According to USA Today, “Florida drivers who were caught by red-light cameras paid more than $100 million in traffic fines last year. But whether the cameras made Florida’s roads safer — or just swelled state and city coffers — is an open question.”
Farmer Jaffe Weissing, with co-counsel, has filed a class action lawsuit in federal court in Tallahassee against the State of Florida, 24 Florida municipalities, and American Traffic Solutions (ATS), the private, for-profit vendor of the red-light monitoring system. Twenty-five individual plaintiffs brought the case on behalf of themselves and other drivers of vehicles that ATS imaged with red-light cameras, and as a result, the drivers paid fines shared directly or indirectly among the municipalities, ATS, and the State.
In their suit, the plaintiffs contend that the municipalities delegated their police powers and outsourced them to the for-profit, nongovernmental corporation––ATS–– that routinely made fundamental decisions regarding who did and did receive Notices of Violation or Traffic Citations resulting from the red-light cameras ATS installed and monitored.
As alleged in the suit, the municipalities each contracted with ATS, which established an ATS Red-Light Camera Program under which ATS provided each of them with cameras and a computerized system to review recorded images of red-light intersections to determine the occurrence of potential violations.
But, according to the plaintiffs, ATS, not the municipal defendants, took the predominant role in discerning and processing red-light traffic infractions. The plaintiffs allege that ATS routinely pre-screened image data and initially unilaterally decided whether violations had occurred, and they entirely handled the printing and mailing of the Notices of Violation or Traffic Citations to the automobiles’ registered owners. ATS also allegedly sent original citations by certified mail to Class Members and electronically transmitted replicas of the citation data to the county court clerk.
The plaintiffs allege that the notices and citations issued to the plaintiffs and other drivers are void at their inceptions, because under the ATS Red Light Program the defendants violated the Florida Constitution and Florida law by improperly delegating their police powers to ATS.
The case is Passman, et al, v. State of Florida, ATS Solutions, Inc., et al., Case No. Case 4:14-cv-00578 (N.D. Fla.)
Attorneys at Farmer, Jaffe, Weissing, Edwards, Fistos & Lehrman, P.L., have an active class action practice. The firm’s co-counsel for plaintiffs are Schuler, Halvorson, Weisser, Zoeller & Overbeck, P.A., Ted L. Hollander, Esq., The Ticket Clinic – A Law Firm, and the Law Offices of Jason T. Forman, P.A.
—Mark S. Fistos, Partner-Member, Farmer, Jaffe, Weissing, Edwards, Fistos, & Lehrman, P.L.