Texas Appeals Court Slaps Down Red Light Camera Firm

Red light camera company cannot claim free speech to get out of fraud charges in Texas, the state Court of Appeals ruled.

image: camera lensA Louisiana motorist who received a $75 red light camera ticket in the mail from a Texas town while he was 200 miles away will now be allowed to proceed with a $130 million class action lawsuit. James H. Watson is charging Redflex Traffic Systems, Southlake’s red light camera vendor, with fraud. The Texas Court of Appeals on Thursday smacked down the attempt of the Australian firm to dismiss the suit on free speech grounds.

Redflex lawyers cited a law designed to prevent powerful companies from using the threat of a lawsuit to chill public debate in asking a judge to throw out the case. The anti-SLAPP law seeks to prevent “strategic lawsuits against public participation” by giving citizens a chance to have such lawsuits dismissed at an early stage, avoiding extremely expensive legal bills.

The Fifth Circuit US Court of Appeals already rejected the argument, as did a Tarrant County district court judge. On appeal in state court last week, a three-judge state panel was not impressed with Redflex repeating the arguments that the federal panel had already rejected. The legal argument came down to whether the Redflex “speech” that was suppressed was commercial in nature or not. The judges unanimously held it was.

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Also see this: Motorist gets green light to sue red light camera company | The Texas Monitor

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