Owner-Operators Independent Drivers Ass'n of America, Inc. v. Skinner, OWNER-OPERATORS

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtBefore TANG, SKOPIL, and FLETCHER; TANG
Citation931 F.2d 582
PartiesINDEPENDENT DRIVERS ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA, INC., a corporation; Michael York, an individual, Plaintiffs-Appellees, v. Samuel K. SKINNER, Secretary of Transportation; United States Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, Defendants-Appellants.
Docket NumberNo. 89-16332,OWNER-OPERATORS
Decision Date26 April 1991

Page 582

931 F.2d 582
OWNER-OPERATORS INDEPENDENT DRIVERS ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA,
INC., a corporation; Michael York, an individual,
Plaintiffs-Appellees,
v.
Samuel K. SKINNER, Secretary of Transportation; United
States Department of Transportation, Federal
Highway Administration, Defendants-Appellants.
No. 89-16332.
United States Court of Appeals,
Ninth Circuit.
Argued and Submitted Dec. 11, 1989.
Decided April 26, 1991.

Page 583

Robert Zener, U.S. Dept. of Justice, Washington, D.C., for defendants-appellants.

Jeffrey King, Collier, Shanno & Scott, Washington, D.C., for plaintiffs-appellees.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.

Before TANG, SKOPIL, and FLETCHER, Circuit Judges.

TANG, Circuit Judge:

Owner-Operators Independent Drivers Association of America and Michael York (collectively, "Owner-Operators"), filed a lawsuit in district court challenging, on constitutional and statutory grounds, certain drug-testing regulations promulgated by the Federal Highway Administration ("FHWA"). The Secretary of Transportation, Samuel Skinner, and the Federal Highway Administration of the United States Department of Transportation (collectively,

Page 584

"the government"), moved for judgment on the pleadings under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c), on the ground that this court has exclusive subject matter jurisdiction over the case. The government requested, in the alternative, that the district court transfer the case to this court, under 28 U.S.C. Sec. 1631 (1988).

The district court denied both motions. The government now appeals the district court's jurisdictional determination. We reverse and remand.

Background

On November 21, 1988, FHWA issued regulations mandating various forms of drug testing for the drivers of commercial motor vehicles. See 49 C.F.R. Secs. 391.81-391.123 (1989). Specifically, the regulations require motor carriers to test drivers (i) prior to employment, 49 C.F.R. Sec. 391.103; (ii) biennially during employment, 49 C.F.R. Sec. 391.105; (iii) randomly throughout employment, 49 C.F.R. Sec. 391.109; and (iv) upon reasonable cause to believe the driver has used a controlled substance, 49 C.F.R. Sec. 391.99. The regulations also require drivers to arrange for immediate post-accident testing. 49 C.F.R. Secs. 391.113, 391.115. The FHWA promulgated the regulations pursuant to its authority under 49 U.S.C. Secs. 104, 3102 and 49 U.S.C. app. Sec. 2505(a) (1988). 1

Owner-Operators Independent Drivers Association of America is a nonprofit association of independent owner-operators of motor vehicles. Michael York is an individual owner-operator. 2 On November 14, 1988, Owner-Operators filed a lawsuit in California federal district court challenging the validity of the FHWA's regulations under the fourth, fifth, and fourteenth amendments to the United States Constitution and under various federal statutes. Owner-Operators invoked the district court's general federal question jurisdiction and jurisdiction over commerce under 28 U.S.C. Secs. 1331, 1337 (1988), respectively.

On December 21, 1988, the district court issued a temporary restraining order staying the implementation of random and post-accident drug testing. See appendix to Owner-Operators Indep. Drivers Ass'n of America, Inc. v. Burnley, 705 F.Supp. 481, 485-89 (N.D.Cal.1989). In January, the district court granted Owner-Operators' request for a preliminary injunction against the operation of the random and post-accident drug testing requirements. Id. at 485.

In March 1989, the government moved for judgment on the pleadings on the ground that the district court lacked subject matter jurisdiction and that venue was improper. The government alternatively sought to have the district court transfer the case to this court under 28 U.S.C. Sec. 1631, which empowers federal courts to transfer to the appropriate forum cases over which they lack jurisdiction "if it is in the interest of justice" to do so.

The district court denied the government's motion on August 1, 1989, but certified the question for interlocutory appeal under 28 U.S.C. Sec. 1292(b) (1988). The government lodged a timely petition for appeal with this court, which was granted on October 17, 1989.

Standard of Review

Whether the district court possesses subject matter jurisdiction is a question of law that we review de novo. Kruso v. International Tel. & Tel. Corp., 872 F.2d 1416, 1421 (9th Cir.1989), cert. denied, --- U.S. ----, 110 S.Ct. 3217, 110 L.Ed.2d 664 (1990).

Statutory Framework

This jurisdictional dispute involves a latticework of statutory provisions. In brief, we must determine whether the jurisdictional connection Congress established in 1966 between the Interstate Commerce Commission ("ICC") and the FHWA survived legislative changes subsequently

Page 585

made in the ICC's regulatory review procedures.

In 1966, Congress created the Department of Transportation and, within it, the FHWA. 49 U.S.C. Sec. 1652(a) & (e)(1) (1970). Among the duties assigned the fledgling Department was responsibility for regulating the safety of motor carrier operations and the qualifications of motor carrier employees, a task which had formerly fallen within the purview of the ICC. 49 U.S.C. Sec. 1655(e)(6)(C) (1970), repealed by Pub.L. No. 97-449, 96 Stat. 2444 (1983). 3

Although Congress chose in 1966 to relocate the authority to regulate motor carrier safety, it deliberately forewent altering the procedures for judicial review of such regulations. Congress expressly provided that:

Orders and actions of the Secretary [of Transportation] in the exercise of functions, powers, and duties transferred under this chapter, and orders and actions of the Administrators pursuant to the functions, powers, and duties specifically assigned to them by this chapter, shall be subject to judicial review to the same extent and in the same manner as if such orders and actions had been by the department or agency exercising such functions, powers, and duties immediately preceding their transfer.

49 U.S.C. Sec. 1653(c) (1970).

With respect to motor carrier safety and commercial driver qualification regulations, the ICC was "the department or agency exercising such functions, powers, and duties immediately preceding their transfer" to the Department of Transportation and the FHWA. See 49 U.S.C. Sec. 304(a)(3) (1970), repealed by Pub.L. No. 95-473, 92 Stat. 1466 (1978). At the time of section 1653(c)'s enactment, ICC orders were reviewed by three-judge district courts, with a right of direct appeal to the Supreme Court. 28 U.S.C. Sec. 2325 (1970), repealed by Pub.L. No. 93-584, 88 Stat.1918 (1975); 28 U.S.C. Sec. 1253. In 1975, Congress altered the path of review for ICC actions, substituting for the three-judge district court a right of direct appeal to the court of appeals for the relevant jurisdiction. 28 U.S.C. Secs. 2321, 2342(5) (1976) ("Hobbs Act"). Court of appeals jurisdiction is exclusive. 28 U.S.C. Sec. 2342 (1988).

In 1984, Congress expressly directed the Department to promulgate regulations governing the physical qualifications of commercial drivers. 49 U.S.C. app. Sec. 2505(a). Responsibility for promulgating and enforcing motor carrier safety regulations was transferred from the Secretary of Transportation to the FHWA under 49 U.S.C. Sec. 104(c) (1988).

Section 10(b) of the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. Sec. 703, prescribes the general judicial review procedure for parties challenging agency actions. Section 10(b) instructs that:

The form of proceeding for judicial review is the special statutory review proceeding relevant to the subject matter in a court specified by statute or, in the absence or inadequacy thereof, any applicable form of legal action, including actions for declaratory judgments ... in a court of competent jurisdiction.

5 U.S.C. Sec. 703 (1988). In other words, unless Congress specifically maps a judicial review path for an agency, review may be had in federal district court under its general federal question jurisdiction, 28 U.S.C. Sec. 1331. See Abbott Laboratories v. Gardner, 387 U.S. 136, 140-41, 87 S.Ct. 1507, 1511-12, 18 L.Ed.2d 681 (1967).

DISCUSSION

At the heart of this jurisdictional dispute is a debate over the effect of Congress's decision, in 1975, to redirect challenges to ICC regulations from three-judge district courts to the courts of appeals. Despite the complicated braid of statutory provisions pertaining to FHWA review, our task

Page 586

is quite straightforward. We need not surmise why Congress did not expressly include the FHWA in the Hobbs Act. We need only decide whether the bond section 1653(c) forged in 1966 between judicial review procedures for the ICC and the FHWA weathered Congress's alteration of ICC review procedures in 1975.

The district court held, for a number of reasons, that the 1975 amendments terminated the linkage between the ICC's and FHWA's judicial review provisions. The district court concluded that it had jurisdiction over the case under section 10(b) of the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. Sec. 703, and under its general federal question and commerce jurisdiction. On appeal, Owner-Operators press this court to follow the district court's reasoning and hold that jurisdiction does not rest with the court of appeals. We decline to do so.

A. The Bond Forged Between ICC and FHWA Review by Section 1653

1. The Text of Section 1653(c)

In holding that the review of FHWA regulations no longer shadowed the ICC's review procedures, the district court found influential the fact that 28 U.S.C. Sec. 2342 specifically states which agency's orders are subject to direct review in the court of appeals. Department of Transportation and FHWA motor carrier safety regulations are not included in this list. 4

The plain language of section 1653(c) dictates the outcome of this jurisdictional dispute. Section 1653(c) instructs that "orders and actions" of the...

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32 practice notes
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    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Central District of California
    • 27 Junio 2006
    ...laws in view of the provisions of the legislation already enacted.'" Owner-Operators Independent Drivers Ass'n of Am., Inc. v. Skinner, 931 F.2d 582, 586 (9th Cir.1991) (quoting St. Louis, I.M. & S. Ry. v. United States, 251 U.S. 198, 207, 40 S.Ct. 120, 64 L.Ed. 225 (1920)). Given that in 1......
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    • 25 Julio 2006
    ...5 U.S.C. sec. 703 (2000) (review in absence of special statutory proceeding); Owner-Operators Indep. Drivers Association v. Skinner, 931 F.2d 582, 585 (9th Cir. 1991) (default rule is review in federal district court under general federal question Page 21 LARO, J., concurring: The Court tod......
  • Billings v. Comm'r of Internal Revenue, No. 6148–03.
    • United States
    • United States Tax Court
    • 25 Julio 2006
    ...5 U.S.C. sec. 703 (2000) (review in absence of special statutory proceeding); Owner–Operators Indep. Drivers Association v. Skinner, 931 F.2d 582, 585 (9th Cir.1991) (default rule is review in federal district court under general federal question jurisdiction). 1. I disagree with the lead o......
  • City of Yakima v. Surface Transp. Bd., No. CY-98-30331-AAM.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Eastern District of Washington
    • 15 Enero 1999
    ...of Transportation, 13 F.3d 313, 316 (9th Cir. 1994) (citing Owner-Operators Independent Drivers Assoc. Of America, Inc. v. Skinner, 931 F.2d 582, 589 (9th Cir.1991)). The court further noted that "[a] contrary holding would encourage circumvention of Congress's particular jurisdictional ass......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
32 cases
  • National Resources Defense Council v. U.S. E.P.A., No. CV 04-8307-GHK(RCX).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Central District of California
    • 27 Junio 2006
    ...laws in view of the provisions of the legislation already enacted.'" Owner-Operators Independent Drivers Ass'n of Am., Inc. v. Skinner, 931 F.2d 582, 586 (9th Cir.1991) (quoting St. Louis, I.M. & S. Ry. v. United States, 251 U.S. 198, 207, 40 S.Ct. 120, 64 L.Ed. 225 (1920)). Given that in 1......
  • Billings v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, 127 T.C. No. 2 (U.S.T.C. 7/25/2006), No. 6148-03.
    • United States
    • United States Tax Court
    • 25 Julio 2006
    ...5 U.S.C. sec. 703 (2000) (review in absence of special statutory proceeding); Owner-Operators Indep. Drivers Association v. Skinner, 931 F.2d 582, 585 (9th Cir. 1991) (default rule is review in federal district court under general federal question Page 21 LARO, J., concurring: The Court tod......
  • Billings v. Comm'r of Internal Revenue, No. 6148–03.
    • United States
    • United States Tax Court
    • 25 Julio 2006
    ...5 U.S.C. sec. 703 (2000) (review in absence of special statutory proceeding); Owner–Operators Indep. Drivers Association v. Skinner, 931 F.2d 582, 585 (9th Cir.1991) (default rule is review in federal district court under general federal question jurisdiction). 1. I disagree with the lead o......
  • City of Yakima v. Surface Transp. Bd., No. CY-98-30331-AAM.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Eastern District of Washington
    • 15 Enero 1999
    ...of Transportation, 13 F.3d 313, 316 (9th Cir. 1994) (citing Owner-Operators Independent Drivers Assoc. Of America, Inc. v. Skinner, 931 F.2d 582, 589 (9th Cir.1991)). The court further noted that "[a] contrary holding would encourage circumvention of Congress's particular jurisdictional ass......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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