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OOIDA’s Data Q lawsuits consolidated, ready to move forward

OOIDA’s Data Q lawsuits consolidated, ready to move forward

By Jami Jones, managing editor

Two lawsuits filed by OOIDA, which challenge the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s handling of disputed driver data used in the Pre-Employment Screening Program, have been combined and are now ready to move forward.

The Association launched a pair of lawsuits in 2012 and 2013 against FMCSA regarding the agency’s data correction procedures on driver records.

Drivers involved in both of OOIDA’s lawsuits all had violations found during roadside inspections and fought the accompanying citations in court. All of the plaintiffs had the citations dismissed in court. However, when they attempted to have the corresponding violations removed from driver records maintained by FMCSA, they were denied.

Currently when driver and motor carrier violation records are challenged through the agency’s Data Q process, the agency defers to the jurisdiction where the violation originated to make the decision.

OOIDA filed its first lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the D.C. Circuit in July 2012. The Association along with four members – Brian E. Kelley, Robert Lohmeier, Klint Mowrer and J. Mark Moody – filed the suit against FMCSA. 

FMCSA launched an initial defense by contesting the court’s jurisdiction over the case. So, OOIDA filed a second lawsuit, this one on behalf of Fred Weaver, in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia asking the court to rule on the jurisdictional issue and to transfer Weaver’s case to district court if it agreed with OOIDA’s position.

The original federal district court hearing the case filed by OOIDA stayed further action pending the outcome of Weaver’s appeal.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled in OOIDA and Weaver’s favor in February 2014. That sent Weaver’s case to the U.S. District Court for the D.C. Circuit along with the original OOIDA Data Q lawsuit.

In late April Judge Beryl Howell with the district court granted a motion filed by OOIDA to consolidate the two cases. The judge also ruled that a consolidated complaint could be filed, essentially green-lighting the combined case to move forward. LL