Red Alert: Really big IRP problem
This is not a drill!
It’s been a while since we issued a red alert, so pay close attention. We’re not messing around here – this is very important. The BC Government is entering damage control because they now know thousands of people who have received IRPs in the last 4 years had a defence that wasn’t disclosed to them. This is a really big IRP problem – colossal in fact. Everyone who ever received an IRP needs to know about it. Tell your friends…
The really big IRP problem
We recognized a significant problem that, had it been disclosed, would provide a defence to a huge number of 90-day IRPs issued over the last 4 years. And it was kept in the shadows until we (the lawyers in our office) figured it out.
The Government knows about it and we have been taking steps to deal with it. As we’ve said in the past, we can’t tell everyone about everything for tactical reasons.
For the Government this is catastrophic. Things will unfold over the coming months that will shake the entire IRP scheme and trigger a tsunami of court cases.
They know it’s coming. And they’re trying to minimize the damage right now by changing the IRP scheme.
Damage control nightmare in Victoria
The Government’s biggest nightmare is the fact that thousands of people could have succeeded on their IRP if only the police had released this information. We’re talking about secret disclosure that nobody put together but us, and we only managed to do it through freakishly extraordinary efforts. The secret disclosure applies to the following IRP sufferers in the following manner:
1. People who disputed their 90-day IRP:
This applies to anyone who blew Fail or tried to blow and were alleged to refuse. In this case, we figure that there is about a 80% chance that you fall in the group who would have been affected by the secret disclosure. If you challenged your IRP and lost, then you should be entitled to a new hearing. This disclosure was material to your IRP defence but it was withheld from the public or not available at the time of your hearing. It is new evidence. It should entitle you to a new hearing.
Don’t panic because there is nothing you need to do today. You disputed your IRP, meaning that you contested the IRP from the start on the basis of the information available to you, and with this new evidence we think you should be entitled to a new hearing.
2. People who DID NOT dispute their 90-day IRP:
People in this category are the ones who need to know about this Red Alert as soon as possible. This is urgent. If you did not dispute your Fail or alleged refusal 90-day IRP, we recommend that you panic.
Today we received three letters from the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles addressed to Kyla and Paul. This is what they wrote to us:
December 12, 2014
Reference No. 506235
Dear Legal Counsel:
I write to inform you of an impending change to RoadSafetyBC policy concerning the Immediate Roadside Prohibition (IRP) program. Effective January 12, 2015, RoadSafetyBC will no longer accept applications for extension of the 7-day window to apply for an IRP review (Segers applications). RoadSafetyBC will continue to review Segers applications filed prior to January 12, 2015.
The Motor Vehicle Act does not require RoadSafetyBC to accept review applications beyond 7 days from the date of the prohibition. This policy change does not affect the process surrounding Segers applications for Administrative Driving Prohibitions.
Superintendent of Motor Vehicles
If you want to see the actual letter, click here.
What the letter means is this: the Government now realizes that tens of thousands of people could have succeeded on their IRP appeal going back to 2010 if they had only applied for review of their IRP.
As we lamented in previous posts, very few people appeal their IRP despite the fact that hundreds of innocent people receive IRPs every month. If documents had been available or disclosed to you or made public that show that you would have had a good defence to you 90-day IRP, would you have fought it? Darn right you would.
The Government knows that thousands of people would have disputed their IRP within the 7-day window if only they had known about the secret disclosure. Pretty much everyone would have disputed their 90-day IRP who had this defence.
When the Big IRP problem becomes public knowledge
The Big IRP problem will become public knowledge within a few months. The Government may acknowledge it by the end of January 2015. What will they do with the thousands (maybe 40,000?) people who should have been able to challenge their IRP on the basis of this evidence, had it been disclosed?
They don’t want people to have a remedy. They don’t want to allow people who received 90-day IRPs and who missed the 7-day window to be able to apply for review. So to defeat these people off the start, they are taking the active step to say that they can’t challenge the 7-day time limit. They are trying to reduce the damage — damage control, but trying to shut down anyone who didn’t file within the 7-days. That’s the reason for the letter.
The letters arrived on the December 18. They are dated December 12. It does not take 6 days for a letter to arrive in Vancouver when posted in Victoria. Letters posted take one day to get to Vancouver from Victoria. The letters have a Government post mark, so there is no date stamp on the envelope. This is a common problem we see with RoadSafetyBC.
The letters were mailed (not faxed) right before Christmas. They give a deadline date right after Christmas. This is a common litigation trick. Some lawyers file things right around the holidays because they know everyone will be off guard or away on holidays, or not thinking about the implications of the correspondence.
We’re ready to take this on
We’re ready this. We figured something like this was coming so we’ve been planning and putting things in place to deal with it. We have two new support staff in addition to Tavneet, Debbie and Ting Ting. All of our lawyers and articled students are ready to go. We’ll bring in more lawyers if necessary.
And the Government should know: we’re gonna sue.
But the most important thing right now is the January 12, 2015, deadline. For people who didn’t dispute their IRP, the Government is claiming that this is an absolute deadline to apply for permission to file beyond the 7-day window. Meaning you’ve got about 3 weeks to get in your application.
Emergency: what you need to do
Everyone who missed the 7-days to file to review a 90-day IRP must act NOW. We mean NOW!
As we said, we figure 80% of all IRP sufferers could have had this defence if they only knew about the secret evidence. If you received an IRP and you didn’t defend it, the Government is holding open the window for one last chance to apply for review. They say that they’re closing the window on January 12, 2015. So you have almost no time. And you need to call us now.
What we are doing
1.) In order to determine if any particular person falls in this category, we need to see their IRP disclosure. So for each person who hires us to do this, we will request the documents and look at them to see if they fall into the group.
2.) If they fall into the group, we will write to make a Segers application seeking an extension of the 7-day window to file for review of the IRP. If we lose, we will appeal to BC Supreme Court in one case which we will select to be the lead case.
Our fees are cheap overall (because we work fast and smart) but we’re still going to significantly reduce our fees for this because we want to help as many people as we can, we want to challenge the Government on this move and because each letter to RoadSafetyBC will be similar.
We’re doing this on the cheap folks. It’s another thing that we do because we feel we are morally obliged to challenge the IRP law.
The steps required are:
- We need to be hired. That’s easy. Just give us a call.
- We need to get the IRP disclosure from RoadSafetyBC. We do this by fax. We have learned that the Government has a dedicated fax machine for our office because we sent them so much (so they better fill it with paper because many more faxes are coming).
- We need to review the disclosure. That requires a lawyer. Either Kyla or Paul will look at it to see it the client is in the 80% group.
- We need to write to RoadSafetyBC. We will have one of our articled students write the letter. Part of the letter will be boiler plate, and part will need to cover specific issues concerning the client. Our articled students are geared up to deal with this. And because it’s so much work, the only way to do it is to break down the tasks in such a manner.
The sneaky deadline of January 12, 2015, is one we must do everything possible to meet. The Government intends to rely on that deadline to disqualify as many people as possible from a remedy.
If they reject the Segers applications, again we will sue in a test case. If they allow the Segers applications, then all of the people in the group should be able to apply for a review of their IRP and then rely on the undisclosed evidence.
Who can do this?
We are the only lawyers in the position to run this argument. We’re the holders of the undisclosed evidence. We’ve been using it for several months now to defend IRPs for our clients.
The Government has been in a tizzy trying to figure out how to deal with it. The problem undermines the entire IRP scheme and validates almost every prediction and concern we (the lawyers in our firm) identified with the law over the last 54 months.
The elephant is in the room. No one can ignore it.
What about lawsuits?
We expect that there will be many. We feel that this is the best cause of action for a class-action lawsuit so far.
We figured this out. We’re going to do what’s necessary to deal with it.
Now, the Red Alert:
Tell everyone you know who received a 90-day IRP and who did not dispute it to call us NOW.
Time is of the essence. We won’t have time to chat, but we should have time to help everyone who calls.
Of course, the people who work at RoadSafetyBC read our blog. Many Government lawyers read our blog. They may change tactics in response to what we’ve posted here. This is similar to Werner Karl Heisenberg’s theory of observer effect in application to the uncertainty principle. Regardless, we need to make this public because it’s in the public interest to know what’s going on.