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

Toledo attorney’s fight against a $20 parking ticket has cost Port Clinton $45,000.
Jessica Cuffman
Apr 12, 2013


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.


your master

Good for Mr Zilba, he is the definition of a real American.


i am sure the taxpayers of ottawa county are extremely happy about this!

Finn Finn

Luckily, this doesn't involve all of Ottawa County, just Port Clinton. Port Clinton has become the armpit of Ottawa County; terrible pothole littered streets, vacant store fronts, street after street of dilapidated houses, decaying neighborhoods, no jobs, and NO IDEAS. To the west you have Oak Harbor, still a lovely farming community with a very quaint downtown, to the east you have the beautiful and well maintained Village of Marblehead. P.C. is completely lost. But OH! they have a brand new school, which they couldn't live without, which the poor taxpayer will be paying for for the next 20+ years. Sorry for the attitude but the School Board put that new school bond / levy issue on the ballot 4 or 5 times before it finally passed. The Catawba Island moms got what they wanted at everyone else's expense. Okay, I'm done.


I disagree on one thing Finn Finn, they do have ideas! They have had many very good proposals for the downtown and waterfront areas, but the officials turned them ALL down!

I've never seen a town that shoots their selves in the foot more than Port Clinton! They are sitting on a gold mine, and they choose to have a skate park on the waterfront!

"No thanks" to your marina, shopping center, restaurants and water park ideas, we want a skate park on the water so our rif raf has a place to hang out!

"No thanks" to all the traffic, tourism and revenue that would bring to town, we are proud of our skate park, empty stores and ugly reputation.

The best thing that ever happened to downtown was the Walleye drop, and I say that with tongue in cheek.

Finn Finn

Yeah, I don't understand the "powers that be" in P.C. either. I don't think the City Council could agree on anything to save their lives. They all have their cliques within council and everyone thinks they know more than the other guy.

I'm not sure about the water park idea. I think those things have seen their day. I do like the idea of a marina or restaurants. And I think an amphitheater of some type on the waterfront would be a beautiful and profitable addition to the City. We can only dream.

Good 2 B Me

Just like Sandtown. They cry because the Downtown area is bad, but they do everything that they can to keep downtown from getting improvements. It makes no sense.


Am riding the fence on this one. I wish I were smart enough to fight for every wrong I think is done, but hate to see one person (who probably already has more than enough money) get the whole thing. Also, most of the practices a city uses in day to day operation was written quite a while ago. Who has time to go over every issue if it has worked for years.


Why does having "more than enough money" make a difference? It's a matter of right and wrong.


It's not really the fact that he probably has money. It is the fact that someone who doesn't have the money to fight something like this has to settle for paying the fine. This man (because of his education) has the money to fight it. Therefore, I don't like the fact that he got all the money and some poor jerk with no education didn't get a penny. Maybe the people who also got a ticket in the same circumstance should pool their money and sue. Bet they wouldn't get a dime.

BW1's picture

Grandmasgirl, why shouldn't there be benefits to being educated, and just what sort of education do you think uniquely enabled him to know that he had due process rights? Everything he needed to know to do this, I learned in high school. I got a speeding ticket dismissed on procedural grounds when I was 19, and all I had to know was my constitutional rights and how to use a library.


Good. This crap has been going on way too long. I am glad a lawyer finally got it changed.

Darwin's choice

Hope Sandusky's "study" to charge for parking is watching this......!


well if you make these laws, you should be able to enforce them and if you dont agree with them , you should be able to fight for what you think is right


had he not paid it he could have had his day in court with the minor misdemeanor charge.

Truth Be Told....

"Armpit of Ottawa Co."?? Finn Finn, jealous much??? The new school's were definitely needed, the old middle school was crumbling from the inside out and the kids couldn't even use the drinking fountains as the water was not even drinkable!! Oak Harbor is a lovely little town..if your into spouses MURDERING each other! Marblehead has its flaws as well,racial profiling is very much alive and well in that area. I've had the pleasure of witnessing it while driving with a relative who happens to be mexican. Yes PC has potholed streets, so does Sand town an the majority of every other city with uncared for side streets. Everything you dissed about PC is apparent in EVERY neighbouring city,town,county, some things are worse/better then others. They ALL can be described as a "armpit" because they REEK of corruption,its not JUST PC. So get of your high horse an look around. I do agree with you on your distaste for Catawba, people in that area have always rubbed me the wrong way, "snooty" comes to mind at the mention of residents there IMO.

Finn Finn

Jealous? I don't even know where that comes from. There is absolutely nothing to be jealous of when it comes to P.C. I actually feel that I have to explain to people that I am NOT from Port Clinton but live in one of the surrounding townships! Port Clinton is not held in high esteem anymore when compared to other towns in Ottawa County.

The new school was pushed down the people's throats. Unfortunately, school boards can put levies on the ballot ad infinitum - in November during a general election when turn out is high and the NO majority goes to the polls, or in special elections in May or other "non-election day" dates when only the "Pro New School" crybabies go to the polls and finally push it through. The vote tallies revealed an overwhelming "yes" vote in (snooty) Catawba Island Township. Big surprise, the same township where the School Board President resides in his $800,000.00 home. Regrettably, we don't all possess that kind of wealth.

When it comes to the City of Port Clinton, I'm not on any high horse. I'm just saying it as it is. Anyone can see the disrepair and unbecoming appearance of Port Clinton not seen in Marblehead or Oak Harbor. Let's not pretend that they're all "the same".

Truth Be Told....

The levy passed because the voters saw how good of a deal the matching funds from the state was, and I bet those high dollar homes pay quite a bit in property taxes which goes toward the schools. The article was about a ridiculous waste of taxpayer dollars, not a needed expenditure that benefits the entire community. Our streets are decrepit, our water department is a joke and our council couldn't agree on whether oxygen is good for you or not. But your amount off butt-hurt over paying $10 more per year to support the children of your community is part of the problem in this town. Be sure to keep telling people you're not from PC because I don't want to admit to sharing a hometown with people that can't see the benefit of educating children in safe environments.

Finn Finn

The levy passed because people were tired of fighting it. They put it on the ballot five times. The people that wanted the new school (which, in any contest, would be considered the offense) had more initiative to get to the polls than the regular joe taxpayer (the defense) who was tired of fighting and busy trying to raise their families, go to jobs and meet all the other requirements of their daily existence.

Additionally, my taxes went up $10 a month, P.C. resident. I could only hope it was $10 a year.

Lastly, we all know that the children you pretend to be so concerned about will get a good (and "safe") education in Port Clinton, new school or old school. The problem with "the children" and their Generation X parents is that they are spoiled and used to getting what they want, when they want it. Doing without occasionally is good for the soul, and makes one appreciate the good things when they come along.

Licorice Schtick

Can't wait for my next parking ticket in Sandusky. $$$ ka-CHING!


Paying a $20.00 parking ticket for a $45,000 return is a pretty good deal. Sometimes you just have to take a stand.