Taxi drivers settle with Speedway over confiscated licenses

A flock of taxi drivers has settled with the town of Speedway over charges that police improperly seized their licenses on the day of the Indianapolis 500 in May 2013.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana and attorneys representing about 80 cab drivers filed the suit last summer in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana.

Under the settlement, approved Thursday, the taxi drivers will receive $600 each and assurances from Speedway police that they will no longer confiscate their licenses as they clear Main Street during race days. The drivers had parked there to pick up passengers leaving the race.

The town also will refund any fines that drivers paid as a result of parking tickets issued, and any tickets still unpaid will be voided, according to the settlement.

The suit, which received class-action status, charged that Speedway police improperly seized the licenses of as many as 80 cab drivers May 26 last year and later charged them $50 each for their return.

The suit claimed that the actions of the police department violated the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, because seizure of the licenses was not warranted, justified or reasonable, and violated due process.

Indianapolis class-action law firm Cohen & Malad LLP represented the cab drivers. It received $29,250 in attorneys’ fees, under the settlement agreement.

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