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The City petitioned for review of the FAA's letter, characterizing it as a final order, that addressed the noise complaints stemming from its change of flight routes in and out of Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. The DC Circuit held that petitioners had reasonable grounds for their delay in filing and reached the merits of their petitions. The court also held that the FAA's approval of the new flight routes was arbitrary and capricious and violated the National Historic Preservation Act because the FAA's failure to notify and provide documentation to the City of the agency’s finding of no adverse impact denied the City its right to participate in the process and object to the findings. The FAA also violated the National Environmental Policy Act, the Department of Transportation Act; and the FAA's Order 1050.1E. Accordingly, the court granted the petitions for review, vacated the FAA's September 18, 2014 order implementing the new flight routes and procedures, and remanded. View "Phoenix v. Huerta" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs, the Libertarian Party's presidential and vice presidential candidates in the 2012 elections, filed suit claiming that they were excluded pursuant to an agreement between the Obama for America and Romney for President campaigns. Plaintiffs alleged that the parties' agreement reflected in a memorandum of understanding (MOU) stipulated to three presidential debates and one vice presidential debate, and designated dates, locations, moderators, and topics. Plaintiffs challenged the MOU as an unlawful agreement to monopolize and restrain competition in violation of sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. 1–2. The DC Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of the case. The court held that the doctrine of constitutional avoidance permitted the court to resolve this case on alternative grounds, based on antitrust standing. The court explained that the injuries plaintiffs claim were simply not those contemplated by the antitrust laws. Furthermore, plaintiffs failed to allege a clear legal claim, let alone identified a cognizable injury, in regard to their First Amendment claim. View "Johnson v. Commission on Presidential Debates" on Justia Law

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After the FCC denied SNR and Northstar's application to use bidding credits to purchase wireless spectrum licenses, SNR and Northstar bought some of the licenses at full price and relinquished the rest to the FCC. The FCC fined the petitioners hundreds of millions of dollars for failing to comply with the auction terms that required all bidders to purchase the licenses they won. The DC Circuit held that the FCC reasonably determined that DISH exercised de facto control over SNR and Northstar's businesses; but the FCC did not give SNR and Northstar adequate notice that, if their relationships with DISH cost them their bidding credits, the FCC would also deny them an opportunity to cure. Accordingly, the court remanded for the FCC to give petitioners an opportunity to seek to negotiate a cure for the de facto control the FCC found that DISH exercised over them. View "SNR Wireless LicenseCo, LLC v. FCC" on Justia Law

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This appeal involved two antipsychotic drugs primarily used to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder: Abilify Maitena, manufactured by Otsuka; and Aristada, manufactured by Alkermes. Otsuka sought judicial review, contending that the FDA's same-moiety limitation on the scope of a drug's marketing exclusivity conflicted with the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA), 21 U.S.C. 355(a). The DC Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for the FDA and Alkermes, holding that the FDA's same-moiety test was a reasonable construction of the statute and was consistent with the agency’s regulations. View "Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co. v. Price" on Justia Law

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Sierra Club challenged the Commission's decision approving the construction and operation of three new interstate natural-gas pipelines in the southeastern United States. Determining that it has jurisdiction to entertain Sierra Club's claims, the DC Circuit held that the Commission's environmental impact statement did not contain enough information on the greenhouse-gas emissions that will result from burning the gas that the pipelines will carry. However, the Commission acted properly in all other respects. Accordingly, the court granted Sierra Club's petition for review and remanded for preparation of a conforming environmental impact statement. View "Sierra Club v. FERC" on Justia Law

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The Hospitals challenged HHS's implementation of a Medicare outlier-payment program in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The Hospitals contend that HHS violated the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), 5 U.S.C. 551 et seq., by failing to identify and appropriately respond to flaws in its methodology that enabled certain "turbo-charging" hospitals to manipulate the system and receive excessive payments at the expense of non-turbo-charging hospitals, including the Hospitals. The DC Circuit held that District Hospital Partners, L.P. v. Burwell, 786 F.3d 46 (D.C. Cir. 2015), controlled to the extent that the Hospitals repeated challenges decided in that case. In regard to the remaining challenges, the court affirmed the district court's denials of the Hospitals' motions to supplement the record and to amend their complaint, and its decision that HHS acted reasonably in a manner consistent with the Medicare Act in fiscal years (FYs) 1997 through 2003, and 2007. However, because HHS inadequately explained aspects of the calculations for FYs 2004 through 2006, the court reversed summary judgment in that regard and remanded for further proceedings. View "Banner Health v. Price" on Justia Law

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The DC Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of defendant's pre-trial motion to dismiss the indictment for prosecutorial vindictiveness, and in permitting the government to make improper statements at trial. Defendant was convicted of fraudulently obtaining unemployment benefits from the District of Columbia Department of Employment Services. Assuming arguendo that a presumption of vindictiveness were warranted, the court held that the district court rightly concluded that the government met its burden of producing objective evidence justifying the prosecution's charging decisions. The court also held that no precedent or legal norm barred prosecutors from eliciting testimony about a dismissal motion when a defendant opens the door in the manner that defendant did. Nor did the references to the denied motion to dismiss prejudice defendant because any prejudice was extinguished by the district court's instruction. Finally, the prosecutor's statement that there was "one in nearly 60 million" possibility that there must have been a computer glitch was nothing more than a rhetorical flourish and there was no plain error in this case. View "United States v. Meadows" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The fact that most people now carry a cell phone was not enough to justify an intrusive search of a place lying at the center of the Fourth Amendment's protections—a home—for any phone defendant might own. Defendant appealed the district court's denial of his motion to suppress evidence after he was convicted of unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Although the warrant authorized officers to search for and seize all cell phones and other electronic devices in defendant's residence, the supporting affidavit offered almost no reason to suspect that defendant in fact owned a cell phone, or that any phone or other device containing incriminating information would be found in his apartment. The DC Circuit vacated defendant's conviction and held that the warrant to search defendant's residence was unsupported by probable cause and rejected the government's arguments that, even if the warrant was invalid, the firearm still need not have been excluded from the evidence against him. View "United States v. Griffith" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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Menorah petitioned for review of the Board's finding that Menorah had violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). The DC Circuit set aside the Board's determination that Menorah improperly denied the nurses' requests for union representation in the peer-review-committee hearings: when, as here, employees were not obligated to take part in an investigatory hearing, there was no requirement that they be permitted to bring a union representative if they elect to participate; sustained the Board's decision in all other respects, including the Board's finding that Menorah committed unfair labor practices in denying the union's request for information about the peer-review committee and in maintaining a confidentiality rule barring workers from discussing incidents subject to the committee's oversight; and therefore granted the petition in part and enforced the Board's order in part. View "Midwest Division - MMC, LLC v. NLRB" on Justia Law

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SecurityPoint, which contracts with airports to participate in an advertising program established by the TSA, petitioned for review of the TSA's decision to revise its memorandum of understanding (MOU) used with participating airports. The DC Circuit denied the petition for review, holding that the agency's decision was not arbitrary and capricious but rather demonstrated a rational connection between the facts found and the choice made. Unlike the TSA's 2013 letter, its 2015 letter also provided the brief statement of the grounds for denial required by 5 U.S.C. 555(e); it fully explained why the agency chose to do what it did. Furthermore, TSA's decision was not an attempt to punish SecurityPoint for having sued the agency. View "SecurityPoint Holdings, Inc. v. TSA" on Justia Law