Class action filed over New Orleans traffic cameras

By Michelle Massey | Nov 11, 2010

A New Orleans woman is a lead plaintiff in a proposed class action against the city for its use of traffic cameras after she received a ticket captured by a traffic camera.

Evelyn Alexis Bevis, individually and on behalf of as class of persons similarly situated, filed the lawsuit Nov. 1 in federal court in New Orleans.

Bevis claims that city ordinances which allow traffic cameras and automated traffic enforcement are unconstitutional and are an unlawful delegation of police power.

The New Orleans City Council voted 6-1 on Nov. 4 to move oversight of the city's red light and traffic cameras to the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) from the Public Works Department (PWD).

The measure came as a response to the Louisiana Supreme Court's ruling that it was against city charter for the PWD to administer traffic infractions. The city council said that the provision is retroactive and all previously issued tickets must be paid, with anyone who's already paid fines having now right to recover the funds.

The suit also names the city council, the PWD, American Traffic Solutions Inc. and "John Does" as defendants.

Among other things, Bevis claims the defendants violated the doctrine of governmental separation of powers. She also claims trespass to property, false arrest and/or attachment of persons and their property, unlawful touching and unlawful local government taking and/or expropriation.

Bevis is seeking more than $1.4 million in damages for loss and impairment of enjoyment and use of property, deprivation of civil rights, punitive damages, attorney's fees, court costs and interest.

The proposed class is represented by Brian A. Gilbert, Peter S. Koeppel and W. Scarth Clark of Best Koeppel Traylor in New Orleans and Alexander Dobrescu in Dobrescu and Associates in New Orleans.

A jury trial is requested.

U.S. District Judge Ivan L. R. Lemelle is assigned to the case.

Case No. 2:10-cv-4161

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