NBC Boston aired a report on the firm's federal class action against the City of Methuen, Methuen's police chief, and several police officers for using a factually inaccurate and coercive OUI form translated into Spanish.
Among other things, the form misinforms an individual arrested for OUI that a jury will hear evidence about the individual’s refusal to take a Breathalyzer test. The form also incorrectly states that the legal blood alcohol limit is .10, when it's .08.
The firm's client was charged with OUI in 2014 following an evening spent with friends. While fleeing an abusive boyfriend, she crashed into two parked cars, said Howard M. Cooper in the news report. Mr. Cooper, a Founding Partner of Todd &Weld LLP who is handling the class action with Joseph M. Cacace of the firm, said the form is unlawfully coercive
As alleged in the lawsuit, the Methuen Police Department was advised in 2013 by the Essex County District Attorney's office that the form contained mistakes and as a result violated the rights of individuals accused of driving under the influence. However, there is no evidence that Methuen did anything to correct the form, Mr. Cacace told NBC Boston.
The class action requests the court to appoint a special master to oversee Methuen in identifying all individuals potentially affected by the form, and notifying them that they have the opportunity to vacate their OUI plea or seek a new trial, followed by individual damages trials for all affected individuals.
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