Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Bryson v. United States

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts

May 24, 2019



          Nathaniel M. Gorton United States District Judge.

         Plaintiff Michael Bryson (“Bryson” or “plaintiff”) brings this pro se claim purportedly on behalf of himself and his company, Bryson Trading Co., Inc. (“Bryson Trading” or “the Company”), challenging the final agency order of the Secretary of the United States Department of Transportation (“the Secretary”).[1] Bryson seeks an injunction against enforcement of that order as well as monetary damages. He asserts that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (“the FMCSA” or “the Agency”) violated his rights under the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution by assessing a civil penalty against him without a hearing.

         For the following reasons, the Court finds that it lacks jurisdiction over plaintiff's claim pursuant to 49 U.S.C. § 521(b)(9) and thus the case will be dismissed.

         I. Background

         A. The Facts

         Plaintiff is the owner and sole employee of Bryson Trading which is a commercial trucking company that transports freight between Connecticut and Massachusetts. The FMCSA is the agency within the Department of Transportation tasked with promulgating and enforcing regulations to ensure safety in the commercial motor vehicle industry. See 49 U.S.C. §§ 113, 31100, 31136, 31142. The FMCSA has authority to take enforcement action and impose civil penalties upon motor carriers or drivers who have violated the Agency's safety regulations. 49 U.S.C. § 521(b).

         In June, 2013, Bryson was stopped by an inspector in Connecticut while driving a commercial truck eastbound on I-84 from East Hartford, Connecticut, to Taunton, Massachusetts. The inspector stopped Bryson after he observed him holding a cell phone up to his face as he approached the inspection location. The inspector cited plaintiff and the Company for violating 49 C.F.R. § 392.82(a) which prohibits drivers from using (and motor carriers from allowing its drivers to use) cell phones while driving a commercial motor vehicle in interstate commerce.

         B. Procedural History

         In February, 2014, the Connecticut Division of the FMCSA issued a Notice of Claim to Bryson Trading charging it with violating § 392.82(a)(2) and proposing a civil penalty of $2, 710 for that violation. See 49 U.S.C. § 521(b)(1). In March, 2014, the Company responded, denying the alleged violation and requesting a hearing.

         In May, 2014, the FMCSA filed an objection to the Company's request for a hearing and a motion for final agency order which is the administrative equivalent to a motion for summary judgment. The Company never responded to the FMCSA's motion for final agency order as required by the applicable regulations. See 49 C.F.R. § 386.16(b)(3). In April, 2018, the FMCSA issued an order allowing the Company an additional 30 days to respond to its motion for final agency order and notifying it that failure to respond would result in the Agency issuing a final order based on the current record. The Company subsequently failed to respond and in October, 2018, the Agency entered a final order finding that the Company had violated the applicable safety regulation and assessing a civil penalty of $2, 710. See 49 U.S.C. § 521(b)(2).[2]

         In late November, 2018, Bryson filed the complaint in this Court against the United States (“the government” or “defendant”). One month later, after having received no payment from Bryson or the Company, the FMCSA sent an order to show cause to the Company notifying it that the civil penalty had become due and that failure to pay it would result in Bryson Trading being prohibited from operating in interstate commerce and having its registration suspended. See 49 U.S.C. § 521(b)(8)(A). That suspension was to take effect in mid-February, 2019, unless the Company paid the civil penalty in full or could otherwise demonstrate why it should not be prohibited from operating.

         In January, 2019, Bryson filed a motion for a preliminary injunction to prevent the FMCSA from enforcing the civil penalty or suspending his company's registration pending the resolution of this case. In early February, 2019, however, plaintiff paid the civil penalty in full and the Agency rescinded the previously issued order to cease operations. Shortly thereafter, defendant filed a motion to dismiss the complaint for lack of jurisdiction.

         II. Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Jurisdiction

         A. ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.