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This appeal stemmed from plaintiff's claims that his union violated the transparency and fiduciary requirements of their members by failing to comply with document requests and by permitting its officers to enrich themselves beyond the salaries permitted by the Union constitution. The DC Circuit held that the district court correctly determined on remand that the evidence supported defendants' assertion that they simply preferred to pay taxes on their expense allowances rather than document their expenditures. The court noted that their choice may not be a model of administrative efficiency, but it did not violate either the Union constitution or the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA). In regard to the section 201 of the LMRDA claim involving plaintiff's requests for Union records that he alleged have been wrongfully withheld, plaintiff failed to adduce any evidence of wrongdoing by defendants. View "Noble v. Dunn" on Justia Law

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The district court granted summary judgment to the Standards Developing Organizations (SDOs) on their claims of direct copyright infringement, finding that they held valid and enforceable copyrights in the incorporated standards that PRO had copied and distributed, and that PRO had failed to create a triable issue of fact that its reproduction qualified as fair use under the Copyright Act. The district court also concluded that ASTM was entitled to summary judgment on its trademark infringement claims, and issued permanent injunctions prohibiting PRO from all unauthorized use of the ten standards identified in the summary judgment motions and of ASTM's registered trademarks. The DC Circuit reversed and held that the district court erred in its application of both fair use doctrines. The court remanded for the district court to develop a fuller record regarding the nature of each of the standards at issue, the way in which they were incorporated, and the manner and extent to which they were copied by PRO in order to resolve this mixed question of law and fact. View "American Society for Testing v. Public.Resource.Org, Inc." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against SELEX, alleging that its denial of benefits violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 and breached its contractual duty to provide severance pay to eligible employees. The DC Circuit vacated the district court's grant of judgment in favor of SELEX with regard to the deferred-compensation claim where the company acted unreasonably in determining that he was terminated for cause and was thus ineligible to receive deferred-compensation. In this case, plaintiff did not refuse to perform the duties of his employment with the company when he declined to assume different duties of a different position in a different location and plaintiff's refusal to accept a transfer to a new position could not reasonably be considered cause for terminating him. The court affirmed the district court's judgment in favor of SELEX with regard to the severance pay claim, finding that plaintiff's arguments lacked merit. View "Peck v. Selex Systems Integration, Inc." on Justia Law

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This case involved the "340B Program," which allowed certain hospitals to purchase outpatient drugs from manufacturers at or below specified prices. Plaintiffs filed suit challenging a regulation that sets the Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS) reimbursement drugs purchased through the 340B Progam for 2018. The district court held that plaintiffs failed to present claims for reimbursement to the Secretary, as required to obtain judicial review of claims under Medicare, and thus dismissed the complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The DC Circuit held that plaintiffs neither presented their claim nor obtained any administrative decision at all, much less the "final decision" required under 42 U.S.C. 405(g). In this case, when plaintiffs filed this action, neither the hospital plaintiffs, nor any members of the hospital-association plaintiffs, had challenged the new reimbursement regulation in the context of a specific administrative claim for payment. They could not have done so because the new regulation had not yet even become effective. Therefore, plaintiffs failed to satisfy the presentment requirement of section 405(g), and the district court properly dismissed this case for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. View "American Hospital Ass'n v. Azar" on Justia Law

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The DC Circuit affirmed defendant's 151 month sentence after he pleaded guilty to the distribution of child pornography. The court held that the district court did not abuse its discretion when applying the two-level computer-use enhancement under USSG 2G2.2(b)(6); the district court adequately considered the need to avoid unwarranted disparities and did not abuse its discretion when concluding that defendant was differently situated from defendants for whom other district court judges granted downward variances; the district court did not procedurally err when invoking the particular characteristics of defendant's offense to justify his sentence; the district court considered the aspects of defendant's crime that justified the disparity between his within-Guidelines sentence and the below-Guidelines sentences in this circuit; challenged statements did not detract from the district court's reasoned consideration of defendant's arguments for a downward variance; and the within-Guidelines sentence was substantively reasonable. View "United States v. Mattea" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The DC Circuit reversed the district court's judgment on the pleadings in an action brought by Judicial Watch under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), seeking records in response to nineteen travel-related FOIA requests submitted over a thirteen-month period. Judicial Watch alleged two counts: Count 1 alleged that the Secret Service violated FOIA by failing to conduct a search reasonably calculated to uncover all responsive records; and Count 2 alleged that the Secret Service has a policy and practice of violating FOIA's procedural requirements. Count 1 was dismissed as moot. The court held that in this circuit it is settled law that informal agency conduct resulting in long delays in making requested non-exempt records available may serve as the basis for a policy or practice claim. The court held that Judicial Watch alleged sufficient facts under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) and Supreme Court precedent to draw the reasonable inference that the Secret Service has adopted a practice of delay, contrary to FOIA's two-part scheme, by repeatedly standing mute over a prolonged period of time and using Judicial Watch's filing of a lawsuit as an organizing tool for setting its response priorities. The court remanded as to Count 2 so that the Secret Service will have the opportunity to explain its delays and to confirm how it intended to conform to FOIA's mandate in the future. View "Judicial Watch, Inc. v. DHS" on Justia Law

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The DC Circuit denied Big Bend's petitions for review of FERC's two orders authorizing facilities to export natural gas from the United States to Mexico. The court held that it lacked jurisdiction to consider Big Bend's argument that the Trans-Pecos Pipeline is an export facility because Big Bend failed to present this argument to FERC on rehearing. The court also held that substantial evidence supported FERC's finding that the Trans-Pecos Pipeline was a non-jurisdictional intrastate pipeline subject to regulation by the State of Texas; the Trans-Pecos Pipeline was not subject to federal jurisdiction; and the court declined to adopt the theory that FERC's involvement in authorizing the Export Facility was enough to federalize the pipeline. View "Big Bend Conservation Alliance v. FERC" on Justia Law

Posted in: Environmental Law

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The DC Circuit dismissed Matson's petition for review of three of the Maritime Administration's orders approving APL's requested replacement vessels in the Maritime Security Fleet. At issue was whether the three orders were issued pursuant to 46 U.S.C. 50501 or any other statute listed in the Hobbs Act vesting exclusive jurisdiction in the courts of appeals. The court held that Matson failed to file a timely petition for review; even if MARAD forfeited a timeliness defense, Matson had no vessels in the fleet and was therefore not a contractor for whom MARAD's regulation provided an administrative appeal; and the 2016 and 2017 Approval Orders did not trigger Hobbs Act jurisdiction. View "Matson Navigation Company, Inc. v. DOT" on Justia Law

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The Federal Mine Safety and Health Administration cited the Consolidation Coal Company for excavating an excess amount of rock from a collapsed tunnel, in violation of what the company's roof plan allowed. The ALJ reduced the citation fine, concluding that Consolidation Coal's breach of its roof control plan, with the resulting roof collapse, was not a "significant and substantial" safety violation. The Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission deadlocked two-to-two on the issue, leaving the ALJ's decision as the final agency decision. The DC Circuit vacated and remanded, holding that the ALJ's decision relied critically on types of evidence long foreclosed by Commission precedent. In this case, the ALJ erroneously rooted her decision in the likelihood-of-injury prong, and impermissibly relied on redundant safety measures and miner precaution in concluding that the violation was not significant and substantial. View "Secretary of Labor v. Consolidation Coal Company" on Justia Law

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In 2015, PennEast Pipeline sought a certificate to build a natural gas pipeline running through Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Riverkeeper intervened to oppose the project. In 2016, while the Commission was still reviewing the proposal, Riverkeeper filed suit seeking declaratory relief against the Commission and its members, alleging that FERC's funding structure creates structural bias, in violation of the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment, by incentivizing the Commission to approve new pipelines in order to secure additional sources for its future funding. Riverkeeper also challenged the Commission's use of tolling orders to satisfy its 30-day deadline for acting on rehearing applications. The district court dismissed the complaint for failure to state a claim. The DC Circuit held that Riverkeeper properly filed this case in the district court; Riverkeeper established Article III standing; and Riverkeeper had a viable cause of action. On the merits, the court held that the Environmental Rights Amendment did not create federally protected liberty or property interests, much less ones that FERC could infringe; and regardless of whether any protected liberty or property interests were implicated, the Commission was not a structurally biased adjudicator, and its use of tolling orders was not facially unconstitutional. View "Delaware Riverkeeper Network v. FERC" on Justia Law

Posted in: Environmental Law