The briefs in the lawsuit

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  1. COMPLAINT filed on July 12, 2012, kicking off the NoTollsHR lawsuit on behalf of Citizens Against Unfair Tolls against VDOT and ERCO. The case was named for the first plaintiff in the caption, “Danny Meeks, et al. v. VDOT, et al.” and assigned Case No. 740-CL-12001705-00.  [Note: The defendants petitioned to have the case moved to federal court based on Count 7, which was a federal count. Plaintiffs amended the Complaint, dropping Count 7, and the case was remanded to Circuit Court, where it was assigned to the Honorable Judge James A. Cales.]
  2. BRIEF IN SUPPORT OF DEFENDANTS’ MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT, filed Jan. 31, 2013, by VDOT and ERCO. Defendants argue that the Court should dismiss the lawsuit “with prejudice,” claiming that “Plaintiffs are local citizens and businesses who object to paying tolls to use the Project facilities.”
  3. PLAINTIFFS’ CROSS-MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT, filed March 4, 2013. Plaintiffs’ attorneys Patrick McSweeney, Bob Cynkar, and Chris Kachouroff argue that the Plaintiffs rights’ under the Constitution of Virginia have been violated, that certain provisions of the PPTA are unconstitutional, and that the Comprehensive Agreement between VDOT and ERCO is invalid.
  4. REPLY BRIEF IN SUPPORT OF DEFENDANTS’ MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT, filed March 25, 2013, by VDOT/ERCO, who state that Plaintiffs’ arguments “would threaten every PPTA project in the Commonwealth” if accepted by the Court. (This claim by the Defendants is what Judge Cales rightly labeled the “Chicken Little” defense during a subsequent hearing.)
  5. REPLY BRIEF IN SUPPORT OF PLAINTIFFS’ CROSS-MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT, filed April 15, 2013, argues that there was an unlawful delegation of power to VDOT, unauthorized action in the contracting process by VDOT, unconstitutional special treatment in the Comprehensive Agreement that would inhibit (or effectively prohibit) future legislative action, and illegal exaction of money from Plaintiffs.
  6. “In The Matter Of: Meeks, et al., v. Virginia Department of Transportation, et al.,” May 1, 2013, transcript of court proceedings by ZAHN Court Reporting. Or, “David v. Goliath in Portsmouth Circuit Court; David Wins.” (We had two attorneys present, no staff; they had seven attorneys with supporting staff. It was interesting to watch them jockeying for seats appropriate to their standing.)
  7. MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF DEFENDANTS MOTION TO STAY JUDGMENT PENDING APPEAL, filed May 14, 2013. Defendants argue that they should be allowed to collect tolls while the Supreme Court makes a final decision in the case because the “only harm would be the payment of a small amount in user fees should [Plaintiffs] choose to travel the tolled areas.” (This was assuming the Supreme Court would not make a decision until after February 1.)
  8. PLAINTIFFS OPPOSITION TO MOTION TO STAY, filed May 17, 2013. Plaintiffs argue that damages would not be financial only: staying the judgment could lead to a violation of Plaintiffs’ constitutional rights.
  9. MOTION FOR ENTRY OF DEFENDANTS’ PROPOSED ORDER AND OBJECTIONS TO DRAFT ORDER PROPOSED BY PLAINTIFFS, filed May 17, 2013. More “Chicken Little” hyperbole and claims that Plaintiffs “misstate and exaggerate.” (We believe this is called “projection.”)
  10. MOTION FOR ENTRY OF PLAINTIFFS’ PROPOSED ORDER AND OBJECTIONS TO DRAFT ORDER PROPOSED BY DEFENDANTS, filed May 17, 2013. Plaintiffs’ quote the judge: “…in this particular action, the General Assembly has given unfettered power to the Department of Transportation to set toll rates without any real or meaningful parameters.” The Defendants objected, of course, but this order was adopted by the Court, another victory.
  11. ORDER DENYING STAY PENDING APEAL, filed on May 21, 2013, in a document optimistically presented in court by the Defendants and altered to fit the actual decision (which required quite a few strokes of the pen in our favor).
  12. ELIZABETH RIVER CROSSING OPCO, LLC…BRIEF OF APPELLANT, filed with the Supreme Court on July 19, 2013, wherein the Defendants rewrite Virginia tolling history and claim that VDOT is a “responsible public entity.”
  13. Opposition to Joint Motion to Stay, filed June 26, 2013.
  14. APPELLEES’ ASSIGNMENTS OF CROSS-ERROR, filed with the Supreme Court on June 27, 2013, by the Plaintiffs (Appellees). In addition to supporting the decision of the Circuit Court in the this case, Plaintiffs ask the Supreme Court to rule on the tolling provisions of the PPTA and Comprehensive Agreement based on their abridgement of the Commonwealth’s sovereignty.
  15. BRIEF OF AMICI CURIAE VIRGINIA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE, VIRGINIA TRANSPORTATION CONSTRUCTION ALLIANCE, AND OLD DOMINION HIGHWAY CONTRACTORS ASSOCIATION IN SUPPORT OF THE APPELLANTS, filed July 19, 2013. “Friends of the Court Brief” filed by the Va. Chamber of Commerce and major construction interests hoping that the PPTA will be found constitutional for extremely obvious reasons. (Anyone who knows members of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce should check with them to see if they actually knew about and supported this brief.)
  16. CONSOLIDATED JOINT BRIEF OF APPELLEES, filed with the Supreme Court on August 13, 2013. The winning argument for our side! Read it here or listen to our last brief for the appeal. (Click here to download the audio file – with thanks to Third Eye Studios.) This is the last hurdle in our legal challenge
  17. SCC Order dismissing petition of ERC OPCO, LLC v. City of Portsmouth, VADONATE NOW!
  18. Supreme Court decision rubber stamping the appellees’ arguments.

3 thoughts on “The briefs in the lawsuit

  1. Pingback: The legal challenge is over the first two hurdles – AND WE WON. |

  2. The one hour and 23 minute legal brief is very good. The points made are right on.
    I do wish however the (legal?) allowed acceptance of a YEARLY increase in tolls of 3.5% OR the Consumer Price Index — “Whichever” is the highest had been mentioned. This increase is set in the contract (in stone) and is not negotiable by VDOT or anyone ERC only has to ask for it each year and they get it. That to me seems to be a major concession / backroom deal between VDOT and ERC. This is a MAJOR example of taking away the power/rights of the Commonwealth of Virginia. If the CPI is less than 3.5% ERC can still raise the toll to that full amount. Of course if it is more, THAT increase will be allowed.

  3. I think a better argument is to be made for encroachment on the constitutionally secured right to travel. I have almost 40 Supreme Court rulings in support of this position. Does anyone know whom is representing legally?

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