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Case Name Rodriguez v. Mach PB-TX-0014
Docket / Court 5:18-cv-01265 ( W.D. Tex. )
State/Territory Texas
Case Type(s) Public Benefits / Government Services
Special Collection Fines/Fees/Bail Reform (Criminalization of poverty)
Attorney Organization Equal Justice Under Law
Case Summary
The plaintiffs in this action are Texas residents whose driver’s licenses had been suspended. They brought suit against the Chairman of the Texas Department of Public Safety Commission in his official capacity on December 5, 2018. The Commission suspended the plaintiffs’ licenses through a ... read more >
The plaintiffs in this action are Texas residents whose driver’s licenses had been suspended. They brought suit against the Chairman of the Texas Department of Public Safety Commission in his official capacity on December 5, 2018. The Commission suspended the plaintiffs’ licenses through a Driver Responsibility Program. The program had forced 1.4 million Texans to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars each year for up to three years after an offense.

The plaintiffs filed the class action in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas. Represented by Equal Justice Under Law and the Austin Community Law Center, the plaintiffs alleged that the Driver Responsibility Program discriminated against indigent Texans. They claimed that the program violated their Fourteenth Amendment rights of due process and equal protection, and violated longstanding principles that a person should not be penalized for inability to pay. To address these violations, the plaintiffs asked for declaratory relief, injunctive relief, and attorneys’ fees. They asked the court to prevent the Texas Public Safety Commission from issuing or processing license suspensions for unpaid surcharges, and to order the commission to reinstate licenses that had been suspended for failure to pay fees associated with the Driver Responsibility Program.

On March 6, 2019, the state filed a motion to dismiss the case. While the motion was pending, Governor Greg Abbott signed Texas House Bill 2048 into law, which repealed the Driver Responsibility Program. The court (Judge Xavier Rodriguez) declared the case moot on September 3, 2019.

Keagan Potts - 02/22/2019
Bogyung Lim - 07/03/2020


compress summary

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Equal Protection
Right to travel
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Law-enforcement
Discrimination-basis
Race discrimination
General
Drivers Licenses
Fines/Fees/Bail/Bond
Poverty/homelessness
National Origin/Ethnicity
Hispanic
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Race
Black
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Defendant(s) Chairman for the Texas Department of Public Safety Commission
Plaintiff Description Texans whose drivers licenses have been suspended through the Driver Responsibility Program.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Equal Justice Under Law
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Intervening change in Texas statute
Source of Relief None
Filed 12/05/2018
Case Closing Year 2019
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
  Rodriguez v. Mach
https://equaljusticeunderlaw.org/rodriguez-v-mach
Date: Dec. 5, 2018
By: Equal Justice Under Law
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
5:18-cv-01265 (W.D. Tex.)
PB-TX-0014-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/04/2019
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Class Action Complaint [ECF# 1]
PB-TX-0014-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/05/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Rodriguez, Xavier (W.D. Tex.) show/hide docs
PB-TX-0014-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Hatton, Marissa (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PB-TX-0014-0001 | PB-TX-0014-9000
McGiverin, Brian Rolland (Texas) show/hide docs
PB-TX-0014-0001 | PB-TX-0014-9000
Telfeyan, Phil (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PB-TX-0014-0001 | PB-TX-0014-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Biggs, Adam Arthur (Texas) show/hide docs
PB-TX-0014-9000
Miller, Randall Wilson (Texas) show/hide docs
PB-TX-0014-9000

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