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Dallas Red-Light Camera Lawsuit Prompts CS Man to Appeal Fine

By: Ashlea Sigman Email
By: Ashlea Sigman Email

Jim Ash has been on the computer a lot lately.

"I just started digging on it from every angle I could think of," said Ash.

The College Station resident has been researching red-light tickets. In September, Jim's white car was caught running a College Station red-light. He's seen the video, and already paid the fine, but Jim is appealing it.

"Red-light camera laws have spawned hundreds of lawsuits relating to their use, their function, the gathering of information, what they're gonna do with it," said Ash.

However, Ash is appealing based on a Dallas civil court ruling a few weeks ago. In a summary judgement, the judge found that a red-light camera company that operates in the metroplex did not have a license the Texas occupation code requires.

Under the code, employees must be licensed as part of an investigations company, or they have no authority to monitor intersections.

Now the red-light camera company College Station- and many other Texas cities use- has been named in a federal class-action lawsuit. American Traffic Solutions, or ATS, is based in Arizona and is not licensed in Texas.

Its unclear what the outcome of that lawsuit will be, or how Ash's appeal will go Thursday.

"There's thousands of pieces of information that are out there. Only one of them is needed and that is that 192nd district court judge ruling," said Ash.

City attorneys for College Station say they will look into the Dallas judge's ruling. A spokesperson for the College Station Police Department says the department has heard of no changes to its red-light camera program.

The lawsuit filed in Dallas began when Dallas attorney Lloyd Ward's wife received a fine issued from a red-light camera. When the couple refused to pay , the red-light camera company threatened to report them to a credit bureau.

The Wards then took the company to court. Ward now wants red-light camera companies to repay everyone who was issued a red-light camera fine in Texas.

"If you're going to obtain information for purposes of prosecution before a court board office investigation committee you have to have appropriate licensing," said Ward.

"The occupational code provision he is relying on really is generated at individuals. Here we're talking about a machine basically that is installed to capture an event," said attorney Jim Harris of Thompson & Knight Law Firm.

Both parties have until Friday to submit a response to the judge's order.


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