Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Idris v. City of Chicago

January 16, 2008

PARVEEN IDRIS, BINDER ELECTRIC SERVICE CO., AND KJJ ENTERPRISE INC., INDIVIDUALLY AND ON BEHALF OF ALL SIMILARLY SITUATED PERSONS AND ENTITIES, AND CITY OF CHICAGO EX REL. ROBERT GREEN, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
CITY OF CHICAGO, CHICAGO OFFICE OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AND COMMUNICATION, CHICAGO DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE, CHICAGO DEPARTMENT OF ADMINISTRATIVE HEARINGS, RICHARD M. DALEY, AND REDFLEX TRAFFIC SYSTEMS, INC., A FOREIGN CORPORATION, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Robert W. Gettleman

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff Parveen Idris ("Idris"), Binder Electric Service Co. ("Binder"), KJJ Enterprise, Inc. ("KJJ"), and Robert Green ("Green") bring this action against the City of Chicago (the "City"), Redflex Traffic Systems, Inc. ("Redflex"), and various other parties, claiming that defendants violated Chicago ordinances, Illinois statutes, the Illinois Constitution, and the United States Constitution when defendants implemented a program that uses automated cameras to catch vehicles in the act of entering intersections against red traffic lights. Before the court are two motions to dismiss filed pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6), one filed by the City and one filed by Redflex. Both motions argue that plaintiffs have failed to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.

For the reasons set forth below, the motions are granted in part and denied in part. Counts II, III, IV, and VIII of the complaint are dismissed. But because the court's jurisdiction over this case is based upon the existence of a federal question (see 28 U.S.C. §§ 1441 and 1446), the court makes no ruling on the remaining counts, which are governed by areas of Illinois law that are not analogous to federal law. The remaining counts are therefore dismissed without prejudice, to allow plaintiffs to re-file those claims in a court of Illinois if they so choose.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

Rule 12(b)(6) allows a defendant to move for dismissal for "failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted." When considering whether to dismiss a complaint under Rule 12(b)(6), the court takes the well-pleaded factual allegations in the complaint as true and draws all possible inferences from those allegations in favor of the plaintiff. See McCready v. eBay, Inc., 453 F.3d 882, 888 (7th Cir. 2006) (quoting Barnes v. Briley, 420 F.3d 673, 677 (7th Cir. 2005)). To survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, the complaint must satisfy Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2), which imposes "two easy-to-clear hurdles," EEOC v. Concentra Health Services, Inc., 496 F.3d 773, 776 (7th Cir. 2007). First, the complaint's factual allegations must be sufficiently detailed to give the defendant fair notice of the plaintiff's claims and the grounds upon which those claims rest. Id. (Citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, __ U.S. __, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1964 (2007)). Second, the factual allegations must "plausibly suggest that the plaintiff has a right to relief, raising that possibility above a speculative level." Concentra, 496 F.3d at 776 (quoting Bell Atlantic, 127 S.Ct. at 1965, 1973 n.14) (internal quotation marks omitted).

RELEVANT FACTS

In July 2003, the City of Chicago enacted Chapter 9-102 of the Chicago Traffic Code ("Chapter 9-102"), which purportedly allows the City to install cameras at traffic intersections throughout Chicago. The cameras automatically record photographs of cars that either enter an intersection against a red traffic light or make a turn in the face of a red light when turning is prohibited. See Traffic Code § 9-102-020(a) (citing Traffic Code §§ 9-8-020(c) and 9-16-030(c)). These photographs are "prima facie evidence" of traffic violations, and the registered owner of a car is, in general, liable for a $90 fine if the owner's car is photographed running a red light. Traffic Code §§ 9-102-020(a).

A car owner saddled with a $90 fine under Chapter 9-102 may contest the fine via mail or an administrative hearing. Traffic Code 9-102-040. But an owner may raise only a limited number of defenses, and cannot deny liability simply by claiming he or she was not driving the car at the time of the red light violation. See Traffic Code 9-102-040. Thus, if a car owner lends her car to a friend, the friend runs a red light, and the incident is caught on camera, the owner rather than the friend will be liable for the $90 fine. Id.. However, Chapter 9-102 makes an exception if the registered owner of the car is either a motor vehicle dealership or a manufacturer and has formally leased the car pursuant to a written lease agreement. Traffic Code 9-102-020(a)(3). In that case, the lessee rather than the registered owner is liable for the red light violation. Id.

Three of the plaintiffs in this case-Idris, Binder, and KJJ-were issued traffic citations under Chapter 9-102. However, they were not actually driving at the time of the alleged infractions. Indeed, Idris was outside the United States when her car violated Chapter 9-102.

Idris and KJJ paid their $90 fines, but Binder has not done so. Plaintiffs contest the validity of Chapter 9-102, claiming it violates the laws and Constitution of Illinois and the Constitution of the United States. The individual plaintiffs do not claim that any of the defenses listed in Chapter 9-102 apply to their respective cases.

DISCUSSION

1. Equal Protection

Counts III and IV of the complaint claim that Chapter 9-102 violates the equal protection provision of the Illinois Constitution, and Count VII restates these claims under the United States Constitution. Because equal protection claims under the Illinois and United States Constitutions are governed by an identical standard, see, e.g., Wauconda Fire Protection Dist. v. Stonewall Orchards, LLP, 828 N.E.2d 216, 226 (Ill. 2005), the court will analyze plaintiffs' state and federal equal protection claims under federal standards of equal protection.

In Count III, plaintiffs claim that the defense given to car dealerships and manufacturers but not to other vehicle owners-i.e., the defense that a car caught running a red light was formally leased to another person-creates a legislative classification that "lack[s] any rational basis, and render[s] the ordinance invalid on its face." In Count IV, plaintiffs claim that Chapter 9-102 violates equal protection because the Chapter provides a lighter punishment for conduct that is punished more severely under Illinois state law, and therefore Chapter 9-102 "lacks any rational basis, and renders the ordinance ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.