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The DC Circuit denied Interjet's petitions for review of the Department's orders implementing a decision to not allow the airlines to give any takeoff and landing slots at Mexico City's Benito Juárez International Airport, because Interjet already had more than 300 slots at that airport. The court denied Interjet's claim that the Department's orders were arbitrary, capricious and contrary to law. Rather, the court held that the Department's decision was reasonable and consistent with its statutory mandate. In this case, the Department's orders were neither contrary to the Federal Aviation Act nor arbitrary and capricious. View "ABC Aerolineas, S.A. de C.V. v. DOT" on Justia Law

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The DC Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for defendants in an action brought by plaintiff, a former Deputy Counsel, alleging that her termination was the product of discrimination based on her age and sex, in violation of the District of Columbia Human Rights Act (DCHRA). Plaintiff also alleged that Amtrak later retaliated against her for filing her EEO complaint, and that two of its employees aided and abetted those violations. The court held that plaintiff failed to point to record evidence from which a reasonable jury could infer either age or sex discrimination, and the sanction she sought was unwarranted. In this case, it was the Inspector General's prerogative to choose a General Counsel and Deputy Counsel with whom he felt he and his team could communicate clearly and efficiently, and in whom they could repose their trust and confidence; plaintiff's "primary clients" at the OIG all testified they had reservations about whether she was the best person to serve OIG; and they unanimously expressed concern that she was more likely to resist their objectives than to aid them. View "Ranowsky v. National Railroad Passenger Corp." on Justia Law

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AICPA challenged the IRS's Annual Filing Season Program as violating the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). On remand, the district court granted the IRS's motion for judgment on the pleadings based on AICPA's lack of standing. The DC Circuit reversed and held that AICPA has constitutional and statutory standing to challenge the validity of the Program because its members employ unenrolled preparers. On the merits, the court held that the Program did not violate the APA in any of the ways AICPA alleged. In this case, 31 U.S.C. 330(a) authorizes the IRS to establish and operate the Program, and 26 U.S.C. 7803(a)(2)(A) authorizes the agency to publish the results of the Program; the IRS did not violate the APA by failing to follow notice-and-comment rulemaking procedures in promulgating it; and the Program was not arbitrary and capricious. View "American Institute of Certified Accountants v. IRS" on Justia Law

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Appellants challenged the tax court's decision affirming the Commissioner's determinations to disallow 26 U.S.C. 45K credits to appellants, to disallow the bulk of appellants' claimed business-expense deductions, and that appellants should be assessed a 20% accuracy penalty under 26 U.S.C. 6662 for the 2006 and 2007 tax years. The DC Circuit affirmed the judgment, holding that appellants were not eligible for the Section 45K credits they claimed for venting or flaring landfill gas; appellants had no rights to the Pontiac landfill after RTC's lease terminated; the tax court's decision to disallow the bulk of appellants' business expense deductions were reasonable and supported by the record; and the tax court properly approved the 20% accuracy-related penalty. View "Green Gas Delaware Statutory Trust v. Commissioner" on Justia Law

Posted in: Tax Law

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Two Panamanian men designated as Specially Designated Narcotics Traffickers by the OFAC, filed suit claiming that they had insufficient post-deprivation notice of the bases of their designation in violation of their due process rights. The DC Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment to the government, holding that plaintiffs failed to make out a viable claim under the relevant due process framework. The court explained that the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act’s asset-freezing provision unquestionably raised many due process concerns. However, in this case, without questioning the government's assertion that disclosing any more of the underlying evidence or the sources of that evidence would have calamitous consequences, plaintiffs asked the court to direct the agency to turn over the evidence itself, or to identify its sources, compromising the very sensitivity they leave unchallenged. Such an argument was forecosed by precedent. The court noted that other avenues remain for plaintiffs should they elect to use them to challenge their designation in the future. View "Fares v. Smith" on Justia Law

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This appeal stemmed from a dispute between a paleta company in Mexico (Prolacto) and a paleta company in northern California (PLM) over a phrase "La Michoacana" and an image of a girl in traditional dress holding a paleta ("Indian Girl"). At issue was whether Prolacto or PLM owned the contested phrase and image and which paleta company unfairly competed or otherwise infringed the other's trademark rights. The DC Circuit held that Prolacto's false-association claim failed because Prolacto failed to establish a right to the "La Michoacana" mark or injury from PLM's use sufficient to establish false association in violation of Section 43(a) of the Lanham Act. Therefore, the court affirmed the district court's judgment for PLM on that claim. The court also affirmed the district court's conclusion that Prolacto failed to establish that PLM's use of the Tocumbo Statements and other advertising materials constituted false advertising in violation of Prolacto's rights under section 43(a)(1)(B). Finally, the court affirmed the district court's conclusion that Prolacto infringed PLM's use of its registered marks. The court found no merit in Prolacto's remaining arguments. View "Paleteria La Michoacana, Inc. v. Productos Lacteos Tocumbo S.A" on Justia Law

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The DC Circuit affirmed defendant's conviction for threatening to murder a federal law enforcement officer. The court held that the indictment fairly informed defendant of the charge against him so as to satisfy the Constitution and Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 7(c); the district court properly rejected defendant's entrapment defense as a matter of law; and the district court did not abuse its discretion by sentencing defendant to 96 months of imprisonment. Finally, defendant argued, and the government conceded that, the district court erred by denying him access to jury-commission records he was entitled to inspect under 28 U.S.C. 1867. Accordingly, the court remanded for the district court to allow defendant to access such records. View "United States v. Williamson" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The DC Circuit denied the hospital's petition for review of the Board's determination that the hospital failed to make a showing that prohibiting the employees' picketing conduct was necessary to avoid disrupting patient care. In this case, the hospital tried to stop employees from displaying picket signs—without any chanting, marching, or obstructing of passage—informing visitors to the facility about an ongoing labor dispute. The court held that the Board's interpretation of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) was reasonable; the Board's approach permissibly balanced employees' rights to organize against an employer's interests in controlling its property; and the Board was not compelled to adopt a categorical rule that picketing of any kind—including the stationary, nonobstructive holding of a picket sign at issue here—was necessarily more disruptive, and less entitled to the NLRA's protections, than distribution of union literature. View "Capital Medical Center v. NLRB" on Justia Law

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The DC Circuit reversed the district court's grant of summary judgment to the Department of Defense in an action brought by plaintiff, a former instructor, under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act against the National Defense University's College of International Security Affairs. The court held that the Department failed to provide a consistent and sufficient explanation for plaintiff's discharge, and plaintiff provided evidence that a supervisor directly involved in the decisionmaking process made repeated discriminatory remarks. In this case, a reasonable jury could credit plaintiff's version of events given, inter alia, the evidence that he used to support his prima facie case, the gaps and variations in the College's proffered explanation for the firing, his ultimate replacement by a younger employee, the hiring of several other younger faculty members within the same year as his budgetary termination, and the comments overtly hostile to older employees made by his front-line supervisor who was directly involved in discussions about his termination. View "Steele v. Mattis" on Justia Law

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Hospitals challenged the methodology that the Department used to calculate the "outlier payment" component of their Medicare reimbursements for 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011. At issue was whether the Department's decision to continue with its methodology after the 2007 fiscal year was arbitrary in light of accumulating data about the methodology's generally sub-par performance. The DC Circuit held in Banner Health v. Price, 867 F.3d 1323 (D.C. Cir. 2017) (per curiam), that the Department's decision to wait a bit longer before reevaluating its complex predictive model was reasonable, because the Department had, at best, only limited additional data for 2008 and 2009 and because the 2009 data suggested that hospitals were paid more than expected. In this appeal, the court held that Banner Health foreclosed the hospitals' challenges to the Department's failure to publish a proposed draft rule during the 2003 rulemaking process and the Department's failure to account for the possibility of reconciliation claw-backs in setting the 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011 thresholds. Finally, the court held that, while the hospitals' frustration with the Department's frequently off-target calculations was understandable, the methodology had not sunk to the level of arbitrary or capricious agency action. View "Billings Clinic v. Azar" on Justia Law