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Due Process: Nnebe v. Daus

U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit

Due Process

Occupational Licenses — Post-Deprivation Hearing

Nnebe v. Daus
Appealed from the Southern District of New York

Background: The named plaintiffs in this putative class action, brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1983, are the New York Taxi Workers Alliance and four New York City taxi drivers whose licenses to drive yellow cabs were automatically suspended when they were arrested on criminal charges. It is the policy of the City of New York and its Taxi and Limousine Commission, the defendants-appellees here, immediately to suspend a taxi driver’s license without a hearing if the charged offense is a felony or one of an enumerated list of misdemeanors, and to do so regardless of whether the offense occurred while the driver was on duty, in his cab, or somewhere else entirely. 
Once suspended, a driver is entitled to a post-deprivation hearing, but in practice taxi licenses are never reinstated unless and until the driver secures favorable termination of the charges against him. The plaintiffs argue that drivers are entitled to hearings before their licenses are suspended, and, in the alternative, that the post-suspension hearings currently afforded are inadequate to comport with due process

Ruling: The court concludes that the district court properly granted summary judgment to the defendants with respect to the plaintiffs’ claim that the City of New York must provide a pre-deprivation hearing before it may suspend the licenses of taxi drivers who have been arrested. However, the court also concluded that the factual record is inadequate to permit summary judgment with respect to the plaintiffs’ claim that the post-deprivation hearing currently afforded to drivers is insufficient to provide due process. It also disagrees with the district court’s determination that the New York Taxi Workers Alliance lacks standing.

David T. Goldberg of Donahue & Goldberg LLP for the appellants; Susan Choi-Hausman, assistant corporation counsel, for the appellees