Justia U.S. D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Non-Profit Corporations
Phoenix Herpetological Society, Inc. v. Fish and Wildlife Service
The Grand Cayman Blue Iguana is protected by the Endangered Species Act, 16 U.S.C. 1531, and by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, which ban their collection, trade, and export. The Secretary of the Interior may permit “any” otherwise prohibited conduct “to enhance the propagation or survival” of a protected species. The nonprofit Phoenix Herpetological Society applied for permits to export four blue iguanas to a Danish zoo and continue its captive-bred wildlife program at its Arizona facility. For export, the Fish and Wildlife Service must find that “proposed export would not be detrimental to the survival of the species.” The Service also evaluates—under Endangered Species Act criteria—whether a permit “would be likely to reduce the threat of extinction facing the species.” The applicant bears the burden of showing that its specimens were lawfully acquired, including lawful importation of the ancestors of specimens it has bred.The D.C. Circuit affirmed the denial of the permits. The agency determined that exporting the iguanas would not be “detrimental” to the species but that exporting them would not “reduce the threat of extinction” for the species. The court concluded that its reasoning was not inconsistent. The Service appropriately acknowledged the prior permits and explained that inconsistent assertions about the parental stock raised new questions about lawful acquisition. View "Phoenix Herpetological Society, Inc. v. Fish and Wildlife Service" on Justia Law
Independence Institute v. FEC
The Institute, a Section 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, filed suit against the FEC, challenging the constitutionality of the disclosure requirements of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, 52 U.S.C. 20104(f). The district court denied the Institute's request to convene a three-judge district court pursuant to the statutory provision that requires three-judge district courts for constitutional challenges to the BCRA. On the merits, the district court held that the Institute's claim was unavailing under McConnell v. FEC, and Citizens United V. FEC. The Institute appealed. The court concluded that, because the Institute’s complaint raises a First Amendment challenge to a provision of BCRA, 28 U.S.C. 2284(a) entitles it to a three-judge district court. In this case, the Institute’s attempt to advance its as-applied First Amendment challenge is not “essentially fictitious, wholly insubstantial, obviously frivolous, and obviously without merit.” Therefore, section 2284 “entitles” the Institute to make its case “before a three-judge district court.” Accordingly, the court reversed and vacated the district court's judgment, remanding for further proceedings. View "Independence Institute v. FEC" on Justia Law
Pinnacle Health Hospitals v. Sebelius
In 1995, two non-profit hospitals consolidated to form Pinnacle. Pinnacle subsequently submitted a Medicare reimbursement claim for the losses the hospitals had incurred through the sale of their depreciable assets in the consolidation. The Administrator denied Pinnacle's claim, and that order became the final decision of the Secretary. On Pinnacle's Administrative Procedure Act (APA), 42 U.S.C. 12101 et seq., challenge, the district court upheld the Secretary's decision in full. Because the Secretary's interpretation of the relevant Medicare regulations was not plainly erroneous or inconsistent with the regulation, the court concluded that the Secretary reasonably applied the bona fide sale requirement to a reimbursement request from a participant in a "statutory merger." The court also held that the Secretary's finding that the bona fide sale requirement applied to consolidations involving non-profit Medicare providers, like Pinnacle, was not plainly erroneous or inconsistent with the regulation. Finally, substantial evidence supported the Secretary's finding that Pinnacle did not satisfy the bona fide sale requirement. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's judgment. View "Pinnacle Health Hospitals v. Sebelius" on Justia Law
Sierra Club, et al. v. Jackson, et al.
Appellants, nonprofit environmental organizations, appealed from a judgment of dismissal entered by the district court in an action against the EPA under the citizen suit provision of the Clean Air Act (CAA), 42 U.S.C. 7401 et seq., challenging the EPA Administrator's failure to take action to prevent the construction of three proposed pollution-emitting facilities in Kentucky. The court held that the validity of the Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) permits issued under the noncompliant State Implementation Plan (SIP), and the possible invalidity of the amended SIP, sufficiently raised a current controversy to save the litigation from mootness. The court also held that the Administrative Procedures Act, 5 U.S.C. 500 et seq., did not provide a cause of action to review the EPA Administrator's failure to act under section 7477 of the CAA because her decision was an agency action "committed to agency discretion by law." Therefore, the EPA Administrator's decision was discretionary and not justiciable and thus, appellants failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. Although the district court dismissed the case pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, the court affirmed the district court's action because dismissal would otherwise have been proper under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).
Polm Family Foundation, Inc. v. USA, et al
The Polm Family Foundation ("Foundation") filed a suit in district court for a declaratory judgment that it was exempt from federal income taxes under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code ("IRC"). At issue was whether the Foundation qualified as a public charity under section 509(a)(3) of the IRC. The court held that, in light of the broad purposes mentioned in the Foundation's articles of incorporation, the court agreed with the government that it would be difficult, if not impossible, to determine whether the Foundation would receive oversight from a readily identifiable class of publicly supported organizations. Therefore, the court affirmed the district court's conclusion that the Foundation did not qualify as a public charity under section 509(a)(3).