Friday, September 18, 2015
Naperville settles lawsuit with smart meter foe
Susan Frick CarlmanNaperville Sun
Naperville City Council members this week settled a federal lawsuit filed last winter by a staunch opponent of the city's smart meter installation program.
The 12-page agreement calls for paying $117,500 to Naperville resident Malia "Kim" Bendis, whose Jan. 23 lawsuit accused the city and four of its police officers of violating her constitutional rights.
A founder of the grass-roots Naperville Smart Meter Awareness group, Bendis filed her complaint in U.S. District Court in Chicago two years to the day after her arrest by Naperville police on misdemeanor charges of eavesdropping and resisting a peace officer, charges on which she was later acquitted.
Bendis and members of her group opposed replacement of the city-owned residential analog electric meters at their homes with wireless alternatives. Bendis maintained police intervened during an installation of one of the devices at a home, in violation of her civil rights. The filing, which named four Naperville Police Department officers, also asserted that city officials decided in a closed door meeting to arrest Bendis and any other residents who interfered with their plan to "forcibly install the smart meters."
Senior Assistant City Attorney Rob Wilder and City Attorney Jill Pelka-Wilger submitted the proposed agreement.
"This agreement shall not, in any way, be construed as an admission by the (city or police) that they have acted wrongfully with respect to (Bendis)," the agreement states.
According to the suit, Bendis and other residents made recordings of officers during the forced meter installations.
"The recordings made by other Naperville residents were made openly and recorded the conversations of the agents and police," the suit stated. "None of these other residents were arrested for recording the police officers and installation agents without their consent."