Lawyers are subject to certain rules and regulations regarding their behavior under the Model Rules for Professional Conduct. These rules govern how lawyers assist clients, interact with opposing counsel and the tribunal, and regulate how lawyers take on new clients. While, these professional conduct rules pertain to lawyers and their clients, governmental agencies have similar ethics regulations regarding how transactions are conducted.
Specifically, there is a conflict-of-interest law that was implemented to “prevent state employees from using their office to help a future employer at the expense of the public.” As alleged a top official in the BMV had signed a state contract to company called Express MVA, which allowed them to a collect a convenience fee for providing certain services. State lawmakers believe this was an unauthorized action that resulted in overcharging of Hoosiers. These third parties would process titles and registration for an additional charge, sometimes three times as much as the transaction would have cost at the BMV.
To date, there have now been two class action law suits involving the BMV. Both lawsuits began in 2013 and involve the BMV overcharging Hoosiers. The first class action though was already settled; the BMV agreed to refund over $30 million to drivers in refunds and credits for overcharging of operator’s licenses and calculation mistakes. Since, the first class action was already settled; the BMV has a link for any potential class members that want to request a refund/credit. The second class action also involves overcharging customers for certain simple transactions. Both of these class action lawsuits touch on governmental transparency and accountability. Governor Pence has taken some remedial steps to gain public trust back by removing and replacing the BMV Commissioner; and by admitting that agency had overcharged 30,000 customers resulting in an additional $2 million to be paid to those affected.
While these measures might stem the short-term problem of crediting affected customers, the bigger picture of government transparency and accountability has yet to be appropriately addressed.
The lawyers at Camden & Meridew, P.C. are experienced in the areas of tax law, family law, litigation, consumer law, criminal law, and bankruptcy. Learn more by calling Corey Meridew at 317-770-0000 or completing our online contact form today.
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 Tony Cook, BMV Boss Pushed Fee, then Took a Job with a Company that Benefited, Indy Star, Jul. 26, 2015, http://www.indystar.com/story/news/politics/2015/07/24/bmv-boss-pushed-fee-took-job-company-benefited/30632873/
 Tim Evans, Indiana BMV, Attorneys behind Second Class Action Lawsuit over Additional Alleged Overcharges Agree to Try Mediation, Indy Star, March 5, 2015, http://www.indystar.com/story/news/2015/03/05/indiana-bmv-suit-overcharges-heads-mediation/24397189/