Thousands likely qualify for class action lawsuit involving Chicago city sticker

Jacie Zolna representing plaintiffs like West Side resident Rodney Shelton, who owed $20K

Leah Hope Image
Thursday, July 6, 2023
Thousands likely qualify for class action suit involving city stickers
Thousands likely qualify for a class action lawsuit involving the city of Chicago city sticker.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Likely thousands of car owners qualify for a class action lawsuit that was just granted last week against the city of Chicago, involving city stickers.

West Side resident Rodney Shelton said his grandmother's old car needed lots of repairs.

It wasn't functioning, so he parked it in a friend's private lot.

One day in 2015, a friend called to say there were tickets on that car.

Shelton discovered he had 77 tickets for not having a city sticker.

With the penalties, he said he owed the city $20,000.

"Just the fact that you have a municipal code that allows you to go on someone's private property because it's open, to do that it's just not right. It's just not right," Shelton said.

Shelton and likely thousands of other car owners qualify for a class action lawsuit that was just granted last week against the city.

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Anyone who got a fine or penalty between Jan. 1, 2010 to present over $250 can be part of the litigation.

"You get one or two of these tickets and someone is in a lot of trouble because they can't afford to pay them, and what happens then is they lose their car because the city tows it or they lose their job," said Jacie Zolna, attorney for the plaintiffs.

Zolna said most of those who got the penalties over $250 got violations for not having city stickers.

"We discovered through this lawsuit is that not only are they ticketing, not only are they disproportionately ticketing minorities in low-income communities, but they are ticketing them in amounts that are higher than allowed in the law," Zolna said.

As for Shelton, he hopes to recoup some of the penalties he did eventually pay. But he said he almost lost his job because his driver's license was suspended due to debt. He had to file for bankruptcy to get his license back and allow him time to pay off the $20,000.

"This is egregious at the end of the day; at the end of the day this is egregious," Shelton said.

The city would not comment, as the litigation is ongoing.

Anyone who qualifies for the class action suit should get a notice later this year informing them of next steps to try to get back money from the city for parking ticket penalties.