Rowland v. Commissioner of Motor Vehicles
The Department of Motor Vehicles can suspend a drivers right to transport children to after-school activities for five years, without furnishing explicit notice to the driver. In July 2004, the plaintiff high school teacher obtained an S license public service endorsement, which permitted the plaintiff to transport students to after-school activities. In 2009, the plaintiff was arrested for allegedly driving under the influence. The Department of Motor Vehicles suspended the plaintiffs drivers license for 90 days and his commercial drivers license for one year. The department also suspended the plaintiffs S license public service endorsement for five years. In 2010, the plaintiff unsuccessfully attempted to renew the S license public service endorsement. The plaintiff protested that the department violated his due-process rights, because he was not informed about the five-year suspension. The 2009 hearing notice explicitly mentioned the plaintiffs drivers and commercial drivers licenses. It did not mention the plaintiffs S license public service endorsement. The department affirmed and wrote, The Respondent is not eligible to hold a public service endorsement in accordance with section 14-44-4(a)(2) of the Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies. The regulation provides that one of the conditions of an S endorsement is that the driver shall not have received a conviction or an administrative-license suspension within five years. The plaintiff appealed on due-process grounds. A license may not be taken without procedural due process, which requires notice and a meaningful opportunity to be heard, pursuant to Bell v. Burson, a 1971 decision of the U.S. Supreme Court. Notice is adequate if it fairly and sufficiently apprises those who may be affected of the nature and character of the action proposed, so as to make possible intelligent preparation for participation in the hearing, pursuant to Goldstar Medical Services v. Department of Social Services, a 2008 decision of the Connecticut Supreme Court. The Connecticut Superior Court found that the Department of Motor Vehicles provided adequate notice. The plaintiff knew, or should have known, that his drivers license, his commercial drivers license and his S license public service endorsement were subject to suspension. The court dismissed the plaintiffs appeal.