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Class Action Lawsuits Against Missouri Red-Light Camera Cities

A St. Louis-based law firm has filed a class-action lawsuit against all cities using red-light camera technology.

Simon Law Firm, a St. Louis-based group, has filed a class action lawsuit against Arnold, other Missouri cities that use red-light cameras and American Traffic Solutions (ATS), the maker of red-light cameras.

The suit also names the Missouri cities of Creve Coeur, Ellisville, Florissant and Kansas City, reports Riverfront Times.

Lawyers with the firm said that Judge Mark Neil's decision to void St. Louis city's red-light camera ordinance should apply to all of Missouri.

Neil's decision said the cameras do not enforce the rules of the road or a city's traffic regulations, the Riverfront Times reported.

The suing lawyers also said the red-light camera tickets should assess points on violators' licenses if the cameras are for safety reasons.

Currently red-light camera violations in Missouri are considered non-moving violations, the attorneys said to the Riverfront Times.

Neil's decision is under appeal, Riverfront Times reported.

The class action lawsuit against ATS and the cities has no merit, said ATS spokesman Charles Territo in an email interview with Arnold Patch.

"One thing that challenges like these all have in common is that they have consistently failed," Territo said. "The constitutionality of red-light camera programs has been affirmed by courts at every level and throughout the country."

U.S. Appellate Judge Frank Easterbrook, of the Seventh Circuit Court based in Chicago, dismissed a lawsuit against that city's red-light cameras in 2009, this site reported in March.

Easterbrook's decision said the U.S. Constitution allows cities to pass laws that differ from state or county laws. Easterbrook also said the cameras do not violate due process, improperly fine drivers or raise city revenues.

Easterbrook's decision has no bearing in Missouri because the state is in the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, Patch reader Greg Zotta said in a comment on the Arnold Patch site.

The circuit appeals courts work to find congruences and similar reasoning when enforcing the U.S. Constitution, said Arnold City Attorney Bob Sweeney in a interview with Patch in March. 

Matt Hay August 25, 2011 at 05:56 PM
No single case has adjudicated the legality of the amendment of the laws of evidence by rule in Missouri under Missouri. In fact, state supreme courts such as the Supreme Court of Minnesota, who has a Constitution is very similar to Missouri's, have ruled against the Constitutionality of the systems, and the systems are banned there. I guess they have not that consistently failed...they were also struck down in the Alaskan Appellate courts as well... Cases decided in Federal Court have no bearing on the interpretation of State Law. In fact, I would point to Judge Thomas Mummert's ruling in the dismissal of the Federal case in Hoekstra v. Arnold, in that he specifically says that there are definitely state issues which require adjuducation in the Missouri Courts, but that he was not going to exercise jurisdiction as there was no longer a Federal issue at play. To say that these rullings are consistant at the state level and cases without merit is a bit presumptuous on ATS's part.
Brian August 25, 2011 at 09:16 PM
I am surprised Mr. Territo was able to find the time to interview with the Arnold Patch. Most of his days and nights have got to be spent defending the anti-democratic actions of ATS in Houston, TX and Washington state. The citizens in these locations either voted against red light cameras or simply wanted to put them to a referendum vote. ATS has responded by bringing lawsuits to keep the voters from having their say. If their product had any - any redeeming qualities at all, none of this - their lawsuits, their lobbyists, the political polarization - would be needed. But money is the root of all evil; and money and greed are at the root of ATS.

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