Friday, September 23, 2011

Federal suit claiming Naperville pads DUI arrests settled

Federal suit claiming Naperville pads DUI arrests settled

The City of Naperville has settled a federal lawsuit that alleged its police department made a false DUI arrest in order to bolster its arrests numbers for the crime.
Assistant City Attorney Mark Scarloto said the city made a $10,000 offer of judgment in the case brought by David Briddle, a Glen Ellyn man who was pulled over in May 2010 and later arrested for DUI. Briddle blew a 0.0 blood alcohol content reading at the police station, and was later released and never charged. The suit was filed against the city and the arresting officers.
The suit claimed false arrest as well as defamation, after a suburban newspaper reported Briddle was charged with DUI. The newspaper was not a part of the lawsuit.
Briddle’s attorney, Kathleen Zellner, claimed the police department made the arrest in order to pad its DUI arrest numbers, which it is recognized for annually. In 2010, Naperville ranked second in cities outside Chicago with the highest DUI arrest count.
The city paid $10,000 to settle the suit, which came as an offer of judgment, according to Scarloto. An offer of judgment in a federal case can be made by a defendant at the beginning of proceedings. If the offer ends up being higher at the end of the trial than what a judge awards to the plaintiff, the plaintiff’s attorney cannot be awarded legal fees.
Scarloto also said no disciplinary action has been taken against officers for the arrest, and that all legal procedures and rules were followed during the incident. He said the department believes the breathalyzer was not working properly that night.
According to a police report, Briddle did admit to drinking four to five beers that evening, and also had a wine glass and another drink glass in his car that he attempted to hide from officers.
“I think it turned out fairly,” Zellner said, declining to comment on specifics of the case. “We’re fine with it, otherwise we wouldn’t have settled.”

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