Multistar Industries, Inc. vs. USDOT

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Administrative Law
  • Date Filed: 02-07-2013
  • Case #: 12-73138; 12-73485
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Berzon for the Court; Circuit Judge Ikuta and District Judge Zipps
  • Full Text Opinion

Under the Hobbs Act and the Administrative Procedure Act, where the basis of an appeal from an administrative decision and order was not a factor in the agency's final decision, the Court of Appeals can not review the decision or order. A petitioner is not denied due process when an agency declines to review findings that were not the basis of the agency's final action.

Multistar Industries challenged the administrative decision by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration ("FMCSA"). The FMCSA conducted a compliance review and determined Multistar's operation earned an "unsatisfactory" safety rating. Multistar received notice that it would have to cease operations in 45 days. Multistar petitioned for administrative review but the petition was denied. The Ninth Circuit noted that, under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations and the Hazardous Materials Regulations, a motor carrier is rated based on point allocations for not meeting particular regulations. The regulations are classified as acute, critical, or otherwise. An "unsatisfactory" label is given if the motor carrier has two or more points. Multistar's petition challenged five out of seven violations. In denying the petition for administrative review, FMCSA stated two of the challenged violations were neither acute nor critical and were, therefore, irrelevant. The third challenged violation was simply denied by Multistar but general denials are not sufficient to require review. The final two challenged violations were acute or critical but, since they were only two of seven total violations, removing them would be inconsequential to Multistar's overall rating. Multistar claimed FMCSA violated its due process rights by not providing a substantive response to the two acute or critical regulation violations. However, since FMCSA did not rely on the two challenged violations in its final decision and Multistar did not make any property claim other than the requirement to cease operations, Multistar was given all the process it was due. DISMISSED in part and DENIED in part.

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