4/28/2008Illinois: Lawsuit Filed Over Outrageous Toll Fines
Illinois toll authority sued after it generates millions in revenue by failing to notify customers of unpaid toll bills.
A Chicago lawyer is taking on the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority over the issue of more than $50 million in fees and fines imposed on drivers accused of skipping out on tolls. Earlier this month, Daniel Edelman filed a class action lawsuit against the toll agency for depriving motorists of their due process rights, the Southtown Star newspaper reported.
Motorists like Leslie Boudreau were accused of cheating because the credit card set up to keep their electronic toll transponder account current had expired. These drivers never received notification of any problem between July 2006 and August 2007 because the tollway had changed its billing contractors. In Boudreau's case, this delay turned $180 in tolls that inadvertently went unpaid into a bill for $4620. Motorists who attempted to call the tollway and complain or challenge a citation met a near continuous busy signal.
The Southtown Star also reported the case of Michael Healy, 73, who the tollway accused of cheating to the tune of $3106.60. Healy, who gave up driving entirely three years ago, never received any notice until the massive bill hit. His son, Jim Healy, was actually the one driving the car and was responsible for skipping the tolls. When Jim Healy attempted to transfer the fines to his name, the agency refused. Michael Healy was forced to pay the full amount on his credit card.
"The registered owner of the vehicle is liable," tollway spokesman Joelle McGinnis told the Star. "It is something a family must settle amongst themselves."
Outraged motorists in Orange County, California last year filed a similar lawsuit after being hit with individual toll bills that ballooned up to $90,000.