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Eighmey v. City of Cleveland

Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth District, Cuyahoga

May 18, 2017

ALLYSON EIGHMEY PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE
v.
CITY OF CLEVELAND, ET AL. DEFENDANTS-APPELLANTS

         Civil Appeal from the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Case No. CV-14-822702

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT Barbara A. Langhenry, Gary S. Singletary

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Frank A. Bartela Nicole T. Fiorelli Patrick J. Perotti Dworken & Bernstein Co., L.P.A.

          BEFORE: E.T. Gallagher, J., Keough, A.J., and Boyle, J.

          JOURNAL ENTRY AND OPINION

          EILEEN T. GALLAGHER, J.

         {¶1} Defendant-appellant, city of Cleveland ("Cleveland" or "the city"), appeals an order certifying a class of plaintiffs who claim the city issued unlawful traffic citations generated by unmarked traffic cameras. The city assigns one error for our review:

The trial court erred in granting class certification as Plaintiff Eighmey is precluded from seeking judicial review and does not meet the requisite typicality requirement that would allow her to represent an identified class.

         {¶2} We find merit to the appeal and reverse the trial court's judgment.

         I. Facts and Procedural History

         {¶3} In July 2005, Cleveland enacted Cleveland Codified Ordinances ("C.C.O.") 413.031, which authorized the use of automated cameras to impose civil penalties on individuals who exceed the posted speed limit or cross a marked stop line at a steady red light. The ordinance provided that

[a]t each site of a red light or fixed speed camera, the Director of Public Works shall cause signs to be posted to apprise ordinarily observant motorists that they are approaching an area where an automated camera is monitoring for red light or speed violators.

Id. The ordinance also stated that "[m]obile speed units shall be plainly marked vehicles." C.C.O. 413.031(g).

         {¶4} On October 3, 2013, a mobile speed unit recorded a traffic violation committed by the plaintiffs' class representative, Allyson Eighmey ("Eighmey"), at the intersection of Detroit Avenue and West 32nd Street in Cleveland. She later received the notice of violation in the mail and promptly paid her ticket on October 27, 2013.

          {¶5} Four months later, in February 2014, Eighmey filed a class action complaint against Cleveland, alleging that the mobile unit that recorded her traffic violation failed to comply with the notice requirements of C.C.O. 413.031(g) because the unit contained "no distinguishable markings whatsoever." (Class Action Complaint ΒΆ 10.) Eighmey's traffic ticket specified the manner in which it could be appealed as ...


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