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Lawsuit: 2 Wilmington residents claim city illegally towed, scrapped vehicles

2 Wilmington residents taking city to court over parking tickets
2 Wilmington residents taking city to court over parking tickets 01:56

WILMINGTON, Del. (CBS) -- Two Wilmington residents are taking the city to court, claiming it illegally towed and scrapped their vehicles over unpaid parking tickets. On Tuesday, a federal judge gave the green light for the lawsuit to move forward.

Ameera Shaheed says her car was legally parked right across the street from her home when she noticed a parking enforcement officer writing tickets.

"I got into a little dispute with a PEO. He said things to me and I said some things to him, in the words of 'my car is worth more than the shirt on your back,' and he promised me from that point on that I was going to get a ticket every single day and that's exactly what happened," Shaheed said.

She racked up $320 in parking tickets but says she couldn't afford to pay. Her car was eventually towed and after 30 days, scrapped, even though her appeal was still pending.

"It's been a struggle. I use my daughter's car. I don't have the funds right now. I'm disabled," she said.

She and another Wilmington resident with a similar story, Earl Dickerson, are taking the city to court, claiming their constitutional rights were violated.

On Tuesday, a federal judge decided their claims have merit, despite the city's attempts to have the lawsuit dismissed.

The city of Wilmington declined to comment on the lawsuit, but in a 30-page court filing asking for the case to be thrown out, said: "Plaintiff's vehicles were ticketed, towed, and impounded pursuant to city code and contract in a manner consistent with due process. Thus, there can be no unlawful taking."

"I have tried to contact the mayor. They never even responded. They need to stop what they're doing. This is not right," Shaheed said.

The judge's ruling allows the lawsuit to move forward, but no date has been set for the trial.

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