Minnesota Source Code Coalition Names Lead Counsel

Posted On November 05, 2009 by Charles Ramsay

Chuck Ramsay, Jeff Sheridan and Marsh Halberg have been named as lead counsel for the Minnesota Source Code Coalition. The three Minnesota attorneys have established themselves as leaders on the Minnesota DWI breath test issue. Ramsay obtained the source code in a federal lawsuit when he thwarted a Minnesota/CMI settlement which would have buried the software. Instead, he forced the state and CMI into providing unfettered access to the source code at the manufacturer's headquarters. Ramsay uncovered the secret "smoking gun" and "inferno" internal emails. Sheridan prevailed at the Minnesota Supreme Court in the Underdahl case opening the door to the source code issue. Halberg has been instrumental in organizing the defense bar and leading the coalition and also submitted valuable memoranda on behalf of the MSCJ in the federal case.

Lead counsel is appointed when multiple parties share sufficient common interests so that one attorney may represent them as a group, without conflict, on substantive matters. Typically, when a number of attorneys are appointed as co-lead counsel, each is charged with a particular specialty. Commonly, lead counsel will be appointed to head the trial team, for expert discovery, for factual discovery and for briefing.

The lead counsel is expected to speak at the first scheduled hearing on November 4, 2009 to review the status of numerous Source Code cases pending within the First District. I first discussed this mass hearing in a previous blog entitled Mass Source Code Scheduling Conference for Implied Consent and Criminal Matters set by the First Judicial District Court of Minnesota.

A letter from the MSCJ Source Code Coalition regarding the Source Code Status Conference has been sent to Judge Abrams which details the steps MSCJ has undertaken in order to handle the analysis of the Source Code at CMI headquarters in Kentucky. In addition to announcing lead counsel, the Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice (MSCJ) has also retained Computer Forensic Services, Inc. (CFS) of Minnetonka to evaluate the Intoxilyzer 5000EN in use by the State of Minnesota. This letter also gives an outline as to how MSCJ will analyze the Source Code in compliance with Judge Frank's Order.

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