A state judge signed off Friday on settlements of a trio of lawsuits involving the controversial and unpopular Redflex red-light camera system used in Jefferson Parish from 2007 until 2010.
Two of them were class-action lawsuits that will return $7.1 million to 147,000 of the drivers issued tickets while the system was in use. The third settlement was Redflex’s lawsuit against the parish, which will return $9 million to the company that operated the system.
Checks are expected to go out in the second or third week of January, said Steven Mauterer, the attorney representing one of the two plaintiff classes.
People who paid tickets without contesting them will receive a little more than $20 per ticket. Those who contested their tickets but ultimately paid them will get about $30 per ticket.
The amount of the settlement is not enough to pay drivers the full amount of the penalty they were charged, typically $110. This is because plaintiffs were not able to convince 24th Judicial District Judge Henry Sullivan on two points: that their constitutional right to due process was violated and that only the state, not municipalities, has the right to pass laws regarding traffic signals on roadways.
“We had lost at every turn, and instead of looking at zero recovery for our people, we were able to turn a loss into somewhat of a victory and put some money in people’s pockets,” Mauterer said of the settlements approved by Sullivan.
The Redflex program was in effect in Jefferson from November 2007 to March 2010, when it was suspended after questions arose about payments the Arizona company had made to local political lobbyists.
The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office put the $21 million collected from the tickets in an escrow account when the suits were filed, and the $7.1 million for the drivers and the $9 million for Redflex will come from that account. Then $3 million will go to Jefferson Parish, $900,000 each to the Sheriff’s Office and District Attorney’s Office, and $100,000 each to the 1st and 2nd Parish Courts. About a third of the $7.1 million settlement will go to the attorneys.
Follow Chad Calder on Twitter, @Chad_Calder.