The City of Shreveport was dealt a major blow yesterday when a judge ruled against it in a class action lawsuit. Caddo District Judge Mike Pitman ruled against the City of Shreveport in class action lawsuit in relation to illegally collected tax money.

The judge has ruled that the City must pay back an estimated 2.5 million dollars in illegally collected taxes. The taxes were collected from commercial water and sewer customers between 2015 and 2018. Originally, the sales tax was levied on quantity of water used, along with sewer usage and other non-water consumption. But the state dropped all but the water usage tax in July 2015. The City of Shreveport, however, continued to collect that tax.

The city claimed that the illegal taxation was inadvertent, the lawsuit claims that the city “knowingly and intentionally overcharged its commercial and industrial water customers.”

The class action lawsuit was filed by local attorney Jerry Harper in August of last year after then Mayor Ollie Tyler did not readily and publicly admit to the overcharge and advise customers they would be refunded. Harper claims the city was notified of the overcharging of customers multiple times but leadership took no action.

The court says it could take several months to calculate how much the city will have to pay back, but estimates put the total near 2.5 million dollars.

Another lawsuit related to improperly billing customers is also working its way through the legal system.