A federal magistrate on October 20 set the schedule for a five-day jury trial to decide whether red light camera vendor Redflex Traffic Systems owes the city of Minneapolis, Minnesota $3 million. US Magistrate Judge Susan Richard Nelson set a February 1, 2012 date for the showdown with motions and pleadings to be served by February 1, 2011.
The city is furious that it had to refund $2.6 million in red light camera tickets after the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled the program was illegal (view decision). The city wants to extract that money back from the Australian ticketing firm, but Redflex is fighting the suit.
“Redflex admits that the contract required it to pay for the cost of installing its equipment in the city, but denies that it had payment obligations beyond those set forth in the contract,” Redflex attorney David L. Shulman wrote in a brief to the court. “The damages of the city were caused in whole or in part by its own negligent and unlawful conduct. Redflex has paid all sums due on the Minneapolis project and cannot be required to pay twice.”
After the cameras were installed, Redflex got caught in a billing dispute between the contractor responsible for the installation work, Network Electric, and its subcontractor, Collins Electrical Systems. Collins was supposed to be paid by Network Electric, but it did not receive payment. As a result, Collins sued the city and a judge ordered the city to pay $163,516.48 in unpaid bills and $181,804 in legal costs to the subcontractor. The city argues that, by contract, these costs must be paid by Redflex. Redflex says that the city was to blame for the incident and is countersuing for over $50,000 in legal costs.
“Because the city did not notify Redflex of the payment bond requirement, no payment bond was obtained, and a subcontractor did not get paid for its work on the Minneapolis installation,” Shulman wrote. “The subcontractor then sued the city and Redflex for payment, causing Redflex to incur attorneys’ fees and costs in defending the subcontractors’ claims… The city committed a material breach of the contract when it failed to notify Redflex that a payment bond was required.”
Minneapolis denies it is responsible and is immune from the Redflex claim because it is made against government officials who were performing their official duties.