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Lawsuit accuses BMV of overcharging for driver’s licenses

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A lawsuit filed in Marion County claims that the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles has overcharged residents for their driver’s licenses by as much as $7 per license.

Cohen & Malad LLP filed the proposed class-action suit on behalf of Tammy Raab, who paid $21 for a license on Feb. 16, 2010. According to the suit, under Indiana law, since October 2008, the most a person under the age of 75 can be charged for a six-year license is $15; $13.50 for a five-year license; and $14 for a four-year license. The BMV charges $21, $19.50 and $18, respectively, for the licenses.

There is a base price for the three types of licenses outlined in Indiana Code and Public Law, and several fees are allowed to be imposed, including a Transaction Service Charge. But the lawsuit alleges the state agency has overcharged Hoosiers, resulting in tens of millions of dollars in overpayments.

The suit claims some residents have been overpaying since 2007.

“This action seeks to remedy this longstanding practice by requiring the BMV to disgorge the millions of dollars in illegal fees to the Indiana residents who paid them, and to enjoin the BMV from charging a fee for the issuance of an Operator’s License to persons under the age of 75 that exceeds the amount allowed by the law,” according to the suit.

The proposed class is “all persons who are currently citizens of Indiana and who, since March 7, 2007, paid a fee to the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles to obtain or renew a motor vehicle Operator’s License while less than 75 years of age.”

“Hoosiers’ ability to drive their cars cannot be held hostage to arbitrary fees imposed by the BMV. The BMV does not have the authority to charge fees at its discretion,” said attorney Irwin Levin of Cohen & Malad. “In some instances, Indiana drivers were overcharged as much as $7 for their license. The BMV needs to be held accountable and Indiana residents deserve restitution.”

The suit seeks class certification, damages or restitution for Raab and the proposed class against the BMV in the amount of the overcharges, an order preventing the BMV from charging a fee for the issues of the licenses to people under 75 that exceeds the amount allowed by law, and attorney fees, costs and interest.

The case is Tammy Raab, on behalf of herself and all others similarly situated v. R. Scott Waddell, in his official capacity as Commissioner of the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles and the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles, 49D06-1303-PL-8769.

 

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  • well ok but
    Cases like this keep the public officials honest. I applaud them. I would also like to see the same vigor applied to banks who enjoy state and federal subsidies and protections which are used to develop their overweening power over their customers and then expropriate by arbitrary changes of terms at will. I think the banks make the BMV look like a really friendly and honest operation!
  • Really???
    28 cents, 28 cents. I am entitled to 28 cents refund. it isn't even worth my time to request it. Let alone the costs involved in printing, mailing and processing a check. In my business, it costs a minimum of $1 to receive a check for payment, credit the appropriate account and deposit the check. Was this lawsuit, the Court's time and all of the reporting on this matter worth $0.28. NO. Stop the frivolous lawsuits. Even the "up to $7.00" as quoted in the article seems ridiculous.
  • for the greater good
    instead of refunding all this money, why not divert it to the construction cost of the new east end bridge and ease up on toll fees for all Indiana residents.It seem like this wood be the smart move and the money wood be put to a good use sense Indiana tax payers are footing the bill anyway.

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  1. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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