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In 2007, Canadian National Railway (CN) sought approval from the Surface Transportation Board of its acquisition of the EJ & E rail line near Chicago. The Board considered the impact of the acquisition on 112 railroad crossings throughout the area, including the intersection at U.S. Highway 14 in Barrington. Crossings projected to be “substantially affected” were eligible for mitigation measures imposed by the Board as a condition to its approval, up to and including grade separation between the roadway and rail line. The Board approved CN’s acquisition, finding that U.S. 14 would neither be substantially affected nor warrant a grade separation. Barrington unsuccessfully petitioned the Board to reopen its decision three times. The Seventh Circuit denied a petition for review. Barrington did not present new evidence or substantially changed circumstances that mandate a different result, 49 U.S.C. 1322(c). The Board conducted an environmental review (National Environmental Policy Act, 42 U.S.C. 4321–4370m‐12) and concluded that U.S. 14 did not exceed any of the three congestion thresholds for substantially affected crossings because “the major source of congestion” at U.S. 14 is “excess vehicle demand at existing major thoroughfare intersections” and “existing traffic signals in proximity to one another,” not CN’s acquisition of the EJ & E line. View "Village of Barrington v. Surface Transportation Board" on Justia Law

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The DC Circuit granted a petition for review of the differential treatment by Galveston Port to petitioners, who operate shuttle buses, as compared to taxis and limos. The court held that the FMC's decision accepting that shuttle buses were treated differently than taxis and limos was not sustainable. In this case, petitioners were plainly injured when they were charged more than the other commercial passenger vehicles and the FMC never determined whether the Port justified the differential treatment based on legitimate transportation factors. The court vacated FMC's orders and remanded for further proceedings. View "Santa Fe Discount Cruise Parking v. FMC" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff, a former MLB player, filed suit alleging violations of the Driver's Privacy Protection Act (DPPA), 18 U.S.C. 2721-25, after an audit revealed that officers from over thirty departments had accessed his information more than 125 times. After the issuance of the Eighth Circuit's opinions in McDonough v. Anoka County, 799 F.3d 931 (2015), and Tichich v. City of Bloomington, 835 F.3d 856 (2016), plaintiff conceded that only his claims against the City of Bloomington and the City of Shakopee were timely and plausible. With respect to these claims, the court affirmed the district court's grant of defendants' motion to dismiss because plaintiff failed to plead sufficient facts to show an impermissible purpose by defendants. View "Berenguer v. Anoka County" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff, a former MLB player, filed suit alleging violations of the Driver's Privacy Protection Act (DPPA), 18 U.S.C. 2721-25, after an audit revealed that officers from over thirty departments had accessed his information more than 125 times. After the issuance of the Eighth Circuit's opinions in McDonough v. Anoka County, 799 F.3d 931 (2015), and Tichich v. City of Bloomington, 835 F.3d 856 (2016), plaintiff conceded that only his claims against the City of Bloomington and the City of Shakopee were timely and plausible. With respect to these claims, the court affirmed the district court's grant of defendants' motion to dismiss because plaintiff failed to plead sufficient facts to show an impermissible purpose by defendants. View "Berenguer v. Anoka County" on Justia Law

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A local government has the authority under Fla. Stat. 316.0083(1)(a) to contract with a private third-party vendor to review and sort information from red light cameras, in accordance with the local government’s written guidelines, before sending that information to a trained traffic enforcement officer, who determines whether probable cause exists and a citation should be issued. Petitioner received a traffic citation based on images from a red light camera. Petitioner argued that the City of Aventura’s red light camera enforcement program was illegal because it included the use of a third-party agent to review images from the City’s red light cameras before sending them to City police to determine whether a traffic citation should be issued. The court of appeal held that the City did not violate the Mark Wandall Traffic Safety Program, see Fla. Stat. 316.0083(1)(a), which grants local governments’ traffic enforcement officers the power to issue citations for traffic infractions captured by red light cameras. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the City did not exceed its statutory authority in contracting with a vendor to review the red light camera images and that the City’s use of its own standards for determining whether a traffic infraction has occurred did not violate the uniformity principle set forth in chapter 316. View "Jimenez v. State" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against defendants for violation of the Driver's Privacy Protection Act (DPPA), 18 U.S.C. 2721-2725. The Eleventh Circuit held that the DPPA permitted punitive damages against municipal agencies; the district court did not abuse its discretion when it assessed liquidated damages for both occasions when Defendant Thomas accessed plaintiff's information; the district court did not abuse its discretion when it declined to certify a class action; the district court did not abuse its discretion when it declined to grant a new trial; and the district court did not err when it instructed the jury that punitive damages should bear a reasonable relationship to compensatory damages. View "Truesdell v. Thomas" on Justia Law

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The Iowa Department of Transportation (IDOT) did not have the statutory authority from the legislature to promulgate administrative rules regulating automated traffic enforcement (ATE) systems located along primary roads. The enforcement of the IDOT’s rules resulted in three cities being ordered to relocate or remove several of their ATE cameras. The district court upheld both the IDOT’s rules and its decisions based on those rules. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the rules were invalid and could not be enforced against the cities because the IDOT’s specific grants of authority did not support the rules. View "City of Des Moines v. Iowa Department of Transportation" on Justia Law

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The Iowa Department of Transportation (IDOT) did not have the statutory authority from the legislature to promulgate administrative rules regulating automated traffic enforcement (ATE) systems located along primary roads. The enforcement of the IDOT’s rules resulted in three cities being ordered to relocate or remove several of their ATE cameras. The district court upheld both the IDOT’s rules and its decisions based on those rules. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the rules were invalid and could not be enforced against the cities because the IDOT’s specific grants of authority did not support the rules. View "City of Des Moines v. Iowa Department of Transportation" on Justia Law

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Alabama rail carriers pay a 4% sales and use tax on diesel fuel. Motor carriers and water carriers are exempt from that tax but motor carriers pay a Motor Fuels Excise Tax of $0.19 per gallon of diesel. Water carriers pay no tax for diesel fuel. The Eleventh Circuit previously determined that Alabama failed to sufficiently justify the scheme under the Railroad Revitalization and Regulatory Reform Act, 49 U.S.C. 11501, which forbids states from discriminating against rail carriers in assessing property or imposing taxes. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded. On remand, the district court again ruled that Alabama’s tax scheme does not violate the Act. The Eleventh Circuit then reversed. The excise tax justifies the motor carrier exemption. As to water carriers, their exemption is not “compelled by federal law.” Although imposing the sales and use tax on water carriers transporting freight interstate might “expose” the state to a lawsuit under federal law, compulsion requires more than exposure. The water carrier exemption is “compelled by federal law” only if imposition of the sales and use tax would violate federal law. It would not, so it violates the Act. View "CSX Transportation, Inc. v. Alabama Department of Revenue" on Justia Law

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In 2008, a Jefferson County Public Transportation Benefit area vehicle collided with Michael Gilmore's vehicle. Gilmore brought a personal jury lawsuit against Jefferson Transit for injuries he allegedly sustained in that collision. At trial, he was awarded $1.2 million for past and future economic losses. Jefferson Transit appealed, arguing the trial court abused its discretion in admitting certain evidence, barring certain evidence, and in determining Gilmore's counsel's closing arguments did not require a new trial. The Court of Appeals reversed as to all issues Jefferson Transit raised. The Washington Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeals. The Supreme Court found no abuse of discretion with respect to the evidence admitted at trial, "[w]e will not disturb the trial court's decision unless 'such a feeling of prejudice [has] been engendered or located in the minds of the jury as to prevent a litigant from having a fair trial." With respect to closing arguments, the Supreme Court nothing in the record suggested it was incurably prejudicial. "By rationalizing Gilmore's counsel's statements as 'technique' and failing to object after being given several opportunities, it is clear that Jefferson Transit's counsel perceived no error and was 'gambling on the verdict.'" View "Gilmore v. Jefferson County Pub. Transp. Benefit Area" on Justia Law