Blue Line Solutions, LLC, co-defendant with Girard, Ohio in a class-action lawsuit filed by DannLaw and Zimmerman Law Offices PC on behalf of 7,700 motorists wrongly cited for speeding while traveling through the city on Interstate 80, has agreed to pay $175,000 to settle claims made against the speed camera company according to DannLaw founder and former Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann. The city of Girard has not settled and remains a party to the suit.
The $175,000 payment from Tennessee-based Blue Line will be distributed after all class members have been notified that the settlement has been reached and when the remaining claims in the suit against Girard have been resolved. Those eligible for compensation will automatically receive checks unless they choose to opt-out of the settlement and pursue legal action against the city and company on their own.
DannLaw and Zimmerman Law Offices PC filed the class action in July 2018 after being approached by a number of motorists who were erroneously ticketed by the city and Blue Line between December 7, 2017 and January 7, 2018. “The speed limit on the stretch of I-80 that passes through Girard had been reduced to 55 miles per hour while The Ohio Department of Transportation was repairing the road,” Atty. Dann explained. “The limit was raised to 65 when work was completed on December 7, but for the next month the city and Blue Line continued to cite people for speeding through a construction that no longer existed.”
“As a result, thousands of people paid fines of $100 to $150 they did not owe, many were charged substantial late and collection fees and those who appealed the citations were hit with an additional fee of $25 even though they had done nothing wrong,” Atty Dann said. “The entire situation was inexcusable and outrageous.”
“Filing the class action was the only way to secure justice and obtain compensation for motorists victimized by Girard and Blue Line,” Atty. Dann said. “City officials won’t admit they were wrong, continue to falsely claim they were not aware of the fact that construction had been completed and the speed limit raised to 65 MPH, and refuse to refund money they essentially pilfered from innocent people. Now that Blue Line has settled, we are going to focus our efforts on holding city officials accountable for their actions—no matter how long that may take.”
Atty. Dann noted that there is also a public policy aspect to the case. “Our suit and the evidence we developed in the course of pursuing justice, shines a spotlight on the dangers that accompany privatizing important public services like law enforcement,” he said. “Blue Line, which does not answer to voters or taxpayers, could care less that bogus tickets were being issued and unfortunately, city officials were more than willing to abdicate their responsibilities as long as the dollars were rolling in.”
“This sordid affair makes it easy to understand why the General Assembly has repeatedly attempted to rein-in the speed camera racket,” Atty. Dann said. “Hopefully the information we’ve uncovered while litigating this case will advance that cause.”