Status Update to the Woosley vs State of California Lawsuit

Note: This does not apply to the $300 Smog Impact Fee Refund

Beginning the week of June 2, 2008, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will generate and mail refund checks to eligible claimants who applied for a vehicle license fee (VLF) refund under the Woosley vs. State of California class action lawsuit.  Denial letters were issued in the fall of 2006. It will take approximately two weeks to issue and mail all refund checks.
The Los Angeles Superior Court has made rulings regarding the claims processing during the past nine years. The Department of Motor Vehicles applied the criteria to claims processing.

The following questions and answers provide the most current information available to the DMV:

  1. What is the Woosley vs. State of California class action lawsuit?
  2. How long will I be allowed to file a claim for refund consideration?
  3. What is the status of my Woosley refund claim?
  4. I filed a claim, but did not receive a response.  What should I do now?
  5. My refund check was lost, stolen, or destroyed after receiving it.  What do I do?
  6. My bank will not cash my refund check because it is too old.  What do I do?
  7. How do I record my address change so that I will get my refund check?
  8. Will interest be paid on the refunds?
  9. I do not agree with the reason my claim was denied.  What should I do?

Q: What is the Woosley vs. State of California class action lawsuit?
A: In the class action lawsuit of Woosley vs. State of California (1992) 3 Cal. 4th 758, 13 Cal. Rptr. 2d 30, the California Supreme Court held that the manner in which the State assessed Vehicle License Fees on certain nonresident vehicles (brought into California from another state), where the vehicle was acquired prior to August 1, 1991, was unconstitutional. 

To be considered for a refund of a portion of the Vehicle License Fees paid, the following criteria must have been met:

  • The vehicle must have been previously registered outside of California.
  • You, your parent, child, grandparent, grandchild, or spouse must have acquired the out-of-state registered vehicle prior to August 1, 1991.
  • The fees being claimed must have been paid within three years of the date the refund claim was submitted.


Q: How long will I be allowed to file a claim for refund consideration?
A: If you were the registered owner or lessee of the vehicle, you had until June 16, 1999, to file a refund claim.  If you filed a refund claim before the final deadline and have not received a refund check or denial letter, refer to question #3 “What is the status of my Woosley refund claim?

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Q: What is the status of my Woosley refund claim?
A: Please locate the claim tracking number located in the right-hand corner of your acknowledgement letter.  You may review the claim numbers for refund checks and denial letters issued to locate the disposition of your refund claim.  The lists are in claim tracking number order.


List of Refunds (PDF)                List of Denials (PDF)


Q:  I filed a claim, but did not receive a response.  What should I do now?
A: To check the status of your refund claim, refer to question #3 “What is the status of my Woosley refund claim?” or contact the unit in writing at:

Department of Motor Vehicles
Woosley Refund Program MS D700
P.O. Box 825393
Sacramento, CA 94232-5393

When writing, please include the California license plate number or vehicle identification number (VIN) and/or claim tracking number in order for DMV to locate your Woosley refund claim record. 

Q: My refund check was not received, was lost or stolen, or was destroyed after receiving it.  What do I do?
A: Contact DMV in writing only at:

Department of Motor Vehicles
Woosley Refund Program MS D700
P.O. Box 825393
Sacramento, CA 94232-5393

When writing, please include the California license plate number or vehicle identification number (VIN) and/or claim tracking number in order for DMV to locate your Woosley refund claim record.  In addition, please explain the reason you are requesting a new check be issued, for example, my refund check was not received.

If the check has not been cashed, the DMV will stop payment on the original check and a replacement check will be issued.  If the check was cashed, the DMV will forward a copy of the front and back of the cancelled refund check to the claimant along with a letter of instruction.

Q: My bank will not cash my refund check because it is too old (stale dated).  What do I do?
A:Contact DMV in writing only at:

Department of Motor Vehicles
Woosley Refund Program MS D700
P.O. Box 825393
Sacramento, CA 94232-5393
and
Return the old check with your correspondence. Be sure to keep copies for your records.
When writing, please include the California license plate number or vehicle identification number (VIN) and/or claim tracking number in order for DMV to locate your Woosley refund claim record. 

Once the original check is received, a replacement check will be issued within 3-4 weeks.


Q: How do I record my address change so that I will get my refund check?
A: You must notify DMV in writing only at:

Department of Motor Vehicles
Woosley Refund Program MS D700
P.O. Box 825393
Sacramento, CA 94232-5393

Please provide your new address along with your California driver license number and old address for verification. You must also provide the California license plate number or vehicle identification number (VIN) and/or claim tracking number in order for DMV to locate your Woosley refund claim record.
NOTE: Please do not complete another refund claim form.
This address change only applies to the Woosley refund claims.
If you also need to change your address on your driver license and/or vehicle registration records you may complete an Online Change of Address or complete and sign a Notice of Address Change of Address (DMV 14) and mail to the address shown on the form. 


Q: Will interest be paid on the refunds?
A: Yes.  Interest will be paid to those who are entitled to a refund.  The interest rate is calculated at
7 percent per year from the year the transaction, which included the vehicle license fee overpayment, was completed through 2008. 

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Q: I do not agree with the reason my claim was denied.  What should I do?
A: Denial letters were mailed to claimants who did not qualify for a refund over the course of the court hearings.  The denial letters required a response be submitted within 35-days from the letter date to request additional information or clarification.  Since the court has made a final ruling of all claims processing criteria, the denial codes are final and no additional changes or reviews will be made.  The denial codes are as follows:


DENIAL CODE

DEFINITION

A01

During the period you owned the described vehicle, the vehicle license fee (VLF) was $1.00, the minimum allowed by law.  The VLF amount paid must be more than $1.00 to be eligible for refund.

A02

The described vehicle is a 1992 year model with no asterisk year notation.  Vehicles acquired after August 1, 1991, were assessed vehicle license fees on the same basis as California vehicles.

A03

The described vehicle is a 1993 year model or newer indicating it was acquired after 1991.  Vehicles acquired after August 1, 1991, were assessed vehicle license fees on the same basis as California vehicles.

A04

Our records indicate the described vehicle was never an out-of-state vehicle.  To be eligible for refund, the vehicle must have been previously registered out of state (nonresident).

A05

Of the eligible year(s) claimed for refund, the vehicle license fees (VLF) paid was/is less than or equal to the VLF assessed for California vehicles of the same make and year model.  If you claimed a refund of fees paid more than 3 years before the date of your claims, that is barred by the statute of limitations and is, therefore, denied.

A06

The vehicle license fees were not paid on the described vehicle for the eligible year(s) claims for refund.

A07

During the eligible year(s) claimed for refund the described vehicle is/was assigned a type license plate that is assessed a fixed vehicle license fee (VLF).  This is/was the same VLF assessed for California vehicles with this type of license plate.

A08

Our records indicate that you were not the owner of the described vehicle during the eligible year(s) claimed for refund.

A09

The refund claim is for a vehicle license fee paid more than three years prior to the claim date, making your refund ineligible per Revenue and Taxation Code (10901).

A10

Our records indicate the described vehicle was first acquired by you and/or your parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, or spouse on or after August 1, 1991.  Vehicles acquired on or after August 1, 1991, were assessed vehicle license fees on the same basis as California vehicles.

A11

This court case does not address the $300 Smog Impact Fee.  We have forwarded your refund request to the appropriate unit.

A12

Vehicles registered under the International Registration Plan (IRP) are not within the scope of this litigation.

A13

Our records indicate that you did not pay the fees for the eligible year(s) claimed for refund.

B01

The described passenger vehicle is a 1984 or newer year model and the Department of Motor Vehicles has concluded that you are the original owner.  The vehicle license fee on a 1984 or newer passenger is assessed the same as California vehicles when registered by the original owner.

B02

The Department of Motor Vehicles has concluded that you are or were the original owner of the described vehicle.  Vehicle license fees were/are assessed the same as a California vehicle.

B03

Required perjury statement on the refund claim for fees paid prior to 1996 was not completed and/or signed making prior year fees paid ineligible for refund.

B04

Multiple vehicles on a single claim form are not acceptable.

B05

The court approved a table for comparing California vehicle records against nonresident vehicle records based on make, model year, and vehicle identification number (VIN).  In order to be eligible for refund, the vehicle make, model year and VIN (1982 and newer model years) must match the vehicle records on the approved table.  Your vehicle's make, or model year or VIN or combination of make, year model and VIN were not listed on the table resulting in a denial of refund consideration.  In order for DMV to reconsider your refund claim, the make, year model and complete VIN must be provided by you.  If you can furnish all of this information, please clearly print the make, year model and complete VIN on a copy of this letter and return it to DMV at the address noted above.  Failure to provide all three pieces of information will result in a denial of your claim.

C01

There is no record of California registration for the described vehicle.

C02

Insufficient vehicle description was provided to identify the correct record in DMV's records. In order for DMV to reconsider your refund claim, the make, year model and complete VIN must be provided by you.  If you can furnish all of this information, please clearly print the make, year model and complete VIN on a copy of this letter and return it to DMV at the address noted above.  Failure to provide all three pieces of information will result in a denial of your claim.

C03

Your claim for reclassification of your vehicle under the "Woosley vs. State of California" lawsuit did not meet the criteria agreed to by the parties and approved by the court and therefore, the request for reclassification is denied.

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