By Associated Press - Monday, December 23, 2019

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) - More than 20,000 vehicle owners could soon be eligible for reimbursement of fines and late fees collected by the city of Cedar Rapids on traffic camera citations issued between 2010 and 2018.

A proposed class-action settlement filed Monday shows the city has agreed to pay nearly $3 million in claims and attorneys’ fees to end a lawsuit that challenged its two-year-old collection program.

Beginning in 2017, the city sought payments for 221,000 unpaid tickets that dated back to 2010. People who received notices had 45 days to pay. After that, a 25% late fee was added and debts were submitted to a state program that withheld their tax returns.

But the Iowa Supreme Court ruled this year that drivers aren’t liable for citations until the city files enforcement actions in district court, which wasn’t done.

The settlement covers citations issued to 20,090 class members.

Those who paid late fees or who had tax refunds seized will be eligible to seek up to $599. After a 25 percent reduction for attorneys’ fees, the maximum payout would be around $450. Pending court approval, notices will be sent to class members detailing the process for filing claims.

Cedar Rapids also would waive roughly $14 million in unpaid citations.

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