Sims v. State of Fla., Dept. of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, No. 86-3055

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (11th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtBefore RONEY, Chief Judge, TJOFLAT, HILL, FAY, VANCE, KRAVITCH, JOHNSON, HATCHETT, ANDERSON, EDMONDSON and COX; HATCHETT; TJOFLAT, Circuit Judge, dissenting in which HILL, KRAVITCH and EDMONDSON; COX
Citation862 F.2d 1449
Parties, 19 Envtl. L. Rep. 20,600 Myra Holladay SIMS and Florida Import and Compliance Association, Plaintiffs- Appellees, v. STATE OF FLORIDA, DEPARTMENT OF HIGHWAY SAFETY AND MOTOR VEHICLES, Defendant- Appellant.
Docket NumberNo. 86-3055
Decision Date11 January 1989

Page 1449

862 F.2d 1449
57 USLW 2427, 19 Envtl. L. Rep. 20,600
Myra Holladay SIMS and Florida Import and Compliance
Association, Plaintiffs- Appellees,
v.
STATE OF FLORIDA, DEPARTMENT OF HIGHWAY SAFETY AND MOTOR
VEHICLES, Defendant- Appellant.
No. 86-3055.
United States Court of Appeals,
Eleventh Circuit.
Jan. 11, 1989.

Page 1451

Eric J. Taylor, Asst. Atty. Gen., Dept. of Legal Affairs, Tallahassee, Fla., for defendant-appellant.

William C. Owen, Carlton, Fields, Ward, Emmanuel, Smith, Cutler & Kent, P.A., Tallahassee, Fla., for amicus Fla. Automobile Dealers Assoc.

Susan Greco Tuttle, Moffitt, Hart & Miller, Tampa, Fla., for amicus Import Automobile Dealers of Florida, Inc.

Edward T. O'Donnell, Mershon, Sawyer, Johnson, Dunwody & Cole, Miami, Fla., for amicus Mercedes-Benz of North America, Inc.

Robert P. Smith, Jr., Tallahassee, Fla., for plaintiffs-appellees.

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

Before RONEY, Chief Judge, TJOFLAT, HILL, FAY, VANCE, KRAVITCH, JOHNSON, HATCHETT, ANDERSON, EDMONDSON and COX, Circuit Judges.

HATCHETT, Circuit Judge:

We took this case in banc to determine whether Florida Statute 320.02(9) violates the Supremacy Clause and the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution. Finding the statute unconstitutional, we affirm in part and reverse in part. 1

FACTS

On April 30, 1985, Myra Holladay Sims imported from Europe an automobile popularly known as a "gray market" automobile. 2 Gray market automobiles are imported automobiles which do not comply with United States emissions and safety standards. The Florida Import and Compliance Association (FICA) is a trade association whose members directly participate in importing and altering gray market automobiles.

Two federal statutes govern the importation of foreign manufactured automobiles into the United States. The Clean Air Act (42 U.S.C. Sec. 7522), and the Safety Act (15 U.S.C. Sec. 1397), bar the importation of motor vehicles which do not comply with the applicable federal emissions and safety standards. Specifically, the Clean Air Act prohibits

the sale, or the offering for sale, or the introduction, or delivery for introduction, into commerce, or (in the case of any person, except as provided by regulation of the Administrator), the importation into the United States, of any new motor vehicle or new motor vehicle engine, manufactured after the effective date of regulations under this part which are applicable to such vehicle or engine unless such vehicle or engine is covered by a certificate of conformity issued (and in effect) under regulations prescribed [by this statute]. 3

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42 U.S.C. Sec. 7522(a)(1). Also, section 7522(b)(2) provides:

t]he Secretary of the Treasury and the Administrator [of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ] may, by joint regulation provide for deferring final determination as to admission and authorizing the delivery of such a motor vehicle or engine offered for import to the owner or consignee thereof upon such terms and conditions (including the furnishing of a bond) as may appear to them appropriate to ensure that any such motor vehicle or engine will be brought into conformity with the standards, requirements, and limitations applicable to it under this part. The Secretary of the Treasury shall, if a motor vehicle or engine is finally refused admission under this paragraph, cause disposition thereof in accordance with the customs laws unless it is exported, under regulations prescribed by such Secretary, within ninety days of the date of notice of such refusal or such additional time as may be permitted pursuant to such regulations, except that disposition in accordance with the customs laws may not be made in such manner as may result, directly or indirectly, in the sale, to the ultimate customer, of a new motor vehicle or new motor vehicle engine that fails to comply with applicable standards of the Administrator under this part

Similarly, the Safety Act provides that "[n]o person shall manufacture for sale, sell, offer for sale, or introduce or deliver for introduction in interstate commerce, or import into the United States, any motor vehicle [unless it is in conformity with applicable federal motor vehicle safety standards]." 15 U.S.C. Sec. 1397(a)(1)(A). In addition, that statute provides:

[T]he Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary [of the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, Department of Transportation (DOT) ] may, by ... regulations, provide for authorizing the importation of such motor vehicle or item of motor vehicle equipment into the United States upon such terms and conditions (including the furnishing of a bond) as may appear to them appropriate to ensure that any such motor vehicle or item of motor vehicle equipment will be brought into conformity with any applicable federal motor vehicle safety standard prescribed under this subchapter, or will be exported or abandoned to the United States.

15 U.S.C. Sec. 1397(b)(3).

Despite general prohibitions against importing nonconforming motor vehicles into the United States, Congress, under the above provisions, authorized the importation of gray market vehicles upon the furnishing of a bond or other means of assuring that the importers and their customers do not circumvent the federal environmental safety laws. The EPA, the DOT, and the Treasury Department promulgated regulations governing such importation. See generally 19 C.F.R. Secs. 12.73, 12.80; 40 C.F.R. Part 85, Subpart P and 49 C.F.R. Part 571. Under these regulations, the authorities conditionally admit gray market vehicles into the United States for the limited purpose of enabling the importer to comply with federal emissions and safety laws. The importer must post an entry bond with the United States Customs Service (Customs) for an amount equal to the value of the vehicle plus the customs duty. See Automobile Importers Compliance Association, Handbook of Vehicle Importation, 21 (1984). In addition, the importer must sign a statement indicating that the motor vehicle "is not covered by a certificate of conformity with federal motor vehicle emission standards but will be brought into conformity with such standards." 19 C.F.R. Sec. 12.73(b)(5)(x) (1986). Finally, the importer must declare that the vehicle "was not manufactured in conformity [with] all applicable safety standards, but it has been or will be brought into

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conformity." 19 C.F.R. Sec. 12.80(b)(1)(iii). 4 The entry bond assists in enforcing the importer's obligation to comply with federal emission requirements and safety standards because Customs will not release the bond until it receives assurance from the EPA and the DOT that the importer has complied with the standards. See 19 C.F.R. Secs. 12.73c and 12.80e.

When Sims's automobile arrived in Jacksonville, Florida, she complied with the applicable federal regulations governing the importation of gray market vehicles, which included posting a bond in the requisite amount. The EPA exempted Sims from conforming her vehicle to the applicable federal emission standards and sent her a letter releasing the EPA obligation on the bond. 5 In complying with the Safety Act and the DOT regulations, Sims completed the requirements under 19 C.F.R. Sec. 12.80(b)(1)(iii).

In 1984, the Florida legislature passed the following statute concerning motor vehicle titling and registration:

Before a motor vehicle which has not been manufactured in accordance with the federal Clean Air Act and the federal Motor Vehicle Safety Act can be sold to a consumer and titled and registered in this state, the motor vehicle must be certified by the United States Customs Service or the United States Department of Transportation and the United States Environmental Protection Agency to be in compliance with these federal standards. A vehicle which is registered pursuant to this subsection shall not be titled as a new motor vehicle.

Act approved June 11, 1984, ch. 84-155, Sec. 3, 1984 Fla. Laws 457, 458 (codified as amended at Fla.Stat. Sec. 320.02(9) (1985)). This provision prevents a gray market vehicle owner from acquiring title and vehicle registration in Florida until the owner has obtained the required documentation from the federal government.

Subsequent to the passage of Fla.Stat. Sec. 320.02(9), Sims unsuccessfully sought to title and register her automobile at the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DMV). The DMV refused to title and register Sims's vehicle because she did not produce release letters from the DOT and Customs certifying compliance with federal standards. Sims had not received a bond release letter from the DOT because the DOT had an excessive number of forms for review. 6

PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Following refusal to title and register the vehicle, Sims and the FICA filed suit in United States District Court for the Northern

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District of Florida alleging that the state's enforcement of section 320.02(9) violated the Supremacy and Commerce clauses of the United States Constitution: (1) the Clean Air Act and the Safety Act preempt the state's authority to require compliance with federal emission and safety standards, and (2) enforcement of section 320.02(9) impermissibly burdens foreign and interstate commerce. The district court concluded that the Clean Air Act and Safety Act preempt the state's authority to enforce section 320.02(9) and that enforcement of the statute would violate the commerce clause. The district court declared section 320.02(9) unconstitutional and enjoined its enforcement. The state brings this appeal from the district court's ruling.
DISCUSSION

We first discuss those issues the parties presented to the district court, upon which the district court ruled, and the state of Florida initially appealed: the constitutionality of Florida Statute 320.02(9) under the Supremacy and Commerce clauses of the United...

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42 practice notes
  • Welsh v. Century Products, Civ. A. No. R-86-192.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court (Maryland)
    • August 16, 1990
    ...to the Federal safety standard may co-exist with the FMVSS. See, e.g., Sims v. Florida Dep't of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles, 862 F.2d 1449, 1455-58 (11th Cir. 1989), cert. denied, ___ U.S. ___, 110 S.Ct. 64, 107 L.Ed.2d 31 (1989). The legislative history also reveals no intent to pr......
  • City of S. Miami v. Desantis, Case No. 19-cv-22927-BLOOM/Louis
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. Southern District of Florida
    • September 30, 2019
    ...the court decide the merits of the dispute or of particular issues." Sims v. Fla. Dep't of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles , 862 F.2d 1449, 1458 (11th Cir. 1989) (en banc). "[S]tanding requirements ‘are not mere pleading requirements but rather [are] an indispensable part of t......
  • In re Volkswagen "Clean Diesel" Mktg., Sales Practices, & Prods. Liab. Litig., MDL No. 2672 CRB (JSC)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Northern District of California
    • August 31, 2017
    ...emission standards, including EPA's standards, will be prohibited. Sims v. State of Fla., Dept. of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles , 862 F.2d 1449, 1455 (11th Cir. 1989) ; see also id. ("[E]nforcement of the Clean Air Act before the first sale of new motor vehicles is the sole and ex......
  • Cone Corp. v. Florida Dept. of Transp., No. 89-3694
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (11th Circuit)
    • January 8, 1991
    ...by embellishing otherwise deficient allegations of standing"); Sims v. Florida, Dep't of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, 862 F.2d 1449, 1467 (11 Cir.1989) (Tjoflat, J., dissenting) ("unadorned speculation will not suffice to invoke the federal judicial power" (quoting Diam......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
42 cases
  • Welsh v. Century Products, Civ. A. No. R-86-192.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court (Maryland)
    • August 16, 1990
    ...to the Federal safety standard may co-exist with the FMVSS. See, e.g., Sims v. Florida Dep't of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles, 862 F.2d 1449, 1455-58 (11th Cir. 1989), cert. denied, ___ U.S. ___, 110 S.Ct. 64, 107 L.Ed.2d 31 (1989). The legislative history also reveals no intent to pr......
  • City of S. Miami v. Desantis, Case No. 19-cv-22927-BLOOM/Louis
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. Southern District of Florida
    • September 30, 2019
    ...the court decide the merits of the dispute or of particular issues." Sims v. Fla. Dep't of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles , 862 F.2d 1449, 1458 (11th Cir. 1989) (en banc). "[S]tanding requirements ‘are not mere pleading requirements but rather [are] an indispensable part of t......
  • In re Volkswagen "Clean Diesel" Mktg., Sales Practices, & Prods. Liab. Litig., MDL No. 2672 CRB (JSC)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. United States District Courts. 9th Circuit. Northern District of California
    • August 31, 2017
    ...emission standards, including EPA's standards, will be prohibited. Sims v. State of Fla., Dept. of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles , 862 F.2d 1449, 1455 (11th Cir. 1989) ; see also id. ("[E]nforcement of the Clean Air Act before the first sale of new motor vehicles is the sole and ex......
  • Cone Corp. v. Florida Dept. of Transp., No. 89-3694
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (11th Circuit)
    • January 8, 1991
    ...by embellishing otherwise deficient allegations of standing"); Sims v. Florida, Dep't of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, 862 F.2d 1449, 1467 (11 Cir.1989) (Tjoflat, J., dissenting) ("unadorned speculation will not suffice to invoke the federal judicial power" (quoting Diam......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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