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Case Name Cook v. Taylor CJ-AL-0019
Docket / Court 2:18-cv-00977 ( M.D. Ala. )
State/Territory Alabama
Case Type(s) Criminal Justice (Other)
Special Collection Fines/Fees/Bail Reform (Criminalization of poverty)
Attorney Organization Southern Poverty Law Center
Case Summary
On November 19, 2018, individuals whose driver’s licenses was suspended because of failure to pay traffic ticket filed this putative class action against the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency in the U.S. District Court for the Alabama Middle District. Plaintiffs, represented by the attorneys of ... read more >
On November 19, 2018, individuals whose driver’s licenses was suspended because of failure to pay traffic ticket filed this putative class action against the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency in the U.S. District Court for the Alabama Middle District. Plaintiffs, represented by the attorneys of Southern Poverty Law Center sought declaratory judgment and injunctive relief, claiming under 42 U.S.C. §1983 that Alabama's practice of suspending driver’s licenses without procedural protection violated the Equal Protection and Due Process clauses of Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution.

A provision in Alabama Rule of Criminal Procedure authorized courts to order the suspension of driver's license for nonpayment of traffic ticket without prior notice, hearing, or inquiry of the reason for non-payment. Plaintiffs failed to pay traffic tickets because of their financial difficulty and as a consequence, their driver’s license was suspended. Suspension of their driver’s license had serious consequence for them because they lived in a rural area where the public transportation was unavailable and people needed to drive to work, home, education and medical care.

On November 19, 2018, plaintiffs filed a motion for preliminary injunction, which the defendant opposed. On December 21, 2018, the defendant moved to dismiss the complaint for failure to state the claim. The defendant also alleged that plaintiffs lacked the standing; plaintiff’s claims was barred by sovereign immunity; and even if plaintiffs stated the sufficient claim, the claim was moot.

As of February 2019, the case ongoing.

Chiaki Nojiri - 02/20/2019


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Equal Protection
Defendant-type
Law-enforcement
General
Disparate Impact
Fines/Fees/Bail/Bond
Funding
Poverty/homelessness
Record-keeping
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Secretary of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency
Plaintiff Description Plaintiffs were individuals whose driver license was suspended because they couldn't afford to pay their traffic tickets.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Southern Poverty Law Center
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Pending
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Filing Year 2018
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
Docket(s)
2:2018-cv-00977 (M.D. Ala.)
CJ-AL-0019-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/14/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [ECF# 1]
CJ-AL-0019-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/19/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
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Judges Walker, Susan Jane Court not on record show/hide docs
CJ-AL-0019-9000
Watkins, William Keith (M.D. Ala.) show/hide docs
CJ-AL-0019-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Davis, Danielle E. (Alabama) show/hide docs
CJ-AL-0019-0001 | CJ-AL-0019-9000
West, Micah (Alabama) show/hide docs
CJ-AL-0019-0001 | CJ-AL-0019-9000
Zampierin, Sara (Alabama) show/hide docs
CJ-AL-0019-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Barnes, Meridith (Alabama) show/hide docs
CJ-AL-0019-9000
Chynoweth, Brad A. (Alabama) show/hide docs
CJ-AL-0019-9000
Howell, Laura Elizabeth (Alabama) show/hide docs
CJ-AL-0019-9000

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