After years of fighting, judgment on $3.6M New Miami speed camera case coming today

About 33,000 speeders will finally find out today how much money New Miami must repay them after six years of legal wrangling over the unconstitutional speed camera program.

Judge Michael Oster was expected to issue his final judgment in the protracted case, a ruling that involves as much at $3.6 million, including interest. The two sides have asked the judge to reconsider several decisions, including exactly how much the village is on the hook for — $3 million-plus or $1.8 million it actually received — and its ability to pay over time.

The judge has not yet ruled on the exact amount of interest owed, just that it will be 3 percent of the final judgment. The speeders say it is $560,823 because they claim the interest began accumulating when the speed camera program was deemed unconstitutional in March 2014. The village maintains interest hasn’t started to accrue because there is no final monetary ruling yet.

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Josh Engel, one of the speeders’ attorneys, said he plans to ask Oster to order the village to pay immediately. He said Oster could stay the payment pending the appeals to the 12th District Court of Appeals, but he doesn’t have to. The village has said it can’t pay, but Engel said it should have been preparing for this eventuality.

“It is not a surprise to them that on June 28, 2019 the trial court is going to issue an order that they pay $3 million-plus dollars,” Engel said. “This is not like coming out of the blue, they’ve had seven years to prepare for this inevitability.”

After the old speed camera program was discontinued due to the court’s order, the village instituted a new speed camera program. The village has issued $1.5 million in fines since 2016 and received $986,170 after the third party took its cut.

New Miami’s attorney, James Englert, said it would mean ruin for the village if Oster reversed himself on the 10-year plan.

“Ordering a payment of that immediately would mean, if not the end of the village, then it would mean an incredible restriction on all of the citizens and lack of services,” Englert said. “The court rightly thought that was not the right thing to do.”

If Oster reaffirms his decision on the 10-year payback Engel said the village would have to come up with about $400,000, depending on the interest amount Oster sets.

MORE: Butler County speed camera case: Judge orders 10-year repayment of $3.2 million

A driver who got a speeding ticket in July 2013 can expect a check for about $70, interest and attorneys fees included. If the pay-over-time decision stands, Engel has said they will likely send payments to the first 10 percent of all the class members who got tickets.

Engel said if the 10 year repayment plan is approved they will appeal it to the 12th District. The village will appeal the final judgment.

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