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TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA) – A state appeals court Wednesday cleared the way for a class-action lawsuit against the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority by companies that lease trailers pulled by tractor trucks.

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The lawsuit stems from tolls that the expressway authority charged to the trailer companies based on a system that captures images of vehicles’ rear license tags.

The companies had leased trailers to other businesses that, in many cases, then hired tractor-truck owners to haul the trailers.

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The trailer companies allege in the lawsuit that they should not have been charged tolls, which were the responsibility of the truck drivers, according to Wednesday’s ruling by a panel of the 3rd District Court of Appeal.

The plaintiffs, including Tropical Trailer Leasing, L.L.C., also sought to “certify” the lawsuit as a class action. A Miami-Dade County circuit judge approved the certification, leading the expressway authority to appeal.

In a 2-1 decision Wednesday, the appellate panel allowed the class-action lawsuit to move forward. “The very nature of the claim — allegedly improper toll charges on heavily-traveled expressways with tens of thousands of pertinent billings — supports the adjudication of the claims as a class action,” said the 17-page majority opinion, written by Judge Vance Salter and joined by Judge Robert Luck.

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“No single trailer owner could cost-effectively maintain such an action, seeking reimbursement for a series of charges of a few dollars per ‘Toll by Plate’ billing.” But Chief Judge Leslie Rothenberg dissented, describing as “speculative and overbroad” the circuit-court order certifying the class action.