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Major Ohio Cities File Class Action to Recover Back Taxes

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While big business and their lobbyist continue to try to undermine the rights of consumers ability to bring class actions lawsuits and in turn try to prevent consumers from banding together to pursue their collective claims for widespread unscrupulous conduct, State and Local governments quietly are endorsing the use of class action lawsuits as an effective mechanism to secure their own remedies.

Columbus and Dayton together filed a proposed class-action lawsuit in federal court Tuesday that accuses 12 of the nation’s largest Internet travel operators of skimming off a portion of the hotel room occupancy taxes due municipalities across the state

. These cities are the lead plaintiffs in the case filed on behalf of all Ohio cities.

The defendants include popular online players Priceline.com, Hotels.com, Hotwire, Expedia, Travelocity, Cheap Tickets, Orbitz and Lowestfare.com.

15 similar lawsuits are pending around the nation. In recent years, as more and more business is conducted over the Internet, local and state governments have become increasingly aggressive in trying to track down sales and use taxes that might evade collection. The class action is an effective tool allowing these municipalities to band together sharing costs and streamlining litigation so that the pursuit of these claims become economically feasible.

For ordinary citizens, the class action lawsuit provides the same benefit in addition to leveling the playing field for plaintiffs who otherwise would not be able to justify pursuing their remedy for fraudulent or deceptive conduct where the cost of litigation might outweigh the recovery being sought.