I don't think I realized that the matter was still being litigated.
In a summary judgment issued last week, U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes called Safe Clear "a rational safety program" that does not over-regulate the towing business, or restrict the free speech of wrecker drivers who are not part of the Safe Clear program.
Some wreckers who were not part of the contract joined together to file a lawsuit in 2005, but lost. The recent decision pertains to a second suit the group filed in 2006 that claimed Safe Clear takes away their right to free commercial speech by restricting their ability to solicit business on the freeway and creates a regulatory taking by controlling tow rates.
The judge sided with the city's arguments that safety concerns prevailed.
Suzanne Poole, president of the group that sued, the Houston Professional Towing Association, said an appeal to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans is "a very strong possibility."
"It's not that we want the contract to go away, it's that we simply want to participate in it," Poole said.