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9/20/2010
DAY FIVE: OOIDA v. Minnesota State Patrol

The legal counsel for state of Minnesota kicked off the fifth day of the trial in the case of OOIDA v. the Minnesota State Patrol by saying the state wanted to settle the case.

Attorney Thomas Vasaly indicated that the state was willing to even go so far as to retrain all 120 inspectors if Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association and OOIDA member plaintiff Stephen K. House would agree to a settlement.

OOIDA’s lead legal counsel, Paul Cullen Sr., indicated the Association is not interested in settling the case because Minnesota still needed to “lay its cards on the table.”

Cullen Sr. and his legal team of Paul Cullen Jr. and Dan Cohen of The Cullen Law Firm spent the first four days of the trial determining the extent to which the Minnesota State Patrol still engaged in any sort of fatigue enforcement against commercial drivers.

Despite an e-mail, a memo and an order directing members of the state patrol to no longer use the “fatigue checklist” when conducting driver interviews, it was revealed during cross-examination of two of the defendants last Wednesday that while the actual checklist may not be used, items on the list were still considered and noted on reports.

As of Monday morning, OOIDA’s legal team was still waiting on a list of witnesses the state was planning on calling.

Without a clear look at Minnesota’s case, OOIDA’s legal counsel opted to continue with the trial, calling defendant Doug Thooft to the stand for questioning with plans to later call Maj. Kent O’Grady.

The trial is expected to conclude this week with oral arguments. The parties then have two weeks to submit written arguments to the judge – who has said he will rule within 30 days of receiving the written arguments.

 – By Land Line staff

Editor’s note: Land Line Magazine will provide daily updates throughout the course of the trial. Updates will also air nightly on Land Line Now on Sirius 147, XM 171.

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