Miss the Deadline to Challenge a Regulation?

Supreme Court Says Maybe Not

This session, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the Chevron doctrine, a longstanding policy under which lower courts almost always sided with regulatory agency decisions where the intent of Congress was not clear. Overturning Chevron opened the door, many legal experts believe, to allowing challenges against many existing regulations.

The U.S. Supreme Court also decided another case which may serve as a template to challenge federal regulations. The justices ruled 6-3 in favor of a truck stop in North Dakota that wants to sue over a Federal Reserve regulation on debit card swipe fees that the federal appeals court in Washington upheld 10 years ago.

The trouble for the truck stop was that federal law sets a six-year deadline for broad challenges to regulations. In this case, the swipe fee regulation took effect in 2011, meaning that legal challenges to it needed to be filed by 2017. However, the truck stop itself did not go into business until 2018 and so had no way to challenge the regulation at that time.

No doubt courts will look closely at whether plaintiffs have simply missed a deadline to challenge a regulation, or, as in the North Dakota case, have only recently come under the regulation’s impact. But in concurring with the majority decision, Chief Justice Roberts said the legal principle that everybody is entitled to their day in court, “doesn’t say unless somebody else had a day in court.”

Supreme Court Overturns “Chevron Doctrine”

10 July 2024

Anyone who has been in business for any length of time can cite a number of times that federal regulatory agencies have had a free hand in regulating businesses such as trucking. That is why carriers and other industries that want a fair fight to challenge regulations in the future may have been given a gift from the U.S. Supreme Court June 28.