Another class action filed against local municipality; O'Fallon targeted over 'excessive' DUI tow fees

Kelly Holleran Dec. 20, 2011, 7:00am


A putative class action lawsuit has been filed against O'Fallon, alleging the city overcharged for towing fees after arresting drivers accused of driving under the influence.

Rogelio Saladrigas alleges the city charged him hundreds of dollars in fees to retrieve his towed vehicle. Saladrigas was accused of driving under the influence and claims he was forced to pay excessive fees because of his citations. However, if a car is towed under any other circumstances, the cities charge "a fraction of that amount," according to the complaint filed Dec. 6 in St. Clair County Circuit Court.

On the same day in Madison County Circuit Court, four other plaintiffs filed nearly identical lawsuits against the cities of Edwardsville, Collinsville, Granite City and Alton.

In his complaint, Saladrigas claims he was cited and arrested on Oct. 8. As a result, his car was towed. When Saladrigas attempted to reclaim his vehicle from the O'Fallon, he was required to pay a level one administrative fee to O'Fallon of $500, the suit states. After paying the fee, Saladrigas was given a receipt, which he was then allowed to use to retrieve his vehicle, the complaint says.

"The fees required under the above ordinances have no rational basis in accomplishing the means as stated by the ordinance," Saladrigas's suit states. "There is no rational justification for imposing $500 administrative fee upon a motorist to merely issue that person a receipt stating they have paid $500."

In his complaint, Saladrigas is seeking a refund for the administrative fee he was forced to pay, plus costs and other relief the court deems just.

Eric D. Holland and Steven L. Groves of Holland, Groves, Schneller and Stolze in St. Louis and Brian L. Polinske of Polinske and Associates in Edwardsville will be representing him.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case numbers: 11-L-666.

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