by Rene Tankersley, feature editor
Louisiana Weights & Standards officers who cited OOIDA member Gary Ring at the Toomey weigh station last March, were among the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development officials deposed July 23 by attorneys in the lawsuit against LaDOTD.
"We have concluded the majority of our depositions of state employees and are pleased with the results," said Madro Banderies, one of Ring's attorneys. "After concluding the depositions of 11 state employees, we are strongly convinced that not only was Gary's right to a hearing violated," Banderies said, "Gary should never have been given the ticket to start with. We base this comment on the evidence that shows the DOTD employee who wrote the ticket did not see the event, that Gary never passed the scales, and further that the ticket was written on the orders of a deputy sheriff, who in his own statement, never claimed that Gary passed the scales."
A deposition is when an individual, in this case, the state employees responsible for Gary Ring's ticket, as well as the DOTD staff responsible for the so-called review, is asked questions under oath, and before a court reporter. The court reporter then provides a written transcript of the questions asked and the answers.
The class action lawsuit resulted from a W&S citation issued to Ring on March 9, 2000, at the Interstate 10 scales near Toomey. Ring was cited for allegedly bypassing the scales and fined $2,000, which he was ordered to pay on the spot or go to jail. In addition to maintaining his innocence, Ring is suing the LaDOTD and its division of Weights and Standards (W&S) for violating his and other truckers' constitutional rights to due process.
Attorneys for LaDOTD and the State of Louisiana deposed Gary Ring and his wife Lori Aug. 11. Banderies says the Rings were very good witnesses for the class action case.
"We feel confident Gary Ring will be recognized by the court as an adequate class representative," Banderies said. "Not only has Gary been able to get the word out over numerous radio stations and magazines, he has the full support of OOIDA and its well-known magazine, which reaches almost 200,000 readers per issue. We received calls from more than 400 truckers."
Next, the Ring's attorneys expect to file some procedural motions in court, as well as gather additional evidence to determine exactly how much money LaDOTD collected.
"Apparently, DOTD has been collecting up to $10 million per year from truckers in similar situations to Gary Ring," Banderies said. "As the case progresses, we will have more definite figures."
Banderies and the legal team have set up a toll-free hotline for taking calls from drivers who received these citations from W&S in Louisiana. Drivers with these types of citations should call 1-866-655-8236.