17 Georgia Residents Settle Federal Lawsuit Over Wrongful Arrests for $375K

August 13, 2020

A Georgia county’s commissioners have approved a settlement for a lawsuit that alleged residents were wrongfully arrested due to erroneous information that was given to state officials regarding their driver’s licenses.

The $775,000 settlement approved last week by DeKalb County commissioners comes nearly five years after a federal lawsuit was brought by 17 residents, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

The residents allege they were arrested after personnel from the county’s Recorder’s Court inaccurately told the Georgia Department of Driver Services that their driver’s licenses had been suspended, or neglected to tell officials the licenses were reinstated.

The lawsuit said the court had a “documented history of institutional ineptitude,” and gave examples of the plaintiffs getting arrested or being booked in jail due to alleged errors by the court.

Several other lawsuits filed around the same time as the 2015 lawsuit also challenged how traffic offenses were handled at the Recorder’s Court. The state Assembly disbanded the court in 2015, and traffic cases are now managed in DeKalb State Court.

William Atkins, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said he will not comment on the settlement since it has not been finalized. A DeKalb County spokesperson also declined a request for comment by the newspaper.

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