United States District Court, D. Maryland, Southern Division
J. HAZEL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Ronald Hayward's Commercial Class-A Driver's License
(“CDL”) was revoked due to the lack of a medical
certificate on file. Plaintiff, proceeding pro se,
brings this action against Defendants the Maryland Motor
Vehicle Administration (“MVA”), its Administrator
Chrissy Nizer, its Deputy Administrator Philip Dacey, and its
CDL Manager, Jimmy Gonzales alleging a violation of the Due
Process Clause in the MVA's revocation of his license.
ECF No. 1. Defendants have filed a Motion to Dismiss, ECF No.
7, and Plaintiff has filed a Motion for the Appointment of
Counsel, ECF No. 11. No. hearing is necessary. See
Loc. Rule 105.6. For the following reasons, Defendants'
Motion to Dismiss shall be granted and Plaintiff's Motion
for the Appointment of Counsel shall be denied.
regulations require that CDL holders be medically certified
as physically qualified to drive commercial vehicles every 24
months. 49 C.F.R. §§ 391.41(a)(1)(i); 391.45(b)(1).
Maryland law requires the MVA to “cancel the commercial
driver's license of any individual who fails to submit to
the Administration a current certificate of physical
examination.” Md. Code Ann. Transp. §
16-812(k)(3). CDLs must include the licensee's full name
and current mailing address. Md. Code Ann. Transp. §
16-811(c)(2)(i)(1). Maryland law also provides that,
“unless another method for giving notice is
specifically required, ” notice shall be given
“[b]y personal delivery to the person to be notified;
or [b]y mail to the person at the address of the person on
record with the Administration.” Md. Code Ann. Transp.
§ 12-114(a). Once a CDL has been downgraded for longer
than one year, a former licensee must complete written and
road testing before again being issued a CDL. Md. Code Ann.
Transp. § 16-115(c); Md. Code Regs. 11.17.02.01.
August 25, 2016, the MVA sent a notice to Plaintiff at the
address listed on his commercial driver's license,
informing him that his medical examiner's certificate was
to expire on October 9, 2016. See ECF Nos. 1-2, 1-6.
On October 17, 2016, the MVA sent another notice informing
Plaintiff that, absent his submission of an updated medical
examiner's certificate, his CDL would be downgraded on
November 18, 2016. ECF No. 1-4. Both of these notices were
returned as undeliverable. ECF Nos. 1-3, 1-5. Having never
received the notices, Plaintiff took no action, and his
license was downgraded. ECF No. 1 at 7. Over a year later, on
December 1, 2017, Plaintiff met with Defendant Gonzalez, who
refused to reissue his CDL. Id. Plaintiff also met
with Defendant Nizer and later, on March 30, 2018, with
Defendant Dacey while possessing a current medical
certificate, but they again refused to reissue his CDL.
alleges that at this time, the MVA's website explained,
“You do not need to submit your medical certification
(Med Cert) information with the MVA until you have been
directly contacted by the Administration. The MVA will send
correspondence to your residence mailing address 45 days
prior to expiration requesting documentation.” ECF No.
1-1 at 1.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim pursuant to
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), the Court “must accept the
factual allegations of the complaint as true and construe
them in the light most favorable to the nonmoving
party.” Rockville Cars, LLC v. City of Rockville,
Md., 891 F.3d 141, 145 (4th Cir. 2018). To overcome a
12(b)(6) motion, the “complaint must contain sufficient
factual matter, accepted as true, ‘to state a claim to
relief that is plausible on its face.'”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570
(2007). Plaintiffs must “provide sufficient
detail” to show “a more-than-conceivable chance
of success on the merits.” Upstate Forever v.
Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, 887 F.3d 637, 645 (4th
Cir. 2018) (citing Owens v. Balt. City State's
Attorneys Office, 767 F.3d 379, 396 (4th Cir. 2014)).
The mere recitation of “elements of a cause of action,
supported only by conclusory statements, is not sufficient to
survive a motion made pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6).”
Walters v. McMahen, 684 F.3d 435, 439 (4th Cir.
2012). Nor must the Court accept unsupported legal
allegations. Revene v. Charles Cnty. Commis., 882
F.2d 870, 873 (4th Cir. 1989). A plausibility determination
is a “context-specific inquiry” that relies on
the court's “experience and common sense.”
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679-80. Finally, a court
“may consider official public records, documents
central to plaintiff's claim, and documents sufficiently
referred to in the complaint so long as the authenticity of
these documents is not disputed.” Witthohn v. Fed.
Ins. Co., 164 Fed.Appx. 395, 396 (4th Cir. 2006). A
pro se plaintiff is held to a “less
stringent” standard than a lawyer, and the Court must
liberally construe a pro se plaintiff's
pleadings. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94
initial matter, Plaintiff names the MVA as a Defendant in
this suit. The MVA is an agency within the Maryland
Department of Transportation, part of the Executive Branch of
Maryland State Government. Md. Code Ann. Transp. §§
2-101, 12-101. But an “unconsenting State is immune
from suits brought in federal courts by her own
citizens.” Edelman v. Jordan, 425 U.S. 651,
663 (1974). It is well established that the Maryland
Department of Transportation is an arm of the state of
Maryland and is entitled to sovereign immunity absent consent
by the state to be sued or abrogation of sovereign immunity.
See, e.g., McCray v. Md. Dept. of Transp., 741 F.3d
480, 482-83 (4th Cir. 2014). Therefore, the case must be
dismissed as to the MVA.
Plaintiff can still recover for any deprivation of his
constitutional rights by officers of the state acting under
color of state law. See 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
Procedural due process “requires fair notice of
impending state action and an opportunity to be heard.”
Snider Int'l Corp. v. Town of Forest Heights,
Md., 739 F.3d 140, 146 (4th Cir. 2014). To satisfy the
due process clause, notice must not be a “mere gesture,
but rather an effort reasonably calculated to effect actual
notice.” Id. Critically, “[a]ctual
notice is not necessary” to satisfy the due process
challenges the notice provided by MVA as insufficient.
Specifically, he asserts that the MVA did not
“directly” contact him, as the attempts to notify
him were sent to the wrong address and returned as
undeliverable. But the MVA sent notice, as required by state
law, to the address listed on the very CDL at issue here.
This procedure satisfies the requirements of the Due Process
Clause, as it is “reasonably calculated” to
notify a CDL holder. Indeed, had Plaintiff updated the
address on his CDL as required by law, he would have received
notice that his medical examination certificate was about to
expire. Therefore, Plaintiff's allegations, even
liberally construed, cannot state a claim for a violation of
the Due Process Clause.
Motion to Dismiss, ECF No. 7, is granted. Plaintiff's
Motion for the Appointment of Counsel, ECF No. 11, ...