Kansas City motorists who applied for partial refunds after paying red-light camera fines can expect checks in the mail around the end of May.
A St. Louis judge last week approved a settlement in a lawsuit over red-light camera fines, and partial refunds to people who paid those fines should go out later this spring.
The partial refunds will resolve a class-action lawsuit against American Traffic Solutions, the company that for years operated red-light cameras in 27 communities throughout Missouri, including Kansas City, Grandview, Excelsior Springs and Sugar Creek.
Circuit Judge Tom DePriest Jr. agreed to the settlement March 13, and under Missouri law that judgment becomes final 30 days after it is entered.
Parties to the case declined to comment, except to say that checks should start to go out within weeks of that final judgment, sometime after mid-April. All payments are expected to be mailed by a court-appointed administrator within 45 days of the judgment becoming final.
After the settlement was proposed last fall, a claims administrator sent nearly 900,000 postcard notices to people who had paid fines for red-light violations in Missouri between 2005 and November 2014, alerting them that they could apply for a partial refund. Officials estimated about 200,000 of those potential claimants were from the Kansas City area.
But an affidavit from the claims administrator said that as of March 1, only 112,123 valid claims had been submitted. The parties said they could not estimate how many of those were from the Kansas City area.
Each valid class member was entitled to 20 percent of the fine amount. The fines were usually $100, so the refund for each fine is anticipated to be $20. That would bring the total anticipated payments to the class to about $2.24 million, not counting attorneys’ fees.
The deadline to make a claim was Feb. 28, so the claims period has closed.
This resolution does not affect separate legal questions over whether and how communities can legally continue to operate red-light cameras under state law. Kansas City and other cities are awaiting a Missouri Supreme Court ruling that could come at any time now to provide clear guidance on how they can proceed.
Kansas City suspended its red-light camera program and stopped issuing tickets in November 2013 while awaiting the outcome of that Supreme Court deliberation.