Attorneys for Girard traffic-cam suit argue for class-action status


By Ed Runyan

runyan@vindy.com

WARREN

The attorneys who filed suit last week in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court seeking return of money paid for purportedly erroneous speeding tickets issued seven months ago in Girard told a judge why the suit should be certified a class action.

Dann Law of Cleveland and Zimmerman Law of Chicago told Judge Andrew Logan the case meets the requirements under law to be a class action, meaning a suit that automatically represents all of the individuals affected unless they opt out.

The suit alleges drivers were cited from traffic cameras when traveling westbound on Interstate 80 for speeds above 55 mph even though the speed limit was 65 mph at the time because construction in the westbound lane had ended.

The suit seeks a declaration the citations issued to drivers during that period are invalid, that the six people filing the suit should be designated representatives of all the class members, and that the Dann and Zimmerman law firms be designated as legal counsel for the class.

The suit should be a class action because the people who sued the city only paid about $150 each for their tickets, and “hundreds, if not thousands, of citations were issued” during the month of the allegedly erroneous citations, the suit says.

“Class certification is crucial in this case because the citation can have a far-reaching consequence for an individual far beyond the amount of the fine, yet the amounts paid are not large enough to merit individual” lawsuits, the filing says.

Recovery of $150 is not enough incentive for an individual or law firm to file suit, but a class action “solves this problem by aggregating the relatively paltry potential recoveries into something worth someone’s [usually an attorney’s] labor,” the filing says, quoting from a 1997 U.S. Supreme Court decision.

The filing says Marc Dann is managing partner of Dann Law and also a partner in the Oregon Consumer Law Center in Portland, Ore., which both specialize in representing clients who have been harmed by banks, debt collectors and other financial predators.

Zimmerman Law has a focus on class-action litigation, such as the $62 million recovery for a nationwide class of consumers who purchased products advertised to reduce cellulite, the firm’s biography says.

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