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GILLES v. TOUCHSTONE

December 18, 1987

Gerard J. Gilles, Plaintiff
v.
John E. Touchstone, et al., Defendants



The opinion of the court was delivered by: HOGAN

 Thomas F. Hogan, United States District Judge.

 The above-captioned case was scheduled to go to trial on November 12, 1987. On the date of trial, defendants renewed their motion for summary judgment. In consideration of defendants' motion, plaintiff's opposition thereto, the trial briefs submitted by the parties, the stipulated facts in the pretrial brief, the supplemental stipulated facts submitted by the parties on the day of trial, the case law, and the entire record of the case, the Court rendered a bench opinion granting defendants' motion for summary judgment. At the time of the bench opinion, the Court indicated that it would issue a written opinion detailing the grounds for granting defendants' motion for summary judgment. Accordingly, the following opinion is issued setting forth the grounds for the Court's entry of summary judgment in favor of the defendants.

 BACKGROUND

 Plaintiff, a taxi cab driver, alleges that an inaccurately maintained driver's license record violated his rights under the fifth amendment. The facts and procedure underlying this case are convoluted, to say the least. The parties, however, submitted stipulated facts that greatly assisted the Court in determining the sequence of events that gave rise to plaintiff's claim. The District of Columbia Bureau of Motor Vehicle Services (BMVS) compiled an inaccurate driver's record showing that plaintiff had a number of points which he, in fact, did not possess. Stipulated Facts (SF) para. a. On April 26, 1984 plaintiff appeared at a hearing before the Bureau of Traffic Adjudication for four moving violations. SF para. c. The Bureau found plaintiff liable for two of the violations and continued the other violations. Id. On April 26, 1984, the plaintiff was issued an official notice of proposed suspension. SF para. d. On April 27, 1984, plaintiff requested a hearing on the proposed suspension. SF para. e. On the same day the BMVS issued plaintiff a proposed notice of revocation based on the fact that plaintiff's driving record showed 44 points on his license and notified plaintiff that a hearing would be held on plaintiff's driver's license on May 18, 1984. SF paras. f, g. The hearing, at which plaintiff was present, was conducted on May 18, 1984 by Hearing Examiner Donovan L. Gay. Supplemental Stipulated Facts para. 1 (SSF). At the hearing plaintiff contended that his driver's record was inaccurate. Id. Hearing Examiner Gay revoked plaintiff's license on the same day as the hearing. SSF para. 2. Plaintiff did not exercise his right to appeal Gay's decision to the Director, Department of Public Works and then, if still unsatisfied with the decision, to the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. SSF para. 2. *fn1" On May 22, 1984, plaintiff was issued a restricted driver's license authorizing plaintiff to operate his taxicab Monday through Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. SF para. i. Again, plaintiff did not appeal the issuance of the restricted driver's license.

 Plaintiff also appeared in separate proceedings before the Hacker's License Appeal Board held on April 26, 1984 to address complaints filed against plaintiff by passengers. SSF para. 3. The Hackers' Board issued orders finding that plaintiff had overcharged his passengers and behaved rudely toward them in violation of the hackers' regulations, Title 15 DCMR ยงยง 350.3, 305.1. SSF para. 3. The Hackers' Board fined plaintiff $ 600 and revoked plaintiff's hacker's identification card, also known as his "face." Plaintiff did appeal the Hackers' Board's decision to the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. *fn2" The Court of Appeals remanded the case to the Hackers' Board for reconsideration. On August 14, 1984 the Hackers' Board, upon reconsideration, revoked plaintiff's hacker's identification card for nine months and imposed a $ 300 fine in light of plaintiff's history of similar violations. Plaintiff had a right to appeal this decision to the District of Columbia Court of Appeals that plaintiff did not exercise. SSF para. 3.

 On February 25, 1985, plaintiff requested the Board to shorten the period of revocation of his hacker's identification card from nine to six months. On March 14, 1985 the Hackers' Board, after holding a hearing on plaintiff's request that the Board shorten the revocation period, denied the request. Plaintiff had the right to appeal, and again, plaintiff did not exercise his appeal right. SSF para. 3.

 Ultimately, the 44 points that erroneously were entered upon plaintiff's record were removed and by August 1, 1985, plaintiff's driving record had been corrected. SSF para. 5. *fn3"

 PROCEEDINGS BEFORE THIS COURT

 Plaintiff asserts a property interest in the continued use of a properly maintained driver's record. Plaintiff alleges that defendant Ware violated plaintiff's due process rights under the fifth amendment because Ware allegedly created and maintained an inaccurate driver's record for plaintiff. The administrative agencies allegedly then relied upon the inaccurate record in their decisions regarding plaintiff's driver's license and hacker's license. It is important to note that neither the administrative agencies nor the administrators involved in the hearings are before the Court. The Court is dealing solely with the supervisor of the bureau responsible for physically entering the assessed points onto the driver's record. Plaintiff maintains that by incorrectly entering the points the individual defendant violated plaintiff's constitutional rights to a fair trial.

 DISCUSSION

 Procedural due process requires that a fair hearing be held prior to permanent suspension of a driver's license. Bell v. Burson, 402 U.S. 535, 29 L. Ed. 2d 90, 91 S. Ct. 1586 (1971); Quick v. Department of Motor Vehicles, 331 A.2d 319, 321 (D.C. 1975). An agency does not deny a driver due process by failing to show the driver a computer printout of his driver's record as long as the agency conducting the hearing informs the individual of the record before the agency and gives the individual an opportunity to contest the record before the agency. See Carpenter v. District of Columbia Traffic Adjudication Appeal Board, 530 A.2d 680, 681 (D.C. 1987). The plaintiff was given an opportunity to contest the information on which the administrative agencies relied. Thus, as to the allegation that the administrative agency violated his due process rights, plaintiff was not denied due process.

 Furthermore, plaintiff's assertion that the administrative agencies committed errors by relying on an inaccurate driver's record fails to state a violation of due process. The fifth amendment protects against deprivation of property without due process of law. The United States Supreme Court has addressed the issue of what process is due a person when an employee of a state negligently takes an individual's property. See Parratt v. Taylor, 451 U.S. 527, 101 S. Ct. 1908, 68 L. Ed. 2d 420 (1981). The Supreme Court held that as long as the state provides an adequate state remedy to redress and compensate individuals deprived of property by state employees acting under the color of state law, due process is satisfied. Id. at 543-44. An individual may challenge the adequacy of the state remedy as violative of due process. Id. However, the challenge of the state remedy is wholly apart from a challenge to the action of state employee ...


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