Madison - St. Clair Record

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Maag requests summary judgment in class action over FOID card processing fee

By Heather Isringhausen Gvillo | Oct 31, 2017

Law money 05

A class of Illinois FOID card applicants seeks summary judgment in regards to the “unlawfulness” of an extra $1 processing fee for firearm owner identification cards.

Thomas Maag of Wood River filed a motion for summary judgment as to unlawfulness of the challenged FOID card fee on Oct. 18 on behalf of the plaintiffs.

Maag argues that “it is undisputed that there exists no mechanism for anyone to obtain a Firearm Owner’s Identification Card upon the payment of a $10.00 fee, as it is undisputed that the only payment system that Defendants use to collect the fee charges $11.00. Defendant has not articulated any reason, justification or excuse as to why they can legally charge $11.00 for a FOID card.”

He adds that when asked “point blank” to articulate, the defendant objected the request, arguing that it “requests attorney work products and the mental impressions of Defendants’ counsel.”

“In other words,” Maag wrote, “Defendant was unable to articulate any actual lawful basis to support the surcharge, and instead of admitting same, stated a baseless objection.”

Maag asks the court to enter summary judgment on the issue of the overcharge and to enjoin the defendants from charging or collecting the fee. He also asks the court to order the defendants to disgorge and refund the fees.

Maag filed the suit Oct. 15, 2015, for plaintiff Gary Patrick Sterr against Firearms Services Bureau Chief Jessica Trame and Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs.

Trame and Frerichs are represented by Attorney General Lisa Madigan.

In the complaint, Maag wrote that Sterr was charged the extra dollar as a convenience fee through the Illinois E-pay program for processing applications online. He argues that statute 430 ILCS 65/5 expressly states that the FOID fee is $10.

By charging an additional $1, he claims Trame is unilaterally imposing a 10 percent surcharge on FOID cards without statutory authority.

He further claims it is impossible to get a FOID card without paying the extra fee on top of the $10 mandatory cost (except for certain members of the military who are exempt all together) because the Firearms Services Bureau stopped accepting paper applications that allowed people to mail $10 checks or money orders.

"Defendants have charged a minimum of ten thousand people, and possibly substantially more, well into the hundreds of thousands or millions of class members," Maag wrote.

In 2011, the state received 321,000 FOID applications, he wrote.

Maag notes that in order to lawfully possess a firearm in Illinois, "it is generally required to have in a person's possession a currently valid" FOID card.

Madison County Circuit Judge Dennis Ruth granted class certification on June 28.

The class consists of “all persons who applied for a FOID card from March 15, 2015, through and including the date of final judgment and paid a fee in excess of $10.00 when applying for said FOID card.”

Madison County Circuit Court case number 15-L-1337

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Organizations in this Story

Madison County Circuit CourtMaag Law Firm, LLC