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Plaintiff, an African-American, filed suit against DHS, alleging that the Department's decision to give a promotion for which he was qualified to a Caucasian female employee just four weeks after he had complained of race and age discrimination was unlawful retaliation. The DC Circuit reversed the district court's dismissal of his retaliation claim for failure to exhaust remedies, holding that plaintiff expressly raised the non-promotion retaliation claim in his equal employment opportunity complaint. The record at this early procedural juncture showed that plaintiff came forth with sufficient factual allegations and inferences to require, at a minimum, that he be afforded discovery before summary judgment proceedings. Because the record contained a number of plausible factual disputes pertaining to plaintiff's claims of retaliation that could not be resolved on a motion for summary judgment, the court remanded those claims to the district court for further proceedings. View "Coleman v. Duke" on Justia Law

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Sierra Club challenged the Department's grant of an application to export liquified natural gas (LNG) using terminals and liquefaction facilities (Freeport Terminal) on Quintana Island. On the merits, the DC Circuit held that the Department did not fail to fulfill its obligations under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) by declining to make specific projections about environmental impacts stemming from specific levels of export-induced gas production; the Department did not fail to fulfill its obligations with respect to the potential for the U.S. electric power sector to switch from gas to coal in response to higher gas prices; the court rejected Sierra Club's challenges to the Department's examination of the potential greenhouse-gas emissions resulting from the indirect effects of exports; and Sierra Club has given the court no reason to question the Department's judgment that the FLEX application was not inconsistent with the public interest. Accordingly, the court denied the petition for review. View "Sierra Club v. DOE" on Justia Law

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Healthcare Providers sought a mandamus order to force the HHS Secretary to clear the administrative appeals backlog and adhere to the Medicare statute's timeframe to complete the process. The district court subsequently determined that mandamus was appropriate and adopted Healthcare Provider's proposed timetable when the Secretary refused to engage with the premise of setting a timetable at all and proposed no alternative targets. The DC Circuit held that, notwithstanding the district court's earnest efforts to make do with what the parties presented, the failure to seriously test the Secretary's assertion of impossibility and to make a concomitant finding of possibility was an abuse of discretion. Accordingly, the court vacated the mandamus order and the order denying reconsideration, and remanded to the district court to evaluate the merits of the Secretary's claim that unlawful compliance would be impossible. View "American Hospital Assoc. v. Price" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), seeking information pertaining to a former informant. The district court granted summary judgment to the FBI and denied plaintiff's motions for interim attorney fees. The district court eventually dismissed the case after plaintiff failed to file objections to the government's latest explanation for withholding information. Given the limited scope of plaintiff's FOIA request, challenges to the adequacy of the search were rejected. The DC Circuit affirmed the district court's remaining decisions, holding that the district court correctly found that the records in this case met the threshold for FOIA's law-enforcement exemption, and the district court acted within its authority in denying plaintiff's motions for interim attorney fees and in dismissing the remainder of the case. View "Clemente v. FBI" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit alleging claims that employees of Cities Restaurant and Lounge, and the Metropolitan Police Department officers they summoned, reacted overly harshly when she raised a question about her bill and temporarily left the restaurant. The DC Circuit affirmed the dismissal of the intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress claims and the negligence claims against Officer Lee and the District of Columbia; affirmed the grant of summary judgment to Defendant Duru on all claims against him; and vacated the judgment on all remaining claims and remanded for further proceedings. The court held that allegations of the complaint sufficiently made out claims under 42 U.S.C. 1983 for false arrest and excessive force, as well as common law assault, false arrest, and false imprisonment against Officer Lee. Finally, the evidence was sufficient to create material factual disputes on the common law battery claim against Officer Lee, and the defamation, negligence, and conversion claims against Cities. View "Hall v. District of Columbia" on Justia Law

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Gulf Coast filed suit seeking injunctive and declaratory relief after the Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) sent a letter to Gulf Coast indicating that the company's unreported ownership change could subject Gulf Coast to civil and criminal penalties, and a separate letter indicating that Gulf Coast was liable for unpaid excise taxes for operating under a terminated tobacco permit. The DC Circuit affirmed the district court's conclusion that the Anti-Injunction Act (AIA) prohibited Gulf Coast's attempt to restore its terminated tobacco permit and thus the district court lacked jurisdiction to review the alcohol permits' automatic termination. The court explained that Gulf Coast could bring a refund suit if it disputed liability for unpaid excise taxes. View "Gulf Coast Maritime Supply, Inc. v. United States" on Justia Law

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After the Commission held that petitioners engaged in a scheme designed to collect millions of dollars in unwarranted long-distance access charges from AT&T, petitioners challenged the Commission's award of damages to AT&T and statements in the Commission's decision that referred to the merits of the companies' state law claims against AT&T. The DC Circuit held that the Commission's damages award was permissible and that the Commission's conclusion that petitioners did not render any service to AT&T chargeable under the Communications Act was supported by substantial evidence in the record. However, insofar as the Commission reached and decided any questions of state law or the merits of petitioners' quantum meruit claims, those parts of the decision were without legal effect and vacated in relevant part. View "All American Telephone Co. v. FCC" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against his employer, DHS, alleging race discrimination, retaliation, and a hostile work environment. The district court dismissed the case for failure to exhaust his administrative remedies. The DC Circuit held that attachments to plaintiff's administrative complaint adequately identified his claims alleging a discriminatory performance review and a later suspension. Therefore, these two claims were exhausted and the court reversed the district court's judgment in part. View "Crawford v. Duke" on Justia Law

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Rhino challenged the Board's certification of a proposed unit of employees called "riggers." Rhino argued that the company's other employees were so similar to its riggers that a bargaining unit could not consist solely of the latter. The DC Circuit held that some legitimate basis plainly exists for permitting riggers to form their own unit. In this case, the distinctions between riggers and other Rhino employees—concerning wages, hours, training, supervision, equipment, and physical working conditions—were significant. Therefore, the Board reasonably concluded that such distinctions differentiated the employment interests of Rhino's riggers and non-riggers such that riggers may form their own bargaining unit. The court denied Rhino's petition for review and granted the Board's cross-application for enforcement. View "Rhino Northwest, LLC v. NLRB" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against the Department, alleging unlawful race and national origin discrimination under Title VII, 42 U.S.C. 2000e et seq. The DC Circuit subsequently decided sua sponte to reconsider the case and vacate its prior opinion. The court held that nothing in its Title VII precedent on lateral transfers would bar plaintiff from proceeding to trial and that he had otherwise proffered sufficient evidentiary support to show summary judgment was inappropriate. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded for further proceedings. View "Ortiz-Diaz v. HUD" on Justia Law