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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    11

    Default How to Sue the State for a Driving Record Error

    Hi there,

    Last January of 2009, I was cited for speeding. In March of 2009, I had my hearing and moved for a deferred dismissal of the ticket. It was granted and I was told it would not show up on my record. However, the court made a mistake, which I had no idea of until earlier last month (March).

    Early March of 2010, I received a letter from my insurance saying that they were raising my insurance because of the ticket. They found out about this because the court filed my ticket as committed instead of deferred dismissal (not what they were supposed to do). Over the past month, I have been running around from the Department of Licensing, my insurance company, the municipal court of the town I live in, and have been on the phone with the state office of the Department of Licensing trying to get this fixed.

    I've incurred stress, monetary costs (paying for motor vehicle records from the Department of Licensing), and have spent tons of time waiting in lines to talk to various officials trying to get this fixed, on top of having a tainted record with my insurance company. Since this entire fiasco is no fault of mine and is completely on the shoulders of the court, I would like to sue the state of Washington. I cannot sue the State in small claims court - they make that clear on their website.

    How can I bring suit against the State in this case? Any help is greatly appreciated.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    3,837

    Default Re: How to Sue the State of Washington

    If you are simply asking how to file suit to obtain an order to correct the record, as an appeal would do, they can't claim sovereign immunity.

    If successful, then you can notify your ins. co.

    If you are looking for monetary reimbursement, that is an uphill climb, but not totally impossible, but either/or may require a lawyer to look at.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Behind a Desk
    Posts
    74,341

    Default Re: How to Sue the State of Washington

    If you believe it is "not totally impossible" to prevail in a claim money damages for time spent on the phone correcting a clerical error by a court or for the error being included on an abstracted driver's license, please cite your authority.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    3,837

    Default Re: How to Sue the State of Washington

    Quote Quoting Mr. Knowitall
    View Post
    If you believe it is "not totally impossible" to prevail in a claim money damages for time spent on the phone correcting a clerical error by a court or for the error being included on an abstracted driver's license, please cite your authority.
    If he sues to correct the error and moves for reimbursement, it is up to the court to award. If that division has a history of so called errors, the Judge may be on the posters side.

    I have seen Clerk's offices with history's of stupid data entry.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    11

    Default Re: How to Sue the State of Washington

    Thanks for your responses guys, although now I'm a bit more confused...

    Still, I have an update: Yesterday the court FINALLY got my record fixed and I submitted a copy of my corrected motor vehicle record to my insurance company. My insurance company said that my policy would be readjusted accordingly and everything would be back to the way it was. Very good news.

    If I went ahead and sued, I would not be suing to correct the record since that has already been done (as of yesterday). I would only be suing for monetary damages. I've had to request my MVR several times to check if it had been corrected (each time I requested it cost $10). And as far as time goes, it's not just little talks on the phone to various agencies (although I was on the phone with the state DOL and placed on hold for 20 minutes -- no exaggeration). I've also made countless trips from the court to the DOL to my insurance company. And there are lines and so much red tape to crawl around that it's been a LOT of time spent. And -- it's taken a month to resolve. I had to take care of a bunch of stuff during finals week also (I'm a college student) and it's just basically been one whole mass of stress.

    But I guess the bottom line is, what I'm getting from BOR, is that I'm going to have to talk to a lawyer, right?

    Thanks for your help guys!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    28,644

    Default Re: How to Sue the State of Washington

    I would expect the impediment here to be judicial immunity (if the error was made by a judge) or quasi-judicial immunity (in very simple terms, if the error was made by a court employee carrying out the judge's orders). When judicial or quasi-judicial immunity apply, there's no individual cause of action against the court or employee because the injury is viewed as having been suffered by the judicial system, and not as an individual injury. These issues can be complex to analyze, so consulting a local lawyer is the best way to find out whether immunity applies and to what effect.

    I expect you'll also run into trouble trying to claim damages for the time you spent trying to correct the error, as damages are usually based upon out-of-pocket expenditures as opposed to a personal investment of time.

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