Beaufort News

iTraffic attorney again asks judge to dismiss speed-camera lawsuit

The attorney for iTraffic, the company that helped launch Ridgeland's now-defunct speed-camera system on Interstate 95, has again requested that a lawsuit against the town and the company be dismissed, according to federal court records.

The class-action suit, filed Dec. 20 and amended last month after parts of it were dismissed in May, alleges the use of automated cameras to ticket speeders is unconstitutional for several reasons. The lawsuit also claims that iTraffic had too much control over police operations and that the town's mailing of tickets outside its jurisdiction constituted mail fraud.

Columbia attorney Pete Strom filed the amended complaint on behalf of two drivers from Virginia and another from New Jersey and others who were mailed tickets.

Morgan Templeton of Charleston, attorney for iTraffic, asked Judge Sol Blatt last week to dismiss the lawsuit because the plaintiffs have demanded a jury trial to challenge their speeding tickets, and that process must be followed.

"In short, the claims of proposed plaintiffs are not ripe until their criminal charges (are) adjudicated with finality," Templeton wrote in the 13-page filing. "Otherwise, this court is intertwined with the state criminal court."

Templeton also took aim at Strom's assertion that iTraffic had too much influence over police operations. Strom's allegations are just theories based on emails among iTraffic, town and police officials, Templeton wrote.

"Simply put, these facts do not support those theories, but do logically support the town's interest to efficiently utilize the equipment to identify speeders and improve safety," Templeton wrote.

Attorneys for Ridgeland have not yet filed a response to Strom's lawsuit.

After facing off with several state lawmakers for almost a year, Ridgeland officials pulled the plug on the cameras last week after Gov. Nikki Haley signed a bill outlawing them and speeding tickets based on photographic evidence.

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