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New BMV lawsuit alleges drivers overcharged

Updated: March 24, 2014 6:52AM



INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles is facing new allegations that it overcharged drivers for multiple services.

Plaintiffs in the class-action suit could secure refunds for overcharges on vehicle registrations and other services if their lawsuit succeeds. The suit could also open the way to further discovery of overcharges by the BMV.

The Indianapolis-based law firm Cohen and Malad filed the lawsuit in October. A Marion County Superior Court Judge denied the state’s request to dismiss the lawsuit this week.

The suit follows on the heels of a similar legal battle. The BMV agreed to settle a previous lawsuit this past August and refund $30 million to residents who had been overcharged for driver’s licenses.

Cohen and Malad lawyer Irwin Levin called the court’s ruling a victory for Hoosiers.

“The court has essentially ruled that the BMV can’t simply say ‘Trust us’ and throw out the case,” Levin told the Indianapolis Star. “Hoosiers now get to ask the BMV the tough questions about this debacle and get the answers they deserve.”

But BMV commissioner Don Snemis said he “respectfully disagrees” with the judge’s ruling and plans to appeal the decision.

“Any BMV credits that were arguably due and owing to the people of Indiana have already been issued,” he said. “The only thing sought by this lawsuit is more attorney fees for the class-action lawyers, which, if granted, will be paid by Hoosiers.”

Cohen and Malad, which also filed the first BMV lawsuit, collected $6.3 million in attorney fees or about 21 percent of the $30 million awarded.



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