Speed-camera firm sues rival over radar-unit certification

by Paul Davenport - Nov. 16, 2008 12:00 AM
Associated Press
A lawsuit filed by a rival accuses a leading speed-enforcement company of competing illegally by using radar units that lacked required government certification, an issue the rival first raised during bidding for a major Arizona contract.
American Traffic Solutions Inc. filed the lawsuit against Redflex Traffic Systems Inc. and two Redflex executives in U.S. District Court. Both companies are based in suburban Scottsdale.
The lawsuit alleged that Redflex competed for photo-enforcement contracts and delivered radar units to service those contracts while knowingly lacking Federal Communications Commission certifications for several imported radar types.
ATS said it was damaged by misrepresentations and unfair competition by Redflex through its use of uncertified radar that ATS said made Redflex ineligible for contracts in Arizona and other states.
The two companies were rivals for an Arizona contract awarded to Redflex for a speed-enforcement program now being launched initially in the Phoenix area with mobile and fixed cameras. The mobile units use radar to trigger cameras. The fixed cameras use pavement-embedded sensors.
ATS is administratively appealing the contract award by the Arizona Department of Public Safety.
Citing company policy regarding pending litigation, Redflex spokeswoman Shoba Vaitheeswaran on Thursday declined comment on the lawsuit filed Nov. 5.
The lawsuit cited alleged unfair competition by Redflex in marketing, sale and use of uncertified radar in Arizona at Pinal County, Prescott and Star Valley; in Louisiana at Gretna, Lafayette, Alexandria, Livingston Parish, Sulphur, Zachary and Baker; in Ohio at Chillicothe, Northwood, Toledo, Trotwood, West Carrollton and Hamilton; in Tennessee at Oak Ridge, Jonesborough and Selmer; and in Washington at Auburn, Bremerton, Burien, Lakewood, Tacoma and Vancouver.
The lawsuit also cited Davenport, Iowa; Albuquerque, N.M.; Las Cruces, N.M.; Beaverton, Ore., and Medford, Ore.
The ATS lawsuit asked for damages, its own lost profits and for Redflex' profits from use of non-certified radar.
"Damages are substantial and may approach $100 million," the lawsuit stated.
Redflex last summer pulled two mobile units out of service under a pilot-program contract with the Arizona Department of Public Safety after ATS cited the lack of certification in contesting Redflex's eligibility for the statewide contract.
Redflex later said it had returned the units to service after obtaining certification.
In an Aug. 7 letter to the Arizona Department of Public Safety, Redflex President Karen Finley apologized to DPS for the lapse and offered reassurances. Finley said she hadn't known that there was a difference "between a radar unit being FCC compliant and a unit being FCC certified."
The lack of certification "has no impact whatsoever on the integrity of speed measurements" and merely confirms that the unit does not interfere with other radio frequencies," Finley's letter added.
Redflex is a unit of Redflex Holding Systems based in South Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.