Office of Litigation and Enforcement
What We Do
The Office of Litigation and Enforcement provides advice and legal counsel for litigation in which the Department is a party or has an interest. The Office oversees all Supreme Court cases and appellate cases involving the Department and provides legal advice concerning litigation risk, pre- and post-litigation policy decisions, and antitrust issues. The Office works with the Offices of the Chief Counsels of the various DOT modal administrations, which handle cases involving modal administration issues.
The Office also provides advice to Operating Administrations on significant enforcement initiatives; serves as a facilitator for the DOT Enforcement Practice Group, a forum for Department enforcement attorneys to discuss and share ideas related to enforcement issues of Department-wide application and interest; promotes information sharing among the Operating Administrations’ enforcement programs; and reviews issues relevant to enforcement programs within the Office of the Secretary.
In addition, the office coordinates the Department's submissions to, and collaboration with, independent regulatory agencies. For example, the office works closely with the Federal Communications Commission and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration on questions of radio spectrum policy. The Department is critically interested in these issues, given the importance of radio spectrum to support a variety of applications in every mode of transportation, particularly with respect to the operation of the Global Positioning System. The office has also submitted written comments and has delivered testimony to the Surface Transportation Board in proceedings that have an impact upon the safe and efficient operation of freight and passenger railroads.
Our Responsibilities Include:
- Coordinating the conduct of DOT litigation with the Department of Justice;
- Providing legal counsel in litigation involving actions taken by the Secretary or employees of the Office of the Secretary, in litigation relating to more than one operating administration, and in litigation raising issues of broad or significant impact on transportation policy or the Department;
- Coordinating with the Office of the Solicitor General in the Department of Justice, our position in all cases before the Supreme Court concerning the Department, its program, or its policies;
- Determining, with the Department of Justice, whether litigation should be initiated and whether adverse decisions should be appealed;
- Serving as agency counsel before the federal courts of appeal when appeals are taken from the Department's aviation orders or its airport rates and charges orders;
- Overseeing litigation activities of the operating administrations and delegating litigation responsibilities as appropriate;
- Preparing and presenting the Department's position on regulatory proceedings before federal, state, and local agencies and commissions, particularly the Federal Communications Commission and the Surface Transportation Board ;
- Supervising the performance of the Department's responsibility under 49 U.S.C. section 47129 to resolve complaints concerning the reasonableness of airport fees; and
- Providing advice and counsel to the Secretary and other modal administrations in this Department on rulemaking and statutory proposals to Congress.
- Providing advice to Operating Administrations on significant enforcement initiatives.
- Serving as a facilitator for the DOT Enforcement Practice Group.
- Promoting information sharing among Operating Administration enforcement programs.
- Reviewing issues relevant to enforcement programs within the Office of the Secretary.