Dartmouth Woman Allegedly Shackled While Pregnant After RMV Error
DARTMOUTH — A Dartmouth woman who claims she was held in jail for several hours due to a Registry of Motor Vehicles "glitch" has dropped her lawsuit against the state's Department of Transportation — but not against the town of Dartmouth.
The lawsuit, filed with Bristol County Superior Court in August 2020, claims that Cristina Malott was driving home in January 2019 when she was pulled over for allegedly speeding.
According to the complaint, shortly after Malott handed over her license and registration, she was told that her license was suspended.
She was arrested, booked, and taken to Ash Street jail, and her car was towed, although she maintained that her license was not suspended and there must have been an error.
Malott — who was pregnant at the time — alleges she told the officers about her condition.
But she claimed in the lawsuit that she still spent over an hour in ankle shackles handcuffed to a bench, and was left in a cell that was "covered in feces" for several hours before her release.
According to the lawsuit, the case against her was dismissed later that day — and Malott found out from the RMV that her license was not, in fact, suspended.
She claims in the complaint she was told by an RMV agent that "there must have been a glitch in the computer system."
In a response filed with the court on March 10, the town of Dartmouth denied nearly all of the allegations in Malott's complaint.
Malott is suing the town for damages and costs associated with her evening in jail, including physical and emotional distress and the cost of medical bills for a hospital visit due to symptoms she suffered during the incident.
Another lawsuit she took out against the Massachusetts Department of Transportation at the same time was dropped in late October.
The plaintiff's lawyer declined to comment, as did the town and a spokesperson for the Dartmouth Police Department.