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Lawsuit claims BMV overcharged Indiana residents by millions

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press
Thursday, March 7, 2013 - 1:40 pm

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana's Bureau of Motor Vehicles violated state law by "systematically" overcharging state residents by tens of millions of dollars for driver's licenses, a lawsuit filed Thursday alleges.

The complaint, filed in Marion Superior Court, contends the BMV charged drivers under age 75 between $4 and $7 more than state law allows when they obtained or renewed licenses.

Indianapolis attorney Irwin B. Levin has asked the court to approve class-action status for the suit, which seeks a return of the alleged overcharges. He told The Indianapolis Star the BMV allegedly violated state law in settling on how much to charge for driver's licenses.

"There is specific authority for how much they can charge and what they did instead was, apparently, just made up a number," Levin said. "They just disregarded it."

Based on the calculations of his law firm, Cohen & Malad, Levin said Hoosiers may have been overcharged as much as $30 million to $40 million, but added that it's up to state officials to provide financial figures.

BMV spokesman Dennis Rosebrough said he had not seen the complaint and the agency would not comment until officials review the allegations.

Levin's suit alleges that in 2012 alone, 2.2 million Indiana driver's licenses expired and required renewal. If all those licenses were renewed and drivers were overcharged by the lowest amount alleged in the suit, the BMV would have collected $8.8 million more than allowed by law.

Indiana currently has more than 4 million licensed drivers, according to the suit.

Levin said that if the suit is successful and the court certifies a class of victims, a notice of a possible refund will be sent "to everyone who the state indicates has paid for a driver's license for the past six years."

He said his law firm is investigating whether other state agencies may be overcharging residents.

"We are involved in an active of investigation of the fees in the state, but this is the only one I am aware of at this time," Levin said.