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ACLU Announces Settlement of Random Drug Testing Case


August 7, 2002

The American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado (ACLU) announced the settlement today of a lawsuit filed in 2000 to challenge a Colorado rule that required kennel workers in the Greyhound racing industry to submit samples of their urine to be tested for drugs.


The settlement came after Colorado officials rescinded the challenged policy, which permitted state officials to demand the urine samples on a random basis, without any suspicion that the individuals to be tested had been using drugs.


According to the ACLU, such random drug testing violates the Fourth Amendment's ban on unreasonable searches and seizures, because it requires innocent workers to submit to a search of their urine when there are no facts to warrant any suspicion that they are illegally using drugs.


The lawsuit was filed in Denver District Court on behalf of Cynthia and Gary Timm, who worked under state-issued licenses to train and raise Greyhounds at kennels located at Colorado racetracks. After Colorado adopted the random drug testing policy in 1999, Cynthia Timm lost her license because she refused to provide a urine sample. In order to continue working, Gary Timm provided urine samples under duress, the lawsuit said.


In addition to rescinding the challenged policy, Colorado officials restored Cynthia Timm's license and placed a letter in her file explaining that she was never suspected of using drugs.


The settlement came after the ACLU won a victory in the case in the Colorado Court of Appeals. In a ruling issued last December, the appeals court reversed the lower court's decision to dismiss the ACLU lawsuit. The Court of Appeals held that the State of Colorado had not provided sufficient justification for the random drug testing of Greyhound kennel workers.


"Although the appellate court did not rule that this particular drug testing policy was unconstitutional, Colorado officials recognized that they would have a hard time justifying the policy under the legal standard announcd by the Court of Appeals," said Mark Silverstein, ACLU Legal Director. "To their credit, Colorado officials did the right thing after the appellate court decision. By rescinding the drug testing policy and restoring our client's license, they helped bring this litigation quickly to a just conclusion."


Defendants in the case, Timm v. Reitz, included David Reitz, Director of the Division of Racing Events of the Colorado Department of Revenue, as well as the five members of the Colorado Racing Commission.

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