Traffic school owner in commercial lawsuit

By Pankaj Ladhar of Manos • Alwine P.L.

The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles has attempted to cancel a contract it entered into with a traffic school owner due to unforeseen complications. This action has resulted in a commercial lawsuit.

In the beginning, the Department entered into an agreement with the traffic school owner in which he agreed to print and distribute the Official Florida driver’s Handbook. In exchange for his printing and distribution costs, the traffic school owner would gain exclusive advertising rights in the book, which is used by millions of people preparing for their driver’s test.
Initially, it appeared like it was a great deal for both parties involved, but the trouble started when complaints filtered in that the traffic school owner’s exclusive ad rights were leading the general public to believe that his driving school was the only one approved by the state of Florida. A commercial lawsuit ensued.

While the Florida DMV admits that the traffic school owner has held up his end of the bargain, they feel that the partnership has hindered their efforts to enter into contracts with other businesses involved in traffic safety. Thus, the Department notified the man that his contract would be canceled, to which he responded by suing and eventually winning the right renew the contract for an additional five years. Some time later, an appellate court ruled in favor of the DMV, opening up the stage for additional litigation.

The situation has resulted in an upheaval of the entire traffic school industry in Florida. The owner’s online traffic school enrollment has surged, whole numbers in other schools have dropped dramatically. Competitors also complain that the traffic school owner is guilty of misleading advertising in regards to his school’s fees.

The states of New York, Texas and California do not allow advertisements to be placed in their handbooks.

Source: St. Petersburg Times “Florida tries to undo traffic school owner’s publishing contract,”Susan Taylor Martin and Dan Sullivan, Oct. 16, 2011