Do you receive a parking ticket after having your car’s tires engraved?
If a recent ruling in Michigan is anything to go by, you could have a class action claim — and a chance to recoup the cost of the ticket.
The news comes thanks to a parking ticket case in Saginaw, Michigan that made its way to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in 2019, where the judges ruled that chalking tires violates the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution.
Now the case has been certified to go forward as a class action lawsuit, the Detroit Free Press reports.
This could have broad implications for drivers in Saginaw and beyond, legal experts say. The class action claims that thousands of Saginaw residents should be refunded for parking tickets they paid through the “unconstitutional tire chalking process”.
“The fact that the class action has been certified raises the stakes for the city. It offers the possibility of a remedy and of institutional changes that would benefit the citizens,” consumer law expert Danny Karon told Top Class Actions.
The 6th Circuit has jurisdiction over the district courts of Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee, which means its decision will apply to similar cases in the countless municipalities in those states that use chalking in the enforcement of fines.
“If there’s chalking out there, you can bet there’s going to be chalking class action lawsuits popping up in all those states,” Karon said.
We can also expect to see similar cases appear outside of the 6th Circuit, as the decision was not made on Michigan law, but on federal law, Karon said.
“If federal law is involved — and the Constitution is as federal as it gets — you can expect the ruling to encourage litigation in other states.”
The case was also cited by lawyers pursue Los Angeles and San Diego on a similar practice in these California cities.
However, for lawyers to take the case, there has to be money, and it’s hard to get money just from asking for an injunction and plaintiffs asking for money for tickets. parking.
“I don’t know the theory of these lawyers to monetize the claim and get paid. It’s hard to take a percentage of ‘stop doing that,'” he said.
Chalking is a practice used by parking officials nationwide to monitor how long a car has been in a parking spot. They mark a tire with chalk and then come back later to see if the car has moved.
Saginaw resident Alison Taylor started building his case against the city in 2016, after getting 14 parking tickets in three years.
According to his case, one parking attendant in particular was a “prolific crayoner.” His attorneys, an outside legal adviser, argued that the chalking violated the Fourth Amendment restriction on unreasonable search and seizure.
The case slowly made its way to the 6th Circuit, where a panel of three judges unanimously agreed: chalking is indeed a “search” for purposes of the Fourth Amendment because government officials physically encroach on a constitutionally protected area to obtain information.
The decision came after the The Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that sticking a GPS tracker on a car counted as a “search”, which is like marking a tire with chalk to determine how long it has been parked, the court wrote.
Do you have tickets after having your tires spit out? Let us know about your experience in the comments!
Taylor is represented by Philip Ellison of Outside Legal Counsel PLC and by Matthew E. Gronda.
the Unconstitutional class action for tire chalking is Alison Patricia Taylor v. Town of Saginaw, et al.Case No. 17-2126, before the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
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