11/16/2010Illinois Man Sues Cops Over Bogus, Retaliatory Tickets
Chicago, Illinois police bill man $1985 in bogus parking tickets. Man fights back with federal lawsuit.
A motorist filed a federal lawsuit against Chicago, Illinois police officers who issued twenty-four bogus parking tickets against him over the course of fourteen months. The tickets arrived in groups of three and four and were for violations that frequently contradicted one another, requiring the vehicle to be in more than one place at a time. Mark Geinosky suspects they conspired against him to extract revenge on behalf of his ex-wife.
"Plaintiff alleges that he received tickets for violations which never occurred, and which the defendant officers knew had not occurred, as part of a deliberate campaign by officers in Unit 253 to harass him," Geinosky's lawyer wrote in a brief to the court. "Plaintiff was forced, over and over again, to respond to bogus parking tickets which the defendant officers gave him for malicious reasons."
Mark Geinosky separated from his wife of twenty years, Sharon, on October 6, 2007. As part of their separation, Sharon Geinosky continued to drive a Toyota that had been registered in Mark Geinosky's name. Within twelve days, Mark Geinosky began receiving parking tickets in the mail in groups of three and four worth around $300 per set. Alleged violations included parking in front of a fire hydrant, parking in a crosswalk and blocking a roadway.
Over several months, Geinosky contested each citation and won before administrative law officers who separately found all the tickets to be unfounded. When Geinosky filed a complaint with the police internal affairs division, he was blown off by an officer who explained the division did not investigate parking tickets. In September 2008, Geinosky sold the Toyota and got himself a new license plate. Nonetheless, on October 7, Officers Kenneth Wilkerson issued three more tickets worth $250 for parking at 7379 South Chicago at 10pm.
"In fact, it was impossible for Plaintiff to commit the alleged violations as he was no longer in possession of the Toyota," Geinosky attorney Louis J. Meyer wrote.
Another batch of tickets arrived in December and Geinosky saw no alternative but to call the Chicago Tribune to draw attention to his plight. In March 2010, Geinosky filed suit against Wilkerson and his fellow Chicago Police Officers Steven Sabatino, Horst Hegewald, William Whelehan, Paul Roque, Jennifer Fregeau, Brian Reidy and Luis Aguilar. All were assigned to Unit 253. For their part, the police officers denied any wrongdoing through the city attorneys who argued that Geinosky has already seen justice done.
"Although he successfully contested each of these tickets before an administrative law officer, plaintiff now asserts that he is entitled to recover compensatory and punitive damages for violations of his constitutional rights," city of Chicago attorney Colleen G. DeRosa wrote. "Thus, plaintiff has not alleged any deficiency in the appeals process, as he successfully exercised his rights and each of these tickets has been dismissed."
Also argued that the statute of limitations is two years for a Section 1983 claim
"Defendants' alleged issuance of parking tickets constitutes discretionary police conduct that falls beyond the parameters of an actionable class of one equal protection claim," DeRosa wrote.
The suit is ongoing before the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.