Kentucky, Indiana pay $650k to settle lawsuit filed by ousted to - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Kentucky, Indiana pay $650k to settle lawsuit filed by ousted toll bridge adviser

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Kentucky and Indiana agreed to pay $650,000 to resolve a lawsuit brought by a tolling consultant that was fired from the Ohio River Bridges Project.

The eTrans Group sued the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet last year, alleging that the agency interfered with the company’s ability to do its work as adviser to the states on tolling issues. It was seeking $3.45 million and other unspecified damages.

“These sorts of things get drawn out too long and nobody really wins, but I’m glad it’s resolved and we’re moving forward,” Daryl Fleming, the eTrans president, said in a brief telephone interview Tuesday.

The states, which jointly oversee the bridges project, each contributed $325,000 toward the settlement agreement reached June 9.

Kentucky procured the eTrans contract, but project officials in both states approved the company’s selection. A four-member joint board that includes the top transportation and finance officials in both states agreed to remove the company in 2015.

The joint board terminated the contract "for the convenience and benefit of all parties, including the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. The settlement includes payment for services the contractor provided prior to termination and the value of avoiding continued litigation," a Transportation Cabinet spokesman said in an emailed statement.

The bi-state joint board selected eTrans in early 2015 to serve as the states’ liaison with Kapsch TrafficCom, the Austrian company that operates the toll-bridge network between Louisville and Clark County, Ind., now known as RiverLink.

That selection came after the states ousted their original toll adviser, Computer Aid Inc., following conflict-of-interest allegations.

But the states removed eTrans four months later, claiming the firm didn’t meet their expectations and defaulted on its contract.

Louisville law firm Frost Brown Todd represented the Transportation Cabinet in the lawsuit under a contract with Kentucky that dates from 2012 for work on the bridges project. The firm charges $350 per hour; the standard rate is $125 per hour.

Earlier this month, a Kentucky legislative committee approved extending the $100,000 annual contract through the end of June 2018.

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