Vanderbilt Law Review

First Page



ABC Corporation employs fifty drivers and transports various products across state lines. An employee of ABC corporation secretly carries small amounts of illegal drugs in the trailers of the trucks he drives and does so without detection for five years. After law enforcement authorities discover the drug trafficking, the United States files an in rem action under 21 U.S.C. section 881(a)(4), seeking forfeiture of every truck that the guilty driver drove over the past five years and every trailer in which the guilty driver carried drugs. This forfeiture could result in ABC Corporation's losing a third of its trucks and trailers because it rotates its drivers among trucks and each truck pulls a different trailer on each trip. ABC Corporation plans to challenge the forfeiture under the Excessive Fines Clause.

Meanwhile, the government is also seeking the forfeiture of some of the driver's property, his home where he had stored the drugs, and his car in which he had brought the drugs to work. The driver also plans to challenge the forfeiture as excessive under the Eighth Amendment. Both ABC Corporation and the driver assert that the forfeitures are excessive. As an individual, the driver has eighth amendment rights and may prevail on his claim. As a corporation, ABC Corporation might not have such rights.