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Orangeburg challenged the Commission's approval of an agreement between two utilities, alleging that the approval constituted an authorization of the North Carolina Utilities Commission's (NCUC) unlawful regime. The DC Circuit held that Orangeburg has standing to challenge the Commission's approval because, among other reasons, the city has demonstrated an imminent loss of the opportunity to purchase a desired product (reliable and low-cost wholesale power), and because that injury was fairly traceable to the Commission's approval of the agreement at issue. On the merits, the court held that the Commission failed to justify its approval of the agreement's disparate treatment of wholesale ratepayers; to justify the disparity, the Commission relied exclusively on one line from a previous FERC order that, without additional explication, appeared either unresponsive or legally unsound. Accordingly, the court vacated in part the orders approving the agreement and denying rehearing, and remanded. View "Orangeburg, South Carolina v. FERC" on Justia Law

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In this contract dispute between Getma and the Republic of Guinea, the Common Court of Justice and Arbitration of the Organization for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa (CCJA), a court of supranational jurisdiction for Western and Central African States, set aside an award in favor of Getma. Getma sought to enforce the annulled award in the United States. The D.C. Circuit held that the CCJA is "a competent authority" for purposes of article V(1)(e) of the New York Convention, and for reasons of international comity, the court declined to second-guess a competent authority's annulment of an arbitral award absent extraordinary circumstances. Because Getma's arguments failed under this stringent standard, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court refusing to enforce the award. View "Getma International v. Republic of Guinea" on Justia Law

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Precedent requires the district court to consider each and every non-frivolous argument for mitigation, but does not require the judge to address expressly each argument on the record when pronouncing the sentence. The D.C. Circuit affirmed defendant's 132 month sentence after he was convicted of criminal conduct involving child pornography, holding that the district court committed no obvious or plain error. In this case, defendant failed to show that it was an obvious error for the district court to fail to expressly state that all of defendant's mitigation arguments were appropriately considered but nonetheless rejected. View "United States v. Pyles" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The D.C. Circuit held that the district court properly entered summary judgment for judicial foreclosure to the property at issue, because D.C. law allows the holder of a note to enforce the deed of trust by judicial foreclosure. In this case, there was no genuine dispute of material fact that the Bank holds the Note. The court rejected defendant's counterclaim for declaratory and injunctive relief, as well as defendant's counterclaim under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). Furthermore, the Bank has carried its burden of showing there was no genuine dispute of material fact with respect to the quiet title counterclaim; defendant forfeited his claim under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA); and, in regard to the civil conspiracy claim, defendant failed to meet the heightened pleading requirements for fraud. View "Bank of New York Mellon v. Henderson" on Justia Law

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Petitioners sought review of the FCC's order reversing a decades-old, rebuttable presumption that determined whether state and local franchising authorities may regulate cable rates. Under its new Order, the Commission presumes there is Competing Provider Effective Competition and places the burden upon the franchising authority that wants to regulate basic cable rates to prove there is not effective competition in its area. The D.C. Circuit denied the petition for review and held that the Commission's use of a rebuttable presumption to comply with the statutory requirement that it make a finding on the state of competition in each franchise area was a permissible construction of the statutory requirement that the Commission find effective competition before terminating rate regulation; the Commission reasonably interpreted the Communications Act to allow, after a finding of effective competition, termination of existing certifications without having to wait for a petition of the kind referenced in 47 U.S.C. 543(a)(5); and the court rejected arguments regarding the STELA Reauthorization Act. The court also held that the Commission's rule was not arbitrary nor capricious. View "National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors v. FCC" on Justia Law

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Environmental and Industry Petitioners challenged the EPA's promulgation of a final rule, pursuant to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), 42 U.S.C. 6901-6992k, governing when certain hazardous materials qualify as "discarded" and are thus subject to the agency's regulatory authority. The D.C. Circuit upheld Factor 3; vacated Factor 4 insofar as it applied to all hazardous secondary materials via 40 C.F.R. 261.2(g); vacated the Verified Recycler Exclusion except for its emergency preparedness provisions and its expanded containment requirement; and reinstated the Transfer-Based Exclusion. Consequently, the removal of the Transfer-Based Exclusion's bar on spent catalysts was vacated, subject to such arguments as the parties may raise supporting a different outcome. View "American Petroleum Institute v. EPA" on Justia Law

Posted in: Environmental Law

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After Big Bus Tours won a contract with the Park Service that would allow it to provide guided tours of the National Mall, National Mall Tours filed suit against the Park Service under the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. 500 et seq., and the National Park Service Concessions Management Improvement Act of 1998, 54 U.S.C. 101911 et seq. The D.C. Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment to the Park Service regarding the agency's decision to award the contract to Big Bus Tours; because National Mall Tours lacks standing to bring its claim regarding submission of the contract to certain congressional committees, the district court lacked jurisdiction to hear it; and the court vacated the portions of the district court's order addressing that claim, remanding the case with instructions to dismiss it for lack of jurisdiction. View "National Mall Tours of Washington v. DOI" on Justia Law

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Section 205 of the Federal Power Act does not allow FERC to make modifications to a proposal that transform the proposal into an entirely new rate of FERC's own making. Electricity generators petitioned for review of FERC's decision modifying PJM's proposed changes to its rate structure. FERC's modifications created a new rate scheme that was significantly different from PJM's proposal and from PJM's prior rate design. The D.C. Circuit held that FERC contravened the limitation on its Section 205 authority. Therefore, the court granted the petitions for review and vacated FERC's orders with respect to several aspects of PJM's proposed rate structure -- the self-supply exemption, the competitive entry exemption, unit-specific review, and the mitigation period. The court remanded to FERC. View "NRG Power Marketing, LLC v. FERC" on Justia Law

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Petitioners challenged the EPA's decision to stay implementation of portions of a final rule concerning methane and other greenhouse gas emissions. The DC Circuit held that, although absent a stay, it would have no authority to review the agency's decision to grant reconsideration, because EPA chose to impose a stay suspending the rule's compliance deadlines, the court must review its reconsideration decision to determine whether the stay was authorized under section 307(d)(7)(B) of the Clean Air Act (CAA), 42 U.S.C. 7607(d)(7)(B). The court also held that the 90-day stay was unauthorized by section 307(d)(7)(B) and was thus unreasonable. View "Clean Air Council v. Pruitt" on Justia Law

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Reliance challenged the district court's award of disability benefits to plaintiff under a plan pursuant to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), 29 U.S.C. 1001 et seq., and the amount of benefits owed. The DC Circuit affirmed, holding that plaintiff proved partial disability. In this case, the conflict of interest factor in the standard of review, as well as plaintiff's medical record, lack of full time work, and release to return to work only "as tolerated" convinced the court that she established partial disability. The court explained that, according to the express terms of the Plan, partial disability was equivalent to total disability within the relevant period. View "Marcin v. Reliance Standard Life Insurance Co." on Justia Law

Posted in: ERISA