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April 25, 2017 3:00 PM, EDT

New York Judge Approves Settlement Requiring State to Refund $44.4 Million to OOIDA

A New York state judge has approved a settlement reached last year requiring the state of New York to refund $44.4 million to the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association on behalf of drivers wrongly charged out-of-state highway use taxes and decal fees.

OOIDA’s attorneys will receive $11.6 million of the total settlement, according to the final court-approved judgment in the case filed on April 19.

RELATED: OOIDA petitions US Supreme Court to reject electronic logging device rule

In its class-action lawsuit, OOIDA had argued that the fees violated the Constitution’s Commerce Clause since out-of-state truckers who drove mostly in other states were paying a higher per-mile rate than their New York counterparts.

“We fought against a number of similar taxes back in the 1980s and 1990s, and the states lost in every one of those cases,” OOIDA President Jim Johnston said in a statement announcing the agreement between the parties in September. “Given that history, we were shocked that New York even thought they could get away with this blatantly unconstitutional tax.”

“The amount for the New York HUT decal is $19, which may seem insignificant. But if other states were to do the same thing, it would be huge — collectively and in administrative costs,” Johnston added.

According to OOIDA, class action members will receive a full refund, plus interest, subject to attorneys’ fees.