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The Commission declined to review an ALJ's decision regarding plaintiff's complaint of unlawful interference with his rights as a miners' representative under the Federal Mine Safety and Health Amendments Act of 1977, 30 U.S.C. 815(c)(1). The DC Circuit denied the petition for review of the Commission's decision. Under the totality of the circumstances, upon applying the Secretary's test and viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to plaintiff, the court held that the ALJ properly applied the summary decision standard in concluding that the conduct of a miner for Armstrong Coal did not rise to the level of Section 105(c) interference. Consequently, the court had no occasion to reach the miner's contention that the Mine Act does not provide for a private right of action against non-management miners. View "Wilson v. MSHR" on Justia Law

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The DC Circuit upheld the Department's final rule defining e-cigarette use as "smoking" for purposes of airplane travel under 49 U.S.C. 41706. The Department rested its authority for the regulation on two sections authorizing past aircraft smoking regulations, 49 U.S.C. 41706 (prohibition on "smoking" on scheduled passenger flights within, to, or from the United States) and 49 U.S.C. 41702 ("air carrier shall provide safe and adequate interstate air transportation"). The court held that a "smoking prohibition" reasonably applies to products intended to enable users to inhale and exhale nicotine; the regulation was not arbitrary; the Department acknowledged petitioners' contrary evidence and explained why the regulation was still warranted; and the Department did not impermissibly rely on new studies in the final rule, but instead included new supplementary information that expands on and confirms data in the rulemaking record. Because the court upheld the regulation under section 41706, the court need not address section 41702. View "Competitive Enterprise Institute v. DOT" on Justia Law

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The district court denied certification for a class consisting of African-American deputy U.S. Marshals alleging racial discrimination by the United States Marshals Service (USMS). The lead plaintiff, Herman Brewer, petitioned for interlocutory review, but while his petition was pending, he settled his individual claims with the Government. The parties then stipulated to dismissal of the action under Fed. R. Civ. P. 41(a)(1)(A)(ii), which allowed the parties voluntarily to dismiss a suit without a court order by filing a jointly signed stipulation with the court. Four current and former deputy U.S. Marshals moved to intervene upon notice of the stipulation. The DC Circuit granted the motion to intervene but declined the petition for review as presenting no question that falls within the court's discretion to hear an interlocutory appeal under the framework announced in Lorazepam & Clorazepate Antitrust Litigation, 289 F.3d 98 (D.C. Cir. 2002). The court remanded for the district court to consider motions to substitute absent class members as plaintiffs and for further proceedings. View "In re: Herman Brewer" on Justia Law

Posted in: Class Action

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Defendant challenged the district court's denial of his ineffective assistance of counsel claim. The DC Circuit affirmed in part and held that defendant's trial counsel was constitutionally deficient because counsel failed to investigate the possibility of impeaching the government's central witness as biased against defendant, despite ample indication that he should and could do so. However, counsel's deficient performance did not prejudice defendant as to the drug trafficking charge. In regard to the narcoterrorism charge, the court could not determine on the record whether defendant was prejudiced. Therefore, the court vacated in part and remanded for further proceedings. View "United States v. Mohammed" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The DC Circuit affirmed the dismissal of Nueva's application to the FCC for a license to construct and operate a Lower Power FM Radio (LPFM) station in Philadelphia. Because Nueva's interpretation of a Blog Post authored by the Chief of the Media Bureau, which was intended to give guidance to applicants, was not correct, the court affirmed the Commission's denial of the application for review without reaching Nueva's claim that the Blog Post was binding upon the Commission. In this case, the Commission's interpretation of the Blog Post was not arbitrary and capricious. The court also held that Nueva forfeited its argument that it did not have fair notice of the Commission's interpretation of the Blog Post. View "Nueva Esperanza, Inc. v. FCC" on Justia Law

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Defendant and her son appealed from their convictions for conspiracy to commit tax fraud and related offenses. The DC Circuit held that the prosecutor's blatant misstatements of key evidence during closing arguments, in the absence of any steps to mitigate the resulting prejudice, required reversal of the son's convictions; because the evidence against the son was insufficient, he was not subject to retrial; defendant was not prejudice from the closing arguments; and defendant's evidentiary challenges were unpersuasive. The court affirmed defendant's convictions but remanded her case for resentencing and for reconsideration of her claims of ineffective assistance of counsel. View "United States v. Davis" on Justia Law

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Casinos petitioned for review of the Board's order concluding that the casinos violated section 8(a)(1) and (5) of the National Labor Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. 158(a)(1), (5), when they refused to bargain with the Union, which represents several non-guard employees of the casinos. The DC Circuit granted the casinos' petitions, denied the Board's cross-applications for enforcement, and vacated the Board's decisions and orders. The court held that, under section 9(b)(3) of the Act, surveillance techs are guards who can be represented only by an all-guard union. The court explained that the techs' day-to-day duties—sensitive ones peculiar to the modern gaming industry—call for them to enforce against coworkers and others the rules that protect the casinos' property and guests. View "Bellagio, LLC v. NLRB" on Justia Law

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Sierra Club petitioned for review of EPA's determination that EPA satisfied its responsibilities under 42 U.S.C. 7412(c)(6) to establish "maximum achievable control technology" (MACT) standards for emissions of certain hazardous air pollutants (HAPs). The DC Circuit held that the petition was timely and EPA did not adequately respond to petitioners' comments raising the issues concerning the use of surrogacy in the administrative proceedings. Accordingly, the court denied EPA's motion to dismiss and ordered the matter remanded to EPA for further proceedings. View "Sierra Club v. EPA" on Justia Law

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The DC Circuit affirmed defendant's 172 month sentence after he pleaded guilty to distribution of child pornography. The court held that the government's recidivism comment was only that—a comment—and appeared to have had no influence on the length of imprisonment to which defendant was sentenced. Defendant's sentence was also procedurally reasonable. However, the court vacated two conditions of supervised release: notifying the probation office when he establishes a significant romantic relationship and informing the other party of his prior criminal sex offenses, and penile plethysmograph testing. View "United States v. Rock" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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Taxpayers who failed to report and pay tax on foreign income filed suit after the IRS denied their applications for the expanded Streamlined Procedures program. The Streamlined Procedures' reduced benefits were counterbalanced by fewer compliance requirements; as relevant here, the Streamlined Procedures participant need not pay any accuracy-based penalty. The DC Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of the complaint, holding that the district court was without jurisdiction to resolve taxpayers' claims in light of the jurisdiction-stripping provision contained in the Anti-Injunction Act (AIA), 26 U.S.C. 7421 et seq. View "Maze v. IRS" on Justia Law

Posted in: Tax Law