California: Red Light Camera Class Action Lawsuit Hits Federal Court

The Newspaper
by The Newspaper
california red light camera class action lawsuit hits federal court

A class action lawsuit against fifty-nine red light camera programs in the state of California will be heard before Judge William H. Alsup in the US District Court for the Northern District of California. Attorney Bruce L. Simon, who is suing Redflex Traffic Systems and American Traffic Solutions (ATS), moved Friday that the case return to the state court system. Simon argues that the contracts of Redflex and ATS with municipalities are illegal under California law.

Simon had initially filed the case on behalf of motorist S.D. Jadeja in the San Mateo County Superior Court, a venue that has already ruled that red light camera cost-neutrality contracts violate state law ( view decision). The class action suit is designed to go after the companies profiting from this type of illegal arrangement. ATS moved last month to have the case heard in federal court where judges have ruled more favorably toward automated ticketing machines. Simon wants the case back in the state courts.

“More than two-thirds of the putative class members are citizens of California, all of the alleged harm and wrongdoing occurred in California, the claims are based entirely on California law, and one of the three defendants [i.e., Redflex] is a citizen of California whose actions form a significant basis for the claims here and against whom plaintiff seeks significant relief,” Simon wrote in his motion to remand the case back to San Mateo.

Simon points out that Redflex, an Australian company, calls itself a California-based firm in 62 percent of the contracts it signed in the Golden State. The language variously refers to “Redflex Traffic Systems (California),” “Redflex Traffic Systems, Inc., a California corporation” or lists its principal place of business as Culver City, California. Under California law, class action cases designated as a “local controversy” are to be heard in state, not federal, court. Simon argues that every aspect of the case is local.

“All of the alleged conduct occurred in California and all harm and damages were suffered in California,” Simon wrote. “The cornerstone of this case is the existence of unlawful contracts, and the operation of automated traffic enforcement equipment under those contracts, in violation of both the California Vehicle Code and California Business and Professions Code.”

Under the cost neutrality clause, Redflex and ATS are compensated at a rate of 100 percent of the ticket revenue collected up to a certain amount. Beyond that cap, the city keeps all revenue. The California Vehicle Code specifically prohibits red light camera contractors from being compensated based on the amount of revenue collected. For that reason, Simon wants every ticket issued under a cost-neutrality contract refunded, an amount that could reach into the hundreds of millions of dollars. San Mateo County, for example, reported $13,802,808 worth of red light camera tickets last year alone.


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  • SVX pearlie SVX pearlie on Oct 25, 2010

    Nice. I hope he wins.

  • Henrythegearhead Henrythegearhead on Oct 25, 2010

    Aside from dreams of revenue, why do politicians OK the cameras? 1. They think we like the cameras! Last week a blog exposed Astroturf Lobbying in the red light cam Industry. (To read it, Google Rynski and Astroturf.) Astroturf Lobbying is when a PR firm creates an artificial grassroots movement via comments posted on news articles like this one. The politicians, sensing strong community support (they read these comment columns too), give the OK for cameras. 2. Politicians are immune to the tickets! In California 1.5 million privately-owned cars have plate numbers protected from easy look up, effectively invisible to agencies trying to process red light camera violations. Such "protected plate" lists exist in other states. (In CA the list includes local politicians, bureaucrats, retired cops, other govt. employees, and their families and ADULT children!) Everyone should check to see who and how many are 'protected' in their state.

  • Inside Looking Out The next 4Runner will be BEV.
  • The Oracle This is a proper Italian red sauce turd.
  • Carson D This isn't a notice of a wait time for 4Runner fans. This is a deadline for the opportunity to buy one new before they're gone. Whatever comes next, there is no possible way that it will be as good at doing 4Runner things as what is available today.
  • Bkojote There's a lot "just right" with the current 4Runner, and having spent time in more contemporary equivalents for road trips, I completely understand why they sell a ton of these.Here's some topics that aren't super common among 4runner owners - excessive carbon buildup in the engine after 40,000 miles (Audi/VW), bent valves (Bronco) , failed oil coolers (Jeep), cracked engine blocks (Jeep), dead vehicles from OTA updates (Chevy Colorado), being stranded due to opening the door too many times (Defender), malfunctioning engine sensors (Defender, VW), dead batteries due to electrical system malfunctions (Jeep), unusable defoggers (Jeep), waiting for seat heaters to boot up (Subaru), randomly catching fire (Kia/Hyundai), crappy build quality (Ford, Tesla).The interior feels solid and rattle free, and everything feels substantial in the way a Jeep Grand Cherokee or Kia Telluride does not. 14 year run means accessories are plentiful and well sorted. The control inputs from the radio to heated seats to climate control work better than 99% of the cars you can buy new at this point and are dead simple and ergonomically satisfying. Even dynamically (I drove a model with the KDSS system to be fair) it is a surprisingly composed vehicle on mountain roads- it's far more civilized than a Bronco or Wrangler, and hell, it was far more pleasant than the past two peastant-grade Benz crapmobiles I've been in.So I get it- car journalist rags whine about how overly complicated and tech-heavy modern vehicles are while their substance is cost cut, but here's the literal definition of 'don't fix it if it aint broken.' . It's a trusty Ford Econoline in a world of craptastic Ram ProMasters.
  • Frank Sounds like they dont want to debut it at the same time as the new Land Cruiser, which is probably smart. The new 'runner is ready to go I am told, so there's a reason for this delay.