Truckers are winning
in Gary Ring et al. v. Louisiana Department of Transportation & Development
(DOTD) Weights & Standards (W&S), according to attorneys for Ring
and others "similar situated." Judge Curtis Calloway, 19th Judicial
District, Parish of East Baton Rouge, granted a partial summary judgment,
Monday, Dec. 3, 2001, declaring LSA-RS 32:389 unconstitutional.
LSA-RS 32:389 gives LaDOTD
W&S police certain enforcement authority with specific payment and collection
procedures for handling citations. Judge Calloway also found that the procedure
used by DOTD violated the Administrative Procedures Act.
The lawsuit, filed March
8, 2001, says LaDOTD and W&S denied Ring and other truckers their constitutional
right to due process for citations issued by LaDOTD's W&S officers. Out-of-state
truckers, like Ring, were compelled to pay the fines on the spot or risk being
jailed and their equipment seized.
"I would now suggest
that any additional fees/penalties collected by DOTD are now barred,"
said Madro Banderies, one of four attorneys handling the case for Ring and
"We are in the process
of calculating how much in dollar amounts DOTD has collected in the past.
Some estimates are as high as $50 million," Banderies said. "This
judgment is a victory for every trucker who has been the victim of DOTD with
the credit going to Gary Ring, who at great personal cost, decided to fight
DOTD's violation of his due process rights and his equal protection rights."
Banderies and his colleagues
set up a toll-free hotline and have received calls from more than 400 truckers
also cited by LaDOTD W&S. Drivers who received these types of citations
in Louisiana can call the hotline at 1-866-655-8236.
By Rene Tankersley