By on April 23, 2010

Automotive News [sub] reports that 19 rejected Canadian GM dealers have been given the green light to sue GM as a class, rather than go through the arbitration process that is being used to resolve dealer cull disputes in the US. The dealers are suing GM for breach of their dealer agreements, and for failing to provide compensation beyond wind-down costs. They argue that the arbitration process would be expensive for dealers, non-transparent to the taxpayers who funded GM’s reorganization, and would put GM at an unfair advantage.

(Read More…)

By on April 9, 2010

The LA Times reports that “more than 100 suits seeking class-action status, as well as at least 50 personal injury cases” against Toyota have been consolidated to a single courtroom, under the jurisdiction of U.S. District Judge James Selna. According to Reuters, the ruling by the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation did state that:

We are initially persuaded that the centralized proceedings should eventually include the related personal injury and wrongful death actions

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By on April 8, 2010

Generally speaking, official prospectus information tends to run on the alarmist side, warning investors of any and all possible problems, regardless of how likely they are to take place. Which is why you rarely see news organizations like Reuters pick up on prospectus warnings, like today’s story on a Volkswagen warning that its merger with Porsche could be scuttled by lawsuits filed by angry hedge funds.  Porsche’s notorious “short squeeze” of hedge funds who were speculating on VW stock in the leadup to its planned takeover has drawn lawsuits in several countries which, according to VW’s recent capital increase prospectus, could: (Read More…)

By on March 31, 2010

A divided three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit yesterday upheld the imposition of automated tickets on individuals who may or may not have committed any crime. The judges ruled on a case that began when Kelly Mendenhall received a ticket in the mail for allegedly speeding in Akron, Ohio in December 2005. Although the ticket against her was dismissed, her husband, Warner, fought the legitimacy of the Akron ordinance all the way to the state supreme court which, unlike the high courts in Minnesota and Missouri, approved of speed camera use (view decision).

(Read More…)

By on March 29, 2010

The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled Friday that it was acceptable for police to taser a pregnant mother over a minor traffic ticket. On November 23, 2004, Seattle, Washington Police Officer Juan Ornelas had been running a speed trap when Malaika Brooks passed by while driving her eleven-year-old son to school. Ornelas pulled over Brooks and accused her of speeding at 32 MPH. Brooks believed that the officer had mistakenly clocked the car ahead of hers, so she refused to sign the ticket thinking it would be an admission of guilt.

(Read More…)

By on March 24, 2010

A federal appeals court ruled yesterday that municipalities in most states may use evidence illegally collected by photo enforcement cameras. The US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit made its decision in the case of Stephen Bell who sued both American Traffic Solutions (ATS), an Arizona-based red light camera operator, and Redflex Traffic Solutions of Australia for violating Texas statutes requiring companies involved in private investigation to obtain a license. The three-judge appellate panel determined that there was no problem with companies offering unlawfully obtained evidence in civil court cases.

(Read More…)

By on March 18, 2010

Private companies that repossess automobiles without the involvement of law enforcement are creating potentially deadly situations, a report released Thursday by the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) warned. The Boston, Massachusetts-based non-profit legal advocacy group examined the consequences of turning car seizures over to private firms, particularly during the recent economic downturn.

(Read More…)

By on March 9, 2010

Thanks to the “optics” (if not the reality) of the latest Toyota sudden unintended acceleration scare, the story has new legs just as Toyota and Exponent were hoping to cut them off. But as much as dramatic, cop-calms-killer-Prius headlines keep the Great Toyota Panic alive, so to does the fact that the 89-odd class-action lawsuits filed against Toyota could be worth over $3b to plaintiffs and their counsel. And that’s not counting any of the incidents in which people were actually injured or killed (which are actually relatively rare). No, that $3b+ is going to the truly deserving… and their lawyers.

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By on March 4, 2010

The supreme court of Missouri sent photo enforcement companies scrambling on Monday after it declared the red light camera administrative hearing process in the city of Springfield to be void. The high court moved with unusual speed, handing down a strongly worded, unanimous decision about one month after hearing oral arguments in the case.

“This is a $100 case,” Judge Michael A. Wolff wrote for the court. “But sometimes, it’s not the money — it’s the principle.”

(Read More…)

By on March 1, 2010

Think you have it figured out? Hit the jump for the answer…
(Read More…)

By on March 1, 2010

The industries that profit from photo enforcement are scrambling to convince Florida lawmakers to adopt legislation that will forgive municipalities for installing red light cameras contrary to existing state law. A circuit court judge last week ruled that red light cameras were illegal in the state, following the legal argument presented in a 2005 attorney general opinion. On the day the decision was handed down, an insurance and camera company-backed front group headed by Melissa Wandall, the widow of an accident victim, released new polling data intended to jump-start the legislative effort.

(Read More…)

By on February 16, 2010

We try to cover a lot of the stories in which politics and automobiles intersect, and frankly, most of them are just plain depressing. From biofuel frauds to speed cameras, it seems that motorists as a political class tend to be reactive rather than proactive. Not so in Georgia, where 11Alive reports that a bill is moving through the state legislature that would establish a minimum fine for driving to slow in the passing lane. If there’s a cause that every driver can get behind, this is it. In case you don’t appreciate the depth of annoyance most feel about left-lane bandits, Georgia State Rep. Mark Butler is on hand to explain:

(Read More…)

By on February 12, 2010

As we fumble towards a more complete understanding of Toyota’s stunning fall from grace, we’ve only uncovered a single class of people who truly stand to benefit from the last several weeks of hysteria: the lawyers, of course. Thanks to Toyota’s deep reserves of cash, every single possible damage incurred in the last several weeks will be picked over for an opportunity to sue the world’s largest automaker, and already the suits have crossed over into the realm of the absurd. Automotive News [sub] reports on latest class-action suit charge against Toyota, which seeks damages from the automaker for diminished resale value and lost use of recalled vehicles. These charges have been filed as class-action suits in “at least 30 states,” and lawyers suggest that the damages could run as high as $2b. Ford paid Explorer owners $500 a piece when it settled similar class-action suits in the wake of its Firestone safety scandal.

(Read More…)

By on February 9, 2010

The legal angle to the Toyota recall story has been a source of constant amusement, from an early attempt to prevent Toyota from enacting its gas pedal fix, to news today [via Reuters] that at least 30 class-action suits have been filed since the recall began. “This is going to a little cottage industry all of its own,” says Matt Cairns of DRI, the Voice of the Defense Bar, the largest U.S. civil defense attorney association.
(Read More…)

By on February 4, 2010

A group of nine Missouri lawmakers are looking to expand the use of speed cameras throughout the state. State House members, led by Representative Michael Corcoran (D-St. Ann), on Tuesday introduced House Bill 1947 which appears on its surface to ban the use of speed cameras when, in fact, it authorizes their use.

(Read More…)

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