Shareholder Derek Brandt Believes Case Could Provide Answers to Questions Relating to Municipal Authority
The Illinois Supreme Court will hear oral argument on May 21 attacking the legality of red-light traffic cameras in the City of Chicago. The Firm, a national consumer protection litigation firm, filed the class action lawsuit challenging the Chicago camera program in 2010, seeking restitution on behalf of all Illinois citizens who have paid red light camera tickets in Chicago. The case is one of just 14 civil cases the state’s Supreme Court has agreed to hear in 2014.
The case challenges the legal basis for Chicago’s 2003 Red Light Camera Ordinance and the ticketing program and administrative adjudication system the city has used since then. Red light cameras capture images of vehicles allegedly running red lights at city intersections. The vehicle owner is then mailed a $100 citation with escalating fines for late payment.
Plaintiffs argue the ordinance is and always has been beyond the City’s authority because it violates state laws requiring uniformity in the enforcement of the state’s traffic laws.
In 2006, the state General Assembly passed an enabling law that ostensibly granted eight specifically-named counties (and municipalities therein) permission to use red light cameras for traffic enforcement. Plaintiffs argue, however, that the enabling law amounts to “local” legislation in violation of the Illinois Constitution and that, in any event, Chicago never re-enacted its ordinance as necessary to comply with the state’s granted authority and the ordinance thus remains void.
Simmons Hanly Conroy shareholder Derek Brandt predicts that the argument will be “closely watched and hotly contested, as the Supreme Court appears poised to answer important questions relating to municipal authority and to the constitutionality of legislation crafted to apply only in specifically-designated parts of the State.”
The hearing will take place in Ottawa, Ill., and is open to the public.