The New York Supreme Court has granted class certification and appointed The Cullen Law Firm as class counsel in a lawsuit against the State of New York challenging the constitutionality of registration taxes New York has collected from non-New York truckers who have paid the taxes in order to do business in New York. The court found that a class action was appropriate due to the large number of members affected by the tax and the typicality of their claims, concluding that “in the absence of class certification, the State would not be legally obligated to refund the fees to anyone other than those who are parties to the action.
The lawsuit challenges the constitutionality of a $15 charge for a certificate of registration and a $4 decal charge on all trucks using New York state highways. The taxes are imposed not only on New York-based trucks, which are driven mostly in New York, but also on trucks based outside of New York, which are driven mostly in states other than New York. Because non-New York carriers drive fewer miles on New York highways, than New York carriers, the suit alleges that the taxes violate the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution, based on firmly established Supreme Court precedent.
The Cullen Law Firm has successfully challenged similar taxes in other class action cases. In OOIDA v. Sizemore, the Firm was appointed as lead counsel and class counsel in a matter that was litigated through the Courts of the State of Alabama in which a recovery of $70 million was obtained for class members. The Alabama matter was fully litigated through the Alabama Supreme Court (cert. denied) and United States Supreme Court (cert. denied).