7th circuit of appeals ruling
Since 2010, a group of Chicago drivers has been quietly challenging the legality of Chicago's red light camera program in a class action lawsuit.
But this past week, the plaintiffs' case was dealt a major blow when the First District of the Illinois Appellate Court unanimously upheld a previous ruling by the Cook County Circuit Court, which dismissed the lawsuit in 2011.
"We are pleased that the appellate court has upheld the validity of our ordinance and dismissed this case in its entirety," said Chicago Law Department spokesman Roderick Drew.
The lawsuit claims the city did not have the legal right to establish its red light camera program when it was first created. That's because the original RLC ordinance was passed in 2003, before the State of Illinois had a law on the books permitting this type of automated traffic enforcement.
The lawsuit also argues the city lacked home rule authority to do so, claiming the Illinois Vehicle Code did not permit this type of enforcement at the time. Home rule is the ability for municipalities with populations over 25,000 to pass laws that might normally be issued at the state level.
The State of Illinois eventually passed a law allowing red light cameras for municipalities within just eight counties: Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, Madison, Will, McHenry and St. Clair
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Supreme Court agrees to hear arguments over Chicago’s red light program, FOIA and legal malpractice matters
September 26, 2013 12:47 PM
By BETHANY KRAJELIS
illinois supreme court groupThe Illinois Supreme Court this week agreed to hear arguments in more than a dozen cases.
Likely to be of most interest to Chicago area residents is a case that challenges the city’s red light program, a municipal ordinance enacted a decade ago that penalizes owners of vehicles caught violating red traffic light signals.
This case — Elizabeth Keating et al. v. City of Chicago –is one of 14 civil and nine criminal cases in which the justices granted petitions for leave to appeal in. They denied more than 400 petitions.
At issue in this case is whether the lower court erred in dismissing a suit that seven motorists brought over the city’s red light camera ordinance.
Among other allegations, the plaintiffs argued that the city lacked home rule authority to enact the 2003 ordinance and that a 2006 state law authorizing the red light camera programs in eight counties – Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, Madison, McHenry, St. Clair and Will—is unconstitutional.
Determining that the ordinance was valid and the enabling statute was constitutional, the Cook County Circuit Court dismissed the plaintiffs’ suit for failure to state a claim.
It also dismissed the claims of two of the plaintiffs for lack of standing because they were not issued red light camera citations from the city and held that the remaining plaintiffs’ claims were barred because they voluntarily paid the fines for the citations.
The First District Appellate Court affirmed. It, however, found that the lower court erred in dismissing the suit on the basis of the voluntary payment doctrine, determining that dismissal was appropriate based on the plaintiffs’ failure to state a cause of action.
In addition to this case, the state high court agreed to hear arguments in two separate matters dealing with alleged legal malpractice.
Those cases are Morton Goldfine, et al. v. Barack, Ferrazzano, Kirschbaum and Perlman, et al. and The Estate of Perry C. Powell v. John C. Wunsch P.C., et al.
The Goldfine legal malpractice case stems from an underlying cause of action for a violation of the state’s Securities Law and the Powell matter focuses on the defendants’ representation of the decedent’s family in the a wrongful death suit against the decedent’s medical providers.
The justices also agreed to hear a pair of cases challenging dismissals of actions brought under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
Those cases are Warren Garlick v. Lisa Madigan and Larry Nelson, et al. v The County of Kendall.
The Garlick case deals with the circuit court’s dismissal of the plaintiff’s suit over a FOIA request he made to the Attorney General’s office and Nelson presents the court with the question of whether a state’s attorney’s office is a “public body” under FOIA.
To view the court’s entire list of allowed and denied petitions, go to state.il.us/court and click on the “Leave to Appeal Dispositions” tab on the left side of the page.
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Illinois will be waiting on ruling while the ruling in other states is this.
Judges say red-light cameras are now unconstitutional or invalid in five Missouri cities.
The Missouri Supreme Court will not take on two court cases involving red-light cameras in Ellisville and Arnold, effectively invalidating the cities' ordinances.
The Supreme Court has turned down five recent chances to have its say on the controversial cameras, leaving Missouri with a confusing patchwork of red-light laws.
"There's nothing on the horizon here to show the Supreme Court is going to weigh in," says St. Louis-based attorney Ryan Keane, who tried the five cases out of Ellisville, Arnold, Creve Coeur, Florissant and Kansas City, all of which were turned down by the Supreme Court. "This was the opportunity, and they decided not to. We don't know why they didn't."
CLEVELAND, Ohio -- The appellate court ruling that Cleveland's traffic camera system is unconstitutional has several suburbs still sorting through options about how to respond given the camera networks in their cities.
East Cleveland Mayor Gary Norton Jr. said Monday the city hasn't yet decided on any changes to its camera program because of the court ruling. In Parma, spokeswoman Jeannie Roberts said the city is still reviewing its alternatives. Michael Pokorny, law director in Parma Heights, said his city also hasn't finalized its response.