Judge finds Girard immune from speeding ticket lawsuit
The City of Girard has succeeded in avoiding liability in a civil lawsuit filed over speed camera tickets issued four years ago along Interstate 80 in Girard.
Trumbull County Common Pleas Court Judge Andrew Logan has issued a nine-page opinion in favor of the city which was the target of a class-action lawsuit filed by six drivers who were ticketed for driving faster than 55 mph along westbound I-80 in Girard between December 7, 2017, and January 7, 2018.
Attorney Marc Dann argued that when the construction was completed on I-80, the speed limit was restored to 65 miles an hour. However, one sign was left on the road stating that the speed limit was 55 in that zone.
It was on that basis that Girard issued the speeding tickets, but Attorney Dann claimed that was not the correct speed and demanded that the city reimburse drivers who disputed the tickets.
It is estimated that Girard Police issued more than 7,700 tickets using a manned photo laser in that area during the period.
Judge Logan found that the drivers had due process of law available to them to challenge the fines through administrative means and the courts, but only two of the plaintiffs requested administrative hearings, declining to pursue the challenges further.
According to the city, out of the 157 hearings held for drivers challenging tickets issued during the period, only two had their fines unchanged. Sixty-four drivers had their fines reduced to anywhere between $10 and $50, while 91 drivers received no fine.
The ruling also states that the city has immunity from the civil lawsuit in the matter.
Girard officials say it was the responsibility of the Ohio Department of Transportation to exchange the 55 mph speed limit signs for the 65 mph signs but failed to do so during the month-long period in question. The city said police officers using hand-held speed cameras issued civil violations for the posted 55 mph limit.
The drivers aren’t left empty-handed though.
Attorney Dann and the company that processed the tickets reached a settlement earlier of the class action lawsuit.
Blue Line Solutions has provided a $175,000 settlement to be shared among the drivers, accessible through the website www.girardspeedingticketsettlement.com