Lawsuit: Lynnwood red-light camera tickets should be refunded

by: Amy Clancy Updated:

Lynnwood red-light cameras.
Ian Jordan admits he drove through the intersection at 196th St. SW and 36th Ave W in Lynnwood just as the light turned red.
 
“Ran a red light by about a tenth of a second,” the Mill Creek engineer told KIRO 7 on Friday.
 
It wasn't the $124 ticket that bothered Jordan as much as what he learned while researching Lynnwood's red-light ticket program, which has been in place since 2007 and is responsible for nearly $20 million in city revenue since then.
 
“They have been operating a red-light camera system illegally in that city,” Jordan said.
“The authorizing ordinance that the state Legislature enacted has very specific requirements, and Lynnwood is not following those, and so Lynnwood cannot be running a camera system.”
 
Jordan has hired Seattle lawyer Jay Carlson to file a class action lawsuit against Lynnwood for allegedly violating RCW 46.63.170, which states: “ ... cities and counties using automated traffic safety cameras must post an annual report of the number of traffic accidents that occurred at each location where an automated traffic safety camera is located as well as the number of notices of infraction issued for each camera and any other relevant information about the automated traffic safety cameras that the city or county deems appropriate on the city's or county's web site.”
 
They claim Lynnwood hasn't provided those numbers since 2013, even when requested.
 
“So that’s three years that have gone by that they’ve been out of compliance with the law,” Carlson told KIRO 7.
 
The suit, if successful, seeks full refunds for anyone who paid a red-light ticket in the past three years.
“The proponents of red-light cameras claim this is a program to enhance safety,” Carlson said.
“But it’s my belief that really what this is, is a program to raise revenue for the city of Lynnwood.”
 
Carlson expects to file by the end of November and estimates the suit could cost Lynnwood at least $5 million.
 
Julie Moore, the city of Lynnwood’s Manager of Communications and Public Affairs, told KIRO 7 in an email Friday, “The City has not had a chance to thoroughly review the documents submitted by Mr. Carlson, so we are unable to comment at this point.”