The Supreme Court declined Monday to review a decision that automobile leasing firms are liable for parking tickets issued for violations by their customers.
The case originated with complaints filed by the City of Chicago in Cook County Circuit Court for the year 1966.
The city alleged that Hertz Corp., owed $88,185 for 5,879 violations, Avis Rent-A-Car System, Inc., $73,425 for 4,895 violations, and Chrysler Leasing Corp. $37,395 for 2,493 violations.
But the years since 1966 could bring the total liability to more than $2 million, said the lawyers for Avis and Chrysler, former Supreme Court Justice Abe Fortas and former University of Chicago Law School Dean Phil Neal.
The controversy centered on a provision of the municipal code making the owner of a motor vehicle liable for a parking ticket no matter who had committed the violation.
Hertz protested that in "the vast bulk of cases, the driver who parked the vehicle will have long since paid his rental fee and departed, most frequently to a distant place." By the same token, the city, if it didn't collect from owners, might not collect at all.
The court took other actions: Antitrust
By a vote of 6 to 3, the justices let stand a major antitrust ruling with which the 2d U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals set aside a $2,250 million award against Whirlpool Corp. and Sears, Roebuck & Co.
The judgement had been won by Oreck Corp., which had persuaded a jury that the defendants had comspired to exclude it from the vacuum-cleaner market in the United States and Canada. "Redlining"
On Oct. 1, 1975, the Illinois legislature enacted a law aimed at "redlining," meaning the refusal of financial institutions to make mortgage and home-improvement loans for older homes in black and certain other urban neighborhoods.
Three months later, Congress enacted a law with a similar purpose, the Federal Home Mortgage Disclosure Act.
The question then became: Under the clause of the Constitution making acts of Congress "the supreme law of the land," did the federal law preempt the state law, which also applied to institutions making federally related loans?
Last May, the state's highest tribunal struck down the Illinois law. The Supreme Court let the ruling stand.