In February 2019, then General Counsel of the Department of Transportation (DOT), Steven Bradbury, issued a memo later dubbed the “Bradbury Memo” that addressed concerns about civil enforcement abuse at the agency. Parts of the memo were subsequently made into binding DOT rules. DOT asserted that these rules were designed to protect the due process rights of those who were the subject of DOT enforcement actions, including a requirement that the agency disclose all exculpatory evidence to those targeted by civil enforcement and the prohibition of “fishing expedition” investigations without sufficient evidence to support a violation.
On April 2, 2021, DOT rescinded these rules without the opportunity for public comment. Thereafter Polyweave Packaging Inc., a company that had been issued a civil penalty order by DOT over alleged regulatory violations, filed suit against DOT claiming the agency violated its due process rights by revoking the Bradbury Memo rules.
The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky ruled in favor of DOT, the case has been appealed to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals and oral arguments were on May 5, 2022.
- Steven Bradbury, Attorney; Former General Counsel, Department of Transportation
- Sheng Li, Litigation Counsel, New Civil Liberties Alliance
- [Moderator] Beth Williams, Board Member, U.S. Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board; former Assistant Attorney General, U.S. Department of Justice
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