On August 21, 2017, a Judge in Chicago preliminarily approved an unprecedented $38.75 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 accelerate the City’s ability to issue, enforce and collect fines and penalties.
Under the settlement, class members will be eligible to receive a refund of up to half of all amounts paid or the extinguishment of half of any amounts outstanding on affected tickets. In addition, the City agreed not to count any of the affected 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.
If you believe you may be a class member you do not need to do anything at this time. Within the next few months, a notice will be sent in the mail to those covered by the suit with further instructions. The lawsuit only covers tickets on which a determination of liability was issued between March 23, 2010 and May 17, 2015. A website will be set up shortly with more information about the settlement.