Cabbies, Speedway settle lawsuit over race-day license seizures

Taxi drivers who had their licenses seized by police officers from the Town of Speedway after the 2013 Indianapolis 500 will be receiving a few hundred dollars for their trouble as a result of a settlement of their federal lawsuit.

District Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, entered final judgment Thursday in a case brought by the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana and Indianapolis firm Cohen & Malad P.C. on behalf of 69 tax drivers. The suit filed in July 2013 alleged the town violated the cabbies’ Fourth and 14th Amendment rights by seizing their licenses and issuing $50 parking tickets as they waited on Main Street to transport racegoers after the Indy 500.

Drivers will receive about $400 each in compensation for lost fares and refunds of tickets, according to a statement released Friday from Cohen & Malad. Magnus-Stinson’s order also says three class representatives will receive an additional $600 incentive under the settlement proposed in May.

The settlement cost the Town of Speedway $59,250, not including its own legal fees. Magnus-Stinson separately approved payment of $29,250 in plaintiffs’ legal fees from the settlement fund.

Speedway agreed to also issue a directive to police officers and other authorities not to seize licenses of cab drivers on race days. The town will refund any paid parking tickets and void any unpaid citations under the agreement.

“This lawsuit not only served to recover lost wages for the taxi cab drivers, it also sent a message to local government that licenses should not be seized. I’m happy these cab drivers got the justice they deserve,” Cohen & Malad attorney Lynn Toops said in a statement.


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