Polyweave Packaging, Inc. v. Peter Buttigieg

RECOMMENDED FOR PUBLICATION Pursuant to Sixth Circuit I.O.P. 32.1(b) File Name: 22a0230p.06 UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SIXTH CIRCUIT ┐ POLYWEAVE PACKAGING, INC., a Delaware │ corporation, │ Plaintiff-Appellant, │ > No. 21-5929 │ v. │ │ PETER PAUL MONTGOMERY BUTTIGIEG, Secretary, │ United States Department of Transportation, in his │ official capacity, │ Defendant-Appellee. │ ┘ Appeal from the United States District Court for the Western District of Kentucky at Owensboro. No. 4:21-cv-00054—Joseph H. McKinley, Jr., District Judge. Argued: May 5, 2022 Decided and Filed: October 20, 2022 Before: ROGERS, KETHLEDGE, and MURPHY, Circuit Judges. _________________ COUNSEL ARGUED: Sheng Li, NEW CIVIL LIBERTIES ALLIANCE, Washington, D.C., for Appellant. Edward Himmelfarb, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, Washington, D.C., for Appellee. ON BRIEF: Sheng Li, NEW CIVIL LIBERTIES ALLIANCE, Washington, D.C., Christopher Wiest, CHRIS WIEST, ATTORNEY AT LAW, PLLC, Crestview Hills, Kentucky, for Appellant. Edward Himmelfarb, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, Washington, D.C., for Appellee. ROGERS, J., delivered the opinion of the court in which KETHLEDGE, J., joined. MURPHY, J. (pp. 16–25), delivered a separate opinion concurring in the judgment. No. 21-5929 Polyweave Packaging, Inc. v. Buttigieg Page 2 _________________ OPINION _________________ ROGERS, Circuit Judge. When Congress places judicial review of certain types of agency action in the court of appeals rather than the district court, this jurisdictional allocation cannot be circumvented by suing in the district court to challenge agency procedures used (or omitted) in the proceedings leading to such actions, at least where court-of-appeals jurisdiction provides a fully effective forum to address such arguments. This venerable principle without more supports the district court’s dismissal of plaintiff’s claims in this case. Plaintiff Polyweave Packaging, Inc. makes packaging for the safe transportation of hazardous materials. Following an investigation of Polyweave, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration—an operating administration within the Department of Transportation—issued an order finding that Polyweave had violated federal regulations and assessed a civil penalty of $14,460. In addition to seeking judicial review of that civil-penalty order in the court of appeals, Polyweave brought this action in district court seeking injunctive and declaratory relief to prevent the Department of Transportation from rescinding a regulation known as Subpart D. Subpart D sets forth several requirements for enforcement actions taken by DOT operating administrations, such as the enforcement proceeding against Polyweave. Polyweave argues that the DOT improperly rescinded Subpart D and alleges that Polyweave has incurred procedural injury in the underlying enforcement proceeding as a result. The district court however lacked jurisdiction over Polyweave’s claims because the court of appeals’ exclusive jurisdiction over judicial review of the underlying agency order bars Polyweave from attempting to litigate the rescission of Subpart D in the district court. I. As alleged in the complaint, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) began investigating Polyweave in March 2015 after one of the PHMSA’s inspectors paid an unannounced visit to Polyweave’s Madisonville, Kentucky facility. On December 30, 2016, PHMSA attorneys signed a Notice of Probable Violation, alleging that Polyweave had committed four …

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