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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. On a related note, I offered the ICLU my cases against the BLE repeatedly, and sought their amici aid repeatedly as well. Crickets. Usually not even a response. I am guessing they do not do allegations of anti-Christian bias? No matter how glaring? I have posted on other links the amicus brief that did get filed (search this ezine, e.g., Kansas attorney), read the Thomas More Society brief to note what the ACLU ran from like vampires from garlic. An Examiner pledged to advance diversity and inclusion came right out on the record and demanded that I choose Man's law or God's law. I wonder, had I been asked to swear off Allah ... what result then, ICLU? Had I been found of bad character and fitness for advocating sexual deviance, what result then ICLU? Had I been lifetime banned for posting left of center statements denigrating the US Constitution, what result ICLU? Hey, we all know don't we? Rather Biased.

  2. It was mentioned in the article that there have been numerous CLE events to train attorneys on e-filing. I would like someone to provide a list of those events, because I have not seen any such events in east central Indiana, and since Hamilton County is one of the counties where e-filing is mandatory, one would expect some instruction in this area. Come on, people, give some instruction, not just applause!

  3. This law is troubling in two respects: First, why wasn't the law reviewed "with the intention of getting all the facts surrounding the legislation and its actual impact on the marketplace" BEFORE it was passed and signed? Seems a bit backwards to me (even acknowledging that this is the Indiana state legislature we're talking about. Second, what is it with the laws in this state that seem to create artificial monopolies in various industries? Besides this one, the other law that comes to mind is the legislation that governed the granting of licenses to firms that wanted to set up craft distilleries. The licensing was limited to only those entities that were already in the craft beer brewing business. Republicans in this state talk a big game when it comes to being "business friendly". They're friendly alright . . . to certain businesses.

  4. Gretchen, Asia, Roberto, Tonia, Shannon, Cheri, Nicholas, Sondra, Carey, Laura ... my heart breaks for you, reaching out in a forum in which you are ignored by a professional suffering through both compassion fatigue and the love of filthy lucre. Most if not all of you seek a warm blooded Hoosier attorney unafraid to take on the government and plead that government officials have acted unconstitutionally to try to save a family and/or rescue children in need and/or press individual rights against the Leviathan state. I know an attorney from Kansas who has taken such cases across the country, arguing before half of the federal courts of appeal and presenting cases to the US S.Ct. numerous times seeking cert. Unfortunately, due to his zeal for the constitutional rights of peasants and willingness to confront powerful government bureaucrats seemingly violating the same ... he was denied character and fitness certification to join the Indiana bar, even after he was cleared to sit for, and passed, both the bar exam and ethics exam. And was even admitted to the Indiana federal bar! NOW KNOW THIS .... you will face headwinds and difficulties in locating a zealously motivated Hoosier attorney to face off against powerful government agents who violate the constitution, for those who do so tend to end up as marginalized as Paul Odgen, who was driven from the profession. So beware, many are mere expensive lapdogs, the kind of breed who will gladly take a large retainer, but then fail to press against the status quo and powers that be when told to heel to. It is a common belief among some in Indiana that those attorneys who truly fight the power and rigorously confront corruption often end up, actually or metaphorically, in real life or at least as to their careers, as dead as the late, great Gary Welch. All of that said, I wish you the very best in finding a Hoosier attorney with a fighting spirit to press your rights as far as you can, for you do have rights against government actors, no matter what said actors may tell you otherwise. Attorneys outside the elitist camp are often better fighters that those owing the powers that be for their salaries, corner offices and end of year bonuses. So do not be afraid to retain a green horn or unconnected lawyer, many of them are fine men and woman who are yet untainted by the "unique" Hoosier system.

  5. I am not the John below. He is a journalist and talk show host who knows me through my years working in Kansas government. I did no ask John to post the note below ...

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