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Government/Politics

Ohio Supreme Court To Decide If Cleveland Owes Refunds For Traffic Camera Program

Traffic camera sign Lancaster - Kasler.JPG
Karen Kasler
/
Statehouse News Bureau
A traffic camera sign in Fairfield County in 2019. Some cities shut down their traffic camera programs after the state transportation budget passed in 2019 reduced state funding to those communities by the amount they raise with the cameras and required them to post an officer with each camera.

Justices heard a class-action suit filed by drivers who were ticketed as owners but didn't own the cars they were driving.

Some drivers who got tickets through Cleveland’s traffic camera program want their money back, though the cameras went dark in 2014. Their case is now before the Ohio Supreme Court.

Drivers who leased cars or were driving employer-owned vehicles and got tickets as the cars’ owners filed a class action lawsuit in 2009, before the city’s law was changed to exclude them.

Gary Singletary represented the city of Cleveland before the Ohio Supreme Court. He told the justices no money is due back to the drivers in the lawsuit.

“They knew they had violated the speed limit. They admitted they violated the speed limit by paying," Singletary said.

But the drivers’ attorney Paul Flowers argued they didn’t appeal because hiring a lawyer was necessary, the city sent out collection notices and added fines when there were appeals, and appeals were denied anyway.

“It was a foregone conclusion, and sure, that administrative appeal was free and easy and so forth. But the rest of it is not," Flowers said.

The drivers want $4.1 million in fines and $1.8 million in interest from 2005 to 2009 refunded.

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