Race weekend in Indianapolis is full of special traditions for the hundreds of thousands of spectators who gather in Speedway, Ind. It also is a lucrative weekend for taxi drivers, who shuttle people to and from the crowded Speedway track. However, in May 2013, as many as 80 cab drivers had their licenses seized on race day, according to the Speedway Police Department
The Constitution prohibits the seizure of property without cause or any sort of process.
The taxi drivers had taken a number of people to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on race day, and at least three drivers made arrangements to pick up their fares on Main Street following the race. But when these licensed cabbies returned to take the passengers home, police officers seized their operators' licenses and told them to leave the area.
When the three drivers went to the Speedway Police Department to pick up their licenses, they were charged $50 each for parking tickets. These actions violated the Fourth and the Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, because seizure of the licenses was not warranted, justified or reasonable, and violated due process.
The ACLU of Indiana filed suit on behalf of these three taxi cab drivers, Diedra Warren, et al. v. Town of Speedway, requesting a jury trial and damages for the plaintiffs' missed work time. In May 2014, the city agreed to settle the case and pay damages to the cab drivers and their attorneys fees to our office and a private firm, Cohen & Malad, LLP. We are awaiting a final ruling on the settlement by U.S. District Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson.