Due Process Protections in Agency Enforcement Actions

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On April 2, 2021, DOT rescinded these rules without the opportunity for public comment.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

Former General Counsel

U.S. Department of Transportation


Sheng Li

Litigation Counsel

New Civil Liberties Alliance


Beth Williams

Board Member

U.S. Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board


Enforcement & Agency Coercion
Labor & Employment

Federalist Society’s Administrative Law & Regulation Practice Group

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