United States District Court, District of Columbia
OWNER-OPERATOR INDEPENDENT DRIVERS ASSOCIATION, INC., et al., Plaintiffs,
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, et al., Defendants.
Beryl A. Howell, United States District Judge
plaintiffs, Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association,
Inc. ("OOIDA"), which is an organization that
represents professional truck drivers and small business
trucking companies, and five of its individual members, who
are commercial truck drivers, brought this lawsuit against
the defendants, the United States Department of
Transportation ("DOT"), Anthony Foxx,
his official capacity as Secretary of the DOT
("Secretary"), the FMCSA, and Anne S. Ferro, in her
official capacity as Administrator of the FMCSA
(collectively, "DOT" or "defendants"), in
an effort to protect against the dissemination to potential
employers of information in a federal database about state
citations issued against them that were dismissed or resolved
in their favor. Pending before the Court are three motions:
the plaintiffs' Motion for Leave to Conduct Discovery,
ECF No. 53, and cross-motions for summary judgment filed by
the parties, Defs.' Mot. Summ. J., ECF No. 60; Pls.'
Cross-Mot. Summ. J., ECF No. 64. For the reasons set forth
below, the plaintiffs fail to allege or demonstrate any harm
as a result of the defendants' actions, and as such, they
have not shown an injury in fact sufficient to support
standing. The Court therefore lacks subject-matter
jurisdiction over this case, which it must dismiss.
legal framework governing consideration of the pending
motions is addressed first before turning to the factual
allegations underlying the plaintiffs' complaint and the
procedural history of this matter.
Statutory and Regulatory Framework
Federal Motor Safety Administration ("FMCSA") was
created by the Congress as "an administration of the
Department of Transportation" and tasked with giving
"the highest priority" to carrying out
congressional intent in "the furtherance of the highest
degree of safety in motor carrier transportation." 49
U.S.C. § 113(a)-(b). As part of this statutory mandate,
the FMCSA maintains the Motor Carrier Management Information
System ("MCMIS"), a database containing information
on commercial truck drivers' safety records, which
includes "accident reports and other safety
violations." See Weaver v. FMCSA, 744 F.3d 142,
143 (D.C. Cir. 2014) (discussing creation of MCMIS). The
states serve as the primary collectors and reporters to FMCSA
of the data contained in the MCMIS, and are required to
ensure that this data is "accurate, complete, and timely
motor carrier safety data." 49 U.S.C. §
31102(b)(2)(Q)(i). DOT is ultimately responsible for
"ensur[ing], to the maximum extent practical, all the
data is complete, timely and accurate, " id.
§ 31106(a)(3)(F), and "prescribing] technical and
operational standards to ensure uniform, timely, and accurate
information collection and reporting by the States, "
id. § 31106(a)(4)(A).
FMCSA is statutorily required to make certain information
contained in the MCMIS electronically available to potential
employers of commercial drivers for preemployment screening,
namely: "(1) Commercial motor vehicle accident
reports[;] (2) Inspection reports that contain no
driver-related safety violations[; and] (3) Serious
driver-related safety violation inspection reports."
Id. § 31150(a). This access is to be provided
to assist "in assessing an individual operator's
crash and serious safety violation inspection history as a
preemployment condition" and "may only be used
during the preemployment assessment of an
operator-applicant." Id. § 31150(c). The
law requires that the MCMIS be operated in a manner ensuring
dissemination "in accordance with the Fair Credit
Reporting Act [("FCRA")] (15 U.S.C. 1681 et
seq.) and all other applicable Federal law."
Id. § 31150(b)(1). In addition, FMCSA must
"provide a procedure for the operator-applicant to
correct inaccurate information in the System in a timely
manner." Id. § 31150(b)(4). FMCSA has
implemented the preemployment screening access through a
program known as the Pre-Employment Screening Program
("PSP"). Admin. Record ("AR") 25.
meet the statutory mandate of providing a correction
mechanism" for violation reports stored in the MCMIS,
"FMCSA established 'DataQs, ' a web-based
dispute resolution procedure that allows an individual to
challenge data maintained by FMCSA." Weaver,
744 F.3d at 143 (internal quotation marks omitted); see
also Silverado Stages, Inc. v. FMCSA, 809 F.3d 1268,
1271 (D.C. Cir. 2016) (describing DataQs). When a challenge
is made to a reported safety violation by a driver, the FMCSA
forwards it to the issuing state and "state officials
also decide how to respond when a driver challenges a
citation's inclusion in the database."
Weaver, 744 F.3d at 143. FMCSA is not authorized to
direct a State to change or alter MCMIS data for violations
or inspections originating within a particular State.
Id. at 143-44. "Once a State office makes a
determination on the validity of a challenge, " the
FMCSA is bound by the state reporting as the "final
resolution of the challenge." Id. at 144.
2014, after this case was initially filed, the FMCSA adopted
a significant change to the DataQs system. Under the new
system, the MCMIS allows inclusion of adjudicated citation
results associated with violations documented during an
inspection. Motor Carrier Management Information System
(MCMIS) Changes to Improve Uniformity in the Treatment of
Inspection Violation Data, 79 Fed. Reg. 32, 491 (Jun. 5,
2014) ("2014 Interpretative Rule and Statement of
Policy"). Prior to this rule, MCMIS included only
inspection and violation data from the initial inspection
report, and did not have a field in which to enter the result
of an adjudicated citation. Id
March 2010 and February 2013, five professional truck
drivers, Brian E. Kelley, Robert Lohmeier, Klint L. Mowrer,
J. Mark Moody, and Fred Weaver, Jr. (collectively, the
"individual plaintiffs"), each received one or more
citations from state law enforcement authorities for having
allegedly violating safety regulations while driving.
See AR at 23-24 (Mowrer), 30 (Lohmeier), 120
(Kelley), 125 (Weaver), 180-181 (Moody). The individual
plaintiffs successfully challenged these citations in state
court: the cases against Kelley, Lohmeier, Moody and Weaver
were ultimately dismissed, Am. Compl. ¶ 120, ECF No. 35
(Moody); AR at 119 (Kelley), 144 (Lohmeier), 256
(Weaver), and Mowrer was found not guilty after a trial, AR
at 132. Subsequently, all the plaintiffs but Moody requested
through DataQs the removal of the violation reports related
to these citations in the MCMIS. See AR at 116-17
(Kelley), 122-23 (Lohmeier), 133 (Mowrer), 249-50 (Weaver).
In each case, the intervening state authority rejected the
request because the MCMIS system at the time did not display
adjudicatory outcomes, only that an initial citation was
letter dated July 8, 2011, OOIDA wrote to the FMCSA's
Administrator on behalf of Kelley, Lohmeier and Mowrer,
asking that the violation reports corresponding to the
successfully challenged citations "be removed from all
FMCSA databases." Id. at 126-29. Consistent
with the statutory and regulatory requirement making the
states the final arbiters of MCMIS information, the
FMCSA's Administrator forwarded the requests to the
appropriate state authorities. Id. at 174-77. The
challenges were again rejected by the respective states for
each plaintiff, and the FMSCA's Administrator reported
these rejections to OOIDA, noting that the FMCSA
"concur[red] with the State responses to these
DataQs." Id. at 178-79.
2011, the plaintiffs, with the exception of Weaver, initiated
the instant lawsuit asserting five related claims, four under
the Administrative Procedure Act ("APA"), 5 U.S.C.
§§ 701 et seq., and one under the FCRA,
all of which are predicated on the maintenance and
dissemination of allegedly incomplete data in the MCMIS
database. Soon after the case was filed, DOT moved to dismiss
for lack of jurisdiction, Defs.' Mot. to Dismiss, ECF No.
8, but the case was stayed, over plaintiffs
objections, when a nearly identical case was filed by
plaintiff Weaver directly in the Court of Appeals for the
D.C. Circuit. The Circuit ultimately ...