April 17, 2019
from the United States District Court for the Northern
District of Illinois, Eastern Division. No. l:18-cv-01804 -
Marvin E. Aspen, Judge.
Manion, Sykes, and Brennan, Circuit Judges.
MANION, CIRCUIT JUDGE
class action suit challenges the red light camera program of
the Village of Lakemoor, Illinois. The plaintiffs received
violation notices from Lakemoor that they claim are invalid
because the notices lack a proper municipal code citation.
They also claim Lakemoor denied them due process by limiting
the defenses that can be asserted before a hearing officer to
contest a violation. The district court dismissed the case
for failure to state a claim. We affirm.
the plaintiffs' claims requires reading several
provisions of Lakemoor's Municipal Code of Ordinances
(the "Code") together. First, Chapter 1 of the Code
outlines the Code's numbering system: "Each section
number of this code shall consist of two component parts
separated by a period, the figure before the period referring
to the chapter number and the figure after the period
referring to the section within the chapter." Lakemoor
Mun. Code § 1.01(C).
4l-l/2 of the Code covers traffic violations. It
incorporates by reference the Illinois Vehicle Code (IVC),
and states "[t]he section numbers used in the [IVC]
shall be identical to those section numbers in the Lakemoor
Vehicle Code. Therefore, an ordinance violation shall be
cited as 'Chapter 41-1/2/ followed by the corresponding
IVC section number." Id. § 41-1/2.01.
2012, Lakemoor enacted an ordinance titled "AUTOMATED
TRAFFIC LAW ENFORCEMENT PROGRAM," and codified it as
Section 14 of Chapter 41-1/2. Id. § 41-1/2.14.
Section 14 authorizes a system of red light cameras located
at certain intersections to detect and record red light
violations. Id. It states "[i]t shall be a
violation of this section for anyone to operate a vehicle in
disregard of a traffic control device or to turn right on a
red light where it is posted 'No Turn on Red, '"
id. § 41-1/2.14(B), but it also incorporates by
reference the IVC's prohibition of the same conduct,
id. § 41-1/2.14(C)(1), (C)(4) (citing IVC
red light camera captures a vehicle committing a red light
violation, Section 14 requires a written violation notice to
be issued to the registered owner of the vehicle.
Id. § 41-1/2.14(C)(4). Section 14 lists the
information that the notice "shall include/' such as
the name and address of the registered owner of the vehicle,
the location, date, and time of the violation, and,
importantly for this appeal, "[t]he violation charged,
with specific reference to that section of the Village of
Lakemoor Municipal Code of Ordinances allegedly
violated." Id. § 41-1/2.14(C)(4)(c). The
violation notice constitutes prima facie evidence of
a violation, which can be rebutted by several enumerated
defenses. Id. § 41-1/2.14(C)(6). A recipient of
a violation notice may request adjudication before a hearing
officer, where he may present only the defenses listed in
Section 14(C)(6). The list of defenses does not include
challenges to the violation notice's compliance with
Section 14's requirements. Id.
entirety, Section 14 comprises approximately 42 subsections
and sub-subsections and takes up roughly four full pages. At
the end of Section 14 is the following parenthetical:
"(Ord. 12-O-03, passed 1-26-2012)," referencing the
ordinance number as it was passed and its date of passage.
Lakemoor's online ordinance compilation includes a
cross-reference chart that links Ord. No. 12-O-03 to Section
plaintiff received at least one such notice of violation.
Next to the label "Code Violation and Description/'
the notices include simply the notation "12-O-03."
However, the notices also include photographs of the
violation occurrence and state these photographs depict
"a violation of a red light signal and/or law pertaining
to 'Right Turn on Red.'" The notices further
provide a complete list of defenses and grounds for
contesting the violation as well as instructions for
contesting the violation by mail or in person.
one of the named plaintiffs chose to pay the $100 fine for
each violation,  and none requested a hearing. They then
filed suit in federal court, seeking to certify three
classes: (1) all individuals who received a violation notice
from Lake-moor, (2) those who paid the fine, and (3) those
who have not paid the fine. The plaintiffs alleged Lakemoor
deprived them of due process under color of state law and
sought declaratory judgment. They argued the violation
notices were void ab initio because the notation
"12-O-03" does not suffice as a "specific
reference to that section of the [Code] allegedly
violated." Instead, reading Lakemoor Municipal Code
§§ 1.01, 41-1/2.01, and 41-1/2.14(C)(4)(c)
together, they contended the violation notices must contain a
citation to Chapter 41-1/2 of the Code along with the section
number of the IVC dealing with red light violations (IVC
§ 11-306(c)). Therefore, the plaintiffs asserted the
proper citation is "Lakemoor Mun. Code §
41-1/2.11-306(c)." They claimed Lakemoor deprived them
of due process by not including a challenge to the
notice's validity as an available defense under Section
14(C)(6). In addition to their due process claim, the
plaintiffs asserted a state law unjust enrichment claim based
on the same allegations.
district court held the notices were valid because Section 14
incorporates by reference IVC § 11-306(c) and
"12-O-03" is a parallel session law citation to
Section 14 that satisfies the "specific reference"
requirement. Moreover, the district court held the plaintiffs
were not deprived of due process by the limitation of
defenses because the defense they sought to ...