New BMV class-action suit alleges drivers overcharged

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

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

The Indianapolis-based law firm Cohen & Malad LLP filed the lawsuit in October. A Marion County Superior Court Judge denied the state's request to dismiss the lawsuit last week, according to The Indianapolis Star.

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 & Malad, which also filed the first BMV lawsuit, collected $6.3 million in attorney fees, or about 21 percent, of the $30 million awarded. Individuals who were overcharged received refunds of $3.50 to $15.

Cohen & Malad lawyer Irwin Levin called the court's ruling on the latest suit a victory for Hoosiers.

"The court has essentially ruled that the BMV can't simply say 'Trust us' and throw out the case," Levin said. "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."
 

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