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ACLU of DE to represent woman whose vanity plate was recalled by Delaware DMV

thumbnail_Overington License Plate - ACLUDE.jpg
ACLU of Delaware
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ACLU of Delaware
Kari Overington holding up her "FCANCER" license plate that was recalled by the state DMV after it approved the vanity plate.

The ACLU of Delaware is stepping in to represent a Milton woman whose anti-cancer vanity plate was recalled by the state Department of Motor Vehicles.

The ACLU of Delaware will represent Kari Overington free of charge in her lawsuit against the state. She had been representing herself.

Overington – a cancer survivor – had her vanity license plate “FCANCER” to fight cancer approved after applying for it in December 2020, and it was then recalled in June 2021.

According to the ACLU, Overington received a letter from the Delaware DMV saying the plate “does not represent the division or the state in a positive manner.”

She filed her lawsuit later in 2021 after failed attempts to convince state officials to allow her to continue using the license plate. A federal judge recently rejected the state’s motion to dismiss the case.

Mike Brickner is the Executive Director of the ACLU of Delaware.

"We're concerned that her plate getting recalled was done in sort of an arbitrary, subjective way, and I think what's interesting is since she's filed this lawsuit and since we've stepped into represent her, we've heard from other Delawareans who have had similar experiences,” said Brickner. “And I think that again that just speaks to how subjective and arbitrary this whole system is."

Brickner says the DMV overstepped its bounds in this case.

"This is a message that's important to her, and whether or not it's objectionable is really in the eye of the beholder and that should not be the state's job to decide what is objectionable and what isn't," said Brickner.

Brickner notes in litigation one goal is to find out how the decision was made to recall the license plate after it was approved, and what kind of due process someone has in cases like this.

Brickner adds the next step is to file a new complaint laying out all of the reasons for fighting the recall of the license plate.

Joe brings over 20 years of experience in news and radio to Delaware Public Media and the All Things Considered host position. He joined DPM in November 2019 as a reporter and fill-in ATC host after six years as a reporter and anchor at commercial radio stations in New Castle and Sussex Counties.