notice. The suit also alleged that the City prematurely assessed late penalties in violation of its own municipal code. Collectively, according to the suit, these practices unlawfully accelerated the City’s ability to issue, enforce and collect fines and penalties.
Under the settlement, class members will be eligible to receive a partial refund of all amounts paid or the partial extinguishment of any debt owed on eligible tickets. In addition, the City agreed not to count any of the eligible tickets for purposes of booting cars or revoking driver’s licenses. The settlement also calls for the City to establish a debt relief program and automatically waive late payment penalties and collection fees if those are the only amounts owed. The City also changed its notice and late payment penalty practices to conform to the law and, under the terms of the settlement, has agreed to continue to do so in the future. In total, the value of the settlement exceeds $125 Million.