Federal Appeals Court Revives Florida Red Light Camera Challenge

A $29 million class-action lawsuit against the use of red light cameras in North Miami Beach is headed to the Florida Supreme Court under an order issued yesterday by the Eleventh Circuit US Court of Appeals. The three-judge appellate panel found that a lower court judge made a mistake when he threw out the unjust enrichment claim levied against American Traffic Solutions (ATS, which since changed its name to Verra Mobility). The company levied an extra $7.90 “convenience” fee on motorists who paid the typical photo ticket online or over the phone, even though state law only authorizes a $158 charge. The appellate court noted this case has major implications.

“More than eight million notices have been issued for red light camera violations in Florida, including 1,054,234 issued between July 1, 2018 and June 30, 2019,” Judge Jill A. Pryor wrote for the Eleventh Circuit panel. “So, the statutory issues raised by this case — which will determine whether a vendor may add a surcharge to red light camera penalties in exchange for permitting individuals to pay their penalties by credit card — may affect millions of Floridians and dozens of Florida’s municipal traffic enforcement regimes.”