April 24, 2018
By Linda Chiem
Law360 (April 24, 2018, 5:11 PM EDT) California motorists asked a federal judge Monday to certify
their class action alleging the operators of cashless tolls around Orange County unlawfully used
drivers’ personal information to collect unpaid tolls and unconstitutionally hit drivers with overblown
fines, saying the operators engaged in uniform violations of the law.
The motorists told U.S. District Judge Andrew J. Guilford that their consolidated suit against Orange
County Transportation Authority, the Transportation Corridor Agencies, 3M Company, Bric TPS LLC,
Cofiroute USA LLC and other toll operators is wellsuited for class treatment because it meets all the
technical requirements. But it also merits certification because “there is no realistic alternative that
would allow individual consumers to bring these defendants to heel,” they said in their motion.
“Without the class mechanism, the pernicious and widespread course of conduct that defendants
have engaged in will continue to go unchecked,” the motorists argued. “A class action of the sort
plaintiffs are pursuing here is the appropriate vehicle to address this problem and to provide relief for
the millions of California consumers who have been negatively impacted by defendants’ misconduct.”
According to the motion, millions of Golden State drivers have been hit with unwanted and unlawful
consequences of the allelectronic tolling systems on California’s Highway Routes 71, 133, 241 and
261, which are run by the Transportation Corridor Agencies, and the 91 Express Lanes in Orange
County, a fourlane, 18mile toll road owned and operated by the Orange County Transportation
“Drivers are stung, sometimes to the tune of thousands of dollars, by excessive fines through a
system that is essentially a stacked deck, with an often byzantine and muddled payment process that
was almost guaranteed to result in fines far in excess of the toll amount,” the motorists said. “Even
worse, unbeknownst to any of the drivers, defendants are also — repeatedly and recklessly —
disseminating personal driver data that is collected by their electronic systems, in direct violation of
California laws meant to protect against such wanton disclosure.”
The motorists argue that the toll operator defendants have uniform and automated notice procedures
for assessing tolls, have admitted to routinely and uniformly transmitting massive amounts of drivers’
personally identifiable information to third parties and have engaged in uniform omissions and
misrepresentations about the penalties assessed and their purportedly reckless sharing of drivers’
personal information, according to the motion.
They’re seeking certification of two classes: a penalty class that covers all consumers who, between
Feb. 16, 2011, and the present, were assessed and/or paid an excessive penalty amount for using
the toll roads operated by defendants, and a privacy class that covers all consumers who during that
same period had their privacy rights violated by the alleged improper dissemination of their
personally identifiable information from using the toll roads operated by the defendants.
The motorists sued in 2016 claiming the various agencies run automated tolling systems that scan
cars’ license plates, give those vehicle owners mere days to pay the tolls online or get hit with a toll
evasion penalty of $57.50, assess addon penalties for delinquent or unpaid tolls and don’t give
drivers meaningful ways to protest the charges, according to court documents. The system “utterly
lacks fundamental constitutional safeguards,” according to the drivers, leaving motorists facing
additional threats of more severe penalties such as liens, garnishments and even impounds without appropriate notice or due process, the plaintiffs have said.
The Orange County Transportation Authority and Cofiroute USA LLC, which manages the 91 Express
Lanes under a contract with the OCTA, have insisted that they’re well within their authority to use
driver information to collect unpaid tolls.
Other agencies, including the Foothill/Eastern Transportation Corridor Agency and the San Joaquin
Hills Transportation Corridor Agency, have similarly disputed claims they levied inflated fines and
deprived drivers of meaningful opportunities to challenge those fines.
Press representatives for both the Orange County Transportation Authority and the Transportation
Corridor Agencies declined to comment on pending litigation.
The plaintiffs are represented by Helen I. Zeldes, Andrew J. Kubik and Ben Travis of Coast Law Group
LLP, Blake J. Lindemann of Lindemann Law Firm APC, Michael J. Flannery, Charles Laduca and Katie
Van Dyck of Cuneo Gilbert & Laduca LLP, Paul L. Hoffman and Aidan C. McGlaze of Schonbrun Seplow
Harris & Hoffman LLP, Arleen Haeggquist and Aaron M. Olsen of Haeggquist & Eck LLP, Michael
McShane and S. Clinton Woods of Audet & Partners LLP and Aaron Dolgin of Aaron Dolgin Law
The TCA defendants are represented by E. George Joseph, Benjamin Z. Rubin, Ashley J. Remillard,
Stephanie N. Clark and Kristin Garcia of Nossaman LLP.
The Orange County Transportation Authority defendants are represented by M. Lois Bobak, Robert L.
Kaufman and Jeanne L. Tollison of Woodruff Spradlin & Smart APC.
Cofiroute is represented by David F. Brown of Corbett Steelman & Specter.
The case is In Re: Toll Roads Litigation, case number 8:16cv00262, in the U.S. District Court for the
Central District of California.
– – Editing by Alanna Weissman.
Update: This story has been updated to include responses from the defendants.