Attorneys for 23-year-old Patricia Pimentel of Lawrence, Massachusetts have filed a class action lawsuit against the City of Methuen and Methuen’s police chief after Pimentel was charged with OUI in October 2014.
Howard Cooper, a partner with Todd and Weld said, “She actually operated a vehicle fleeing an abusive boyfriend and crashed into two cars after a night where she had been out with friends.”
Pimentel’s attorneys argue she was coerced into submitting to a breathalyzer test because of a form. It’s the Spanish translation of the Breathalyzer Advice of Rights form – and attorneys say there are serious factual inaccuracies.
Cooper said, “It misinforms the person arrested that a jury will hear about a breathalyzer test and a refusal to take it.”
He says it incorrectly states that the legal blood alcohol content limit is .10.
It’s actually .08.
“The problem appears to have been recognized in May 2013 and it’s expressly stated that the form is wrong, it violates the accused' rights,” said Cooper.
The letter shows it was the Essex County District Attorney’s office that recognized the mistake back in 2013, and they alerted Methuen police.
Joseph Cacace, an attorney with Todd and Weld, said, “There’s been no evidence provided at all by the city of Methuen that anything was done to correct it in fact the evidence is the opposite.”
A judge has allowed Pimental’s motion for a new trial, but attorneys believe there may be dozens more affected.
City Solicitor Richard J. D'Agostino said in a statement, "The City of Methuen has received Ms. Pimentel's civil Complaint. We are reviewing and preparing a legal response to her various allegations. The allegations and claims made by Ms. Pimental's attorneys are merely that: allegations and claims. The City intends to provide a vigorous defense against those claims in Court."
The district attorney's office says it is pulling cases with the outdated form so they can be reviewed further.