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City pays $45,000 to make parking ticket lawsuit go away

Jessica Cuffman • Apr 12, 2013 at 8:00 AM

Jeffrey Zilba filed a federal lawsuit against the city about two years ago, alleging the city violated his civil rights because there was no way to contest a parking ticket an officer left on his car windshield.  

Click here to read the settlement. 

In July 2011, he had parked his vehicle by a yellow curb outside the Ottawa County Courthouse on Madison Street, within 20 feet of a crosswalk. The instructions on the ticket gave him no way to dispute the citation.

Zilba could have paid the ticket within 14 days. If he paid it within 15 to 30 days, he would have also paid a $5 late fee. If he didn’t pay it at all, he would have faced a minor misdemeanor.

About a month after getting the ticket, he sent the city a $20 money order. A few weeks later, he filed a class-action lawsuit asking a federal judge to order the city to quit issuing parking citations and to refund all parking fees from the past 10 years.

After almost two years of litigation, Zilba didn’t get exactly what he wanted, although the city did agree to pay a $45,000 settlement to him and his attorney.

In exchange, the case will be dismissed, according to documents provided by the city.

As part of the agreement, Port Clinton is now required to adopt a new law for parking enforcement, to comply with state and federal civil rights laws.

The settlement came about two months after Magistrate James Knepp issued a 40-page opinion agreeing with Zilba’s arguments. The case was handled in the U.S. Northern District Court in Toledo.

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