Foster et al. v. City of Alexander City et al.

In Alexander City, municipal court defendants must pay their court fines and fees from traffic debt in full by the end of the court day, usually 3:00 p.m. Persons unable to pay are forced to sit out their time in city jail, at the rate of $20 per day until someone pays their debt. Partial payment is not accepted. Individuals earn $20 more each day if they clean offices, wash police cars, or do laundry in the jail. They were jailed solely for their inability to pay.


On January 17, 2017 a joint motion for approval of the class settlement was filed and an order of approval was issued on August 4, 2017. The settlement included:

  • $30,000 to be divided between the two lead plaintiffs
  • $448,000 to be divided among other class members

You can read the full text of relevant court documents via the Southern Poverty Law Center.



42 USC § 1983 (alleging due process and equal protection violations)
3:15-cv-00647 (E.D. Ala. 2015)
September 2015
Southern Poverty Law Center