The Pence Administration was handed another setback Monday in its efforts to avoid a lawsuit for overcharging Indiana drivers at the BMV.
It came in a court ruling from Marion County Judge John Hanley.
Judge Hanley’s order is short and to the point. In it he rejected a state motion to dismiss the lawsuit that alleges overcharges going back more than a decade.
They are overcharges that total as much as $60 million.
The ruling is a potential victory for Indiana drivers and for the lawyers who first filed a lawsuit in 2012 following an I-team investigation.
“We’re very pleased by this ruling because the BMV has been throwing up obstacles and roadblocks to this case all along,” said attorney Richard Shevitz, “and today’s ruling clears away those obstacles and sets the way for us to go to trial in December.”
Shevitz is on a legal team led by Irwin Levin, who was in court fighting the BMV request to dismiss the case not quite a month ago.
“The problem is is that they’re not going to pay all the money that’s overcharged,” said Levin at the time. “They’re gonna pick and choose just like they’ve done thus far.”
At the time, an attorney for the BMV expressed optimism.
“We made some what we consider to be compelling legal arguments,” said Carl Hayes, “and we’re anxious for the court to rule.”
Yet back in February Governor Mike Pence admitted problems saying “There’s just been a misapplication of the law.”
And now a court will decide who gets paid and how much.
“But if the BMV interested in settling this case,” said Shevitz, “obviously we’re happy to talk about that and that’s what the next step will be.”
That’s because Judge Hanley ordered the two sides to enter mediation within the next 30 days.
The trouble is, they already went through mediation once and couldn’t agree on a settlement.