Courthouse News brings us the interestingish case of Mary Kemp v. the Texas Department of Transportation over ... one dollar. Our story starts on November 4, 2007. The Wichita Falls resident was on State Highway 121 -- the Sam Rayburn -- and about to take the Denton Tap Road exit near Coppell when she realized she didn't have any change for the toll. Nor did she have a TollTag. So, according to her lawsuit filed Monday in Dallas federal court, "she decided to pay for use of the tollway through the video toll." Only, she thought she would just get a 60-cent hit; instead, "she was also charged a $1.00 invoice fee that was not disclosed to her at any point during the use of the tollway or when she exited the tollway."
Kemp and her attorney, Thomas Corea, are looking for all comers with similar complaints; they want this sucker to turn into a class action. Because they insist the ZipCash option -- which, at least back in '07, no one bothered to pay anyway -- goes against the Texas Constitution: "Defendants lack the statutory authority to charge the fee." Furthermore, they insist, TxDOT and TexasTollways -- the North Texas Tollway Authority is not named nor ever mentioned in the suit -- "only have the authority to charge fees to individuals that establish a toll tag account, which Ms. Kemp did not do." I wouldn't chuck that TollTag out the window just yet, but as the Startlegram reminded earlier this month, Kemp could probably find a few folks willing to jump into her suit.
Update at 10:32 a.m.: Sherita Coffelt, spokesperson for the NTTA, says the reason it's not named in the lawsuit is because it didn't take control of State Highway 121 till September 2008. It became the Rayburn in May of this year.
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.