I9: Lawsuit filed over Cedar Rapids traffic camera tickets

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- Some people are taking legal action against Cedar Rapids for sending out collection letters to people who have not paid traffic camera citations.

In early December, the city sent out 221,000 of collection letters for unpaid tickets. The City has said about 45 percent of traffic camera citations are unpaid which adds up to about $17-million in revenue.

10 plaintiffs filed the class action lawsuit in Linn County Court. It's against both the city of Cedar Rapids and the company that issues their traffic camera tickets. The face of the suit is conservative radio host Simon Conway.

Each person received letters from Municipal Collections of America. In Conway's case, it was over a $75 ticket regarding an alleged violation on I-380 back in 2015 and because he didn't pay the fine it comes with a "late payment penalty" of 25%. The lawsuit claims the letters violate Iowa's statute of limitations law, due process, and the state constitution. I9 asked former US Attorney Kevin Techau if the suit can hold up in court.

"It's really unknown how far back the city of Cedar Rapids can reach back and enforce those depending on pending litigation, passed litigation, and really how the court would interpret the status of those tickets," said Techau.

I9 reached out both to Mr. Conway and the City of Cedar Rapids for comment. Conway says the tickets are "unfair" and he "didn't do it," adding "I believe the cameras themselves to be unconstitutional." A spokesperson for the city said they do not comment on pending litigation.