A Madison County man and woman have filed separate putative class action lawsuits against the cities of Edwardsville and Collinsville, alleging the cities overcharged for towing fees after arresting drivers accused of driving under the influence.

Allan Lewis and Amy Kopesky allege the cities charged them hundreds of dollars in fees to retrieve towed vehicles. Both were accused of driving under the influence and claim they were forced to pay excessive fees because of their citations. However, if a car is towed under any other circumstances, the cities charge "a fraction of that amount," according to the complaints filed Dec. 6 in Madison County Circuit Court.

Lewis claims he was cited and arrested on May 20. As a result, his car was towed. When Lewis attempted to reclaim his vehicle from the city of Edwardsville, he was required to pay an administrative processing fee of $300, the suit states. After paying the fee, Lewis was given a receipt, which he was then allowed to use to retrieve his vehicle, the complaint says.

Kopesky claims she was also cited and arrested on Dec. 2, 2010. In order to retrieve her car from the tow company, Kopesky was required to pay a level one administrative fee of $500, according to the complaint.

"The fees required under the above ordinances have no rational basis in accomplishing the means as stated by the ordinance," Lewis's suit states. "There is no rational justification for imposing $300 administrative fee upon a motorist to merely issue that person a receipt stating they have paid $300."

In their complaints, Lewis and Kopesky are seeking a refund for the administrative fee they were 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.

Madison County Circuit Court case numbers: 11-L-1304, 11-L-1306.

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