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Drivers’ case against FMCSA over pre-employment reports stalls at Supreme Court level

A class-action lawsuit brought by six truck drivers — and backed by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association — against the U.S. DOT and the pre-employment reports it distributes to carriers has been refused by the U.S. Supreme Court, handing a victory to DOT.

The drivers alleged DOT and its Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration shared too much information about drivers’ violation history to prospective employers in the Pre-Employment Screening Program (PSP) reports. The drivers claimed the reports disparaged their reputations and made it harder for them to find work. The information shared in their reports, they claimed, was “intentionally and willfully” beyond the scope of the PSP.

The driver plaintiffs argued in the 2014 lawsuit that the PSP reports are only to contain accident reports and “reports of serious driver-related safety violations.” They claim FMCSA’s inclusion of information like excessive weight violations, speeding in the 6-10 mph range, violation of certain hours rules, incorrect logs and unlawful parking violates provisions of the 1974 Privacy Act.

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DOT denied the PSP reports included too much information.

The courts have also consistently disagreed with OOIDA-backed plaintiffs’ assertions.

The U.S. First Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision last October in favor of DOT, and the court denied a rehearing in the case in December. The Supreme Court on Monday denied OOIDA’s petition for the country’s high court to hear its case, effectively ending OOIDA’s bid in the Flock vs. U.S. DOT lawsuit.

Driver Thomas Flock of Nebo, Ill., was the namesake plaintiff in the case, which also included as principal plaintiffs drivers Dennis Thompson, Thomas Gooden, Douglas Heisler, Walter Johnson and Gayla Kyle.

The Flock case was the second OOIDA-brought case in as many weeks that the court has refused to hear. Last Monday, it announced it would not hear the group’s challenge to the federal electronic logging device mandate.

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James Jaillet is the News Editor for CCJ and Overdrive. Reach him at jjaillet@randallreilly.com.