Virginia Express Lane operator Transurban may be having a bad month. First, they had big problems over in Fairfax County Circuit Court last week, where a Virginia Express Lanes customer had $2200 of fees and penalties over a paid $12 toll tossed out of court. Chief Judge Dennis J. Smith dismissed the case on account of Transurban waiting over a year to assess their penalties, stating that a 1 year criminal statue of limitations applied, not a 2 year civil limit. That’s good news for other Transurban victims awaiting their own day in court, but we can assume Transurban will get more hasty with their fee machine in the future.
On April 15, several other Express Lanes customers filed a lawsuit in Federal Court, seeking class action status against Transurban, their partners and bill collectors. Among other things, the complaint states that Transurban et al are assessing civil penalties themselves even though a Court has not yet determined a violation exists, in defiance of Virginia law. It also states that Transurban’s penalties are far above the “reasonable” fee allowed in E-ZPass agreements, they do not allow a customer to reasonably dispute violations and fines, TransUrban is robo-signing lawsuits without a required human, and the TransUrban bill collectors even send non-attorneys to court.
The legal story and details about relief sought in the full complaint are too long for a blog post, but is an interesting read so we have a copy of the complaint here.