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Indiana BMV lawsuit settlement means $62 million in refunds for motorists

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — The Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles has agreed to repay motorists more than $62 million it collected in excessive fees to settle a class-action lawsuit. There will be a press conference this morning at 10:30 a.m. where they will discuss more details.

Attorney Irwin Levin represented motorists in the lawsuit. He says the settlement includes $28.5 million in refunds for customers who were overcharged between 2002 and mid-2006 for driver licenses, vehicle registrations and other services. It also includes $33.6 million the agency began returning to customers last year for transactions from 2006 to 2014.

Levin says most motorists who qualify for refunds would be entitled to somewhere between $1 and $50. Most of the money will be refunded as credits for individual BMV accounts. People can also go to the BMV website to check their eligibility.

“The BMV waged a legal war against giving people back their money,” Levin said during a news conference Thursday. “This was what we call scorched earth litigation. Not only did they fight it, they denied that there were any other overcharges.”

Levin said the judge in the case found that the agency issued a press release in September 2013 in which it claimed that it had corrected all overcharged fees. The judge said that information was incorrect.

“Because of the BMV’s position, we were forced to take over a dozen different depositions. We were forced to look at an immeasurable number of documents and fight battle after battle,” Levin said.

Levin said the law firm presented the BMV with a list of 100 different types of overcharges along with statutes that spelled out why the fees were incorrect. Eight months later, the BMV responded and admitted that the overcharges occurred.

Despite that, the case went before a judge, who determined that the plaintiffs were correct. The judge said, if not for the litigation, the money wouldn’t have been paid back. A second trial was scheduled, which prompted the BMV to arrange a settlement, Levin said.

Together with previous settlements and refunds, the BMV has admitted to charging drivers more than $115 million in higher-than-allowed taxes and fees over the past 15 years.

Attorney Carl Hayes represented the BMV in the case. He says the agency is pleased to have resolved the issue.

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