Justia U.S. D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries

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The DC Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of Eagle, in an action brought by Eagle, alleging that the Orphan Drug Act's (ODA), 21 U.S.C. 360aa–360ee, plain language required the FDA to automatically grant Eagle marketing exclusivity upon designating its drug as an orphan drug and approving it for marketing. The court held that the district court correctly determined at Chevron step one that the FDA's post-approval clinical superiority requirement was forbidden and that Eagle was automatically entitled to a seven-year period of exclusive approval when it approved Bendeka for marketing. View "Eagle Pharmaceuticals, Inc. v. Azar" on Justia Law

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The DC Circuit affirmed the Commission's dismissal of three administrative complaints alleging violations of the Federal Election Campaign Act's disclosure requirements. After determining that plaintiffs had Article III standing, the court held that the Commission provided a reasonable basis for the dismissals. In this case, the Commission (through the statement of the controlling commissioners) provided a sufficiently reasonable basis for its decision not to investigate plaintiffs' straw donor allegations. Furthermore, the Commission provided a reasonable basis for its decision not to investigate plaintiffs' political committee allegations. View "Campaign Legal Center v. Federal Election Commission" on Justia Law

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The Committee seeks to obtain the redacted grand jury materials referenced in the Special Counsel's Report in connection with its impeachment investigation of President Trump. The Committee requested three categories of grand jury materials: (1) all portions of the Mueller Report that were redacted pursuant to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 6(e); (2) any portions of grand jury transcripts or exhibits referenced in those redactions; and (3) any underlying grand jury testimony and exhibits that relate directly to certain individuals and events described in the Mueller Report. The district court authorized disclosure of the first two categories of requested information and stated that the Committee could file additional requests articulating its particularized need for the third category of information. The DC Circuit affirmed the district court's decision authorizing disclosure of the grand jury materials under the "judicial proceeding" exception in Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 6(e)(3)(E)(i). The court held that a Senate impeachment trial qualifies as a "judicial proceeding" under the rule. The court also held that the Committee has established a "particularized need" for the grand jury materials. The court wrote that Counsel Mueller prepared his Report with the expectation that Congress would review it; the district court released only those materials that the Special Counsel found sufficiently relevant to discuss or cite in his Report; the Department has already released information in the Report that was redacted to avoid harm to peripheral third parties and to ongoing investigations, thereby reducing the need for continued secrecy; and the Committee's particularized need for the grand jury materials remains unchanged. In this case, the Committee has repeatedly stated that if the grand jury materials reveal new evidence of impeachable offenses, the Committee may recommend new articles of impeachment. View "Committee on the Judiciary v. United States Department of Justice" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) seeking to compel the release of records related to an incident in which plaintiff was stabbed from behind with a screwdriver in prison. The DC Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment insofar as it pertains to the Bureau's response to plaintiff's request for records related to the screwdriver. In this case, nothing in the record refutes the Bureau's repeated assertions that it knows nothing about the screwdriver and has no records responsive to plaintiff's demands. The court vacated and remanded the judgment to the district court in regard to the Bureau's withholding of surveillance footage under Exemptions (b)(7)(C) and (b)(7)(E), holding that the agency's declaration was too unspecific on its own to establish that withholding the footage was justified. View "Evans v. Bureau of Prisons" on Justia Law

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Current and former Whole Foods employees initiated this diversity action seeking to recover purportedly lost wages, alleging that Whole Foods manipulated its incentive-based bonus program, resulting in employees losing wages otherwise owed to them. In the not yet certified class action, Whole Foods moved to dismiss all nonresident putative class members for lack of personal jurisdiction. The DC Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of Whole Foods' motion to dismiss, on alternative grounds, holding that putative class members -- absent class certification -- are not parties before a court and thus Whole Foods' motion was premature. The court wrote that, only after the putative class members are added to the action, should the district court entertain Whole Foods' motion to dismiss the non-named class members. Finally, the court held that Whole Foods' remaining arguments were without merit. View "Molock v. Whole Foods Market Group, Inc." on Justia Law

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The DC Circuit dismissed the State's petition challenging the FAA's amended flight paths to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport as untimely. Although the State acknowledged that its petition was filed well after the statutory sixty-day review window, it claimed reasonable grounds for the delay. The court held, however, that the State's delay was extreme and it lacked reasonable grounds for missing the statutory deadline. The court explained that the key distinction between this case and City of Phoenix v. Huerta, 869 F.3d 963 (D.C. Cir. 2017), is the FAA's near constant engagement with petitioner City of Phoenix throughout the period between the new flight paths' implementation and the City's late petition. In this case, throughout the more than two and one-half years during which the State delayed filing its petitioner, its communications with the FAA were almost entirely self-initiated, sporadic and primarily through the Working Group. The court also denied the State's motion to amend as moot. View "Maryland v. Federal Aviation Administration" on Justia Law

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The DC Circuit affirmed defendant's conviction and sentence for conspiracy to deal heroin and other drugs. The court held that defendant has failed to demonstrate prejudice from the government's belated disclosure of a handwritten letter tending to impeach a government witness, and thus his Brady claim failed; the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying defendant's motion for severance; the indictment's allegation that defendant and his codefendant conspired to distribute drugs made joinder of their trials proper; and refusing to disclose the names of his customers disqualified defendant from taking advantage of the safety valve. View "United States v. Mason" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law
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The Hospital petitioned for review of an administrative decision affirming the Secretary's citation for violating the General Duty Clause of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) by inadequately protecting its employees from the recognized hazard of patient aggression toward staff. The DC Circuit held that, to the extent that they were preserved, the Hospital's objections failed to overcome the court's deference for the agency. In this case, substantial evidence supported the IJ's conclusion that the Hospital's incomplete and inconsistently implemented safety protocols were inadequate to materially reduce the hazard posed by patient-on-staff violence. Furthermore, the ALJ's determination that a more comprehensively considered and applied program would materially reduce the hazard was fully warranted by her legal analysis and evidentiary findings. Finally, the court held that the General Duty Clause provided fair notice in this case. Accordingly, the court dismissed in part and denied in part the petition for review. View "BHC Northwest Psychiatric Hospital, LLC v. Secretary of Labor" on Justia Law

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Separation-of-powers principles and historical practice compelled the DC Circuit to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction the Committee's suit to enforce the congressional subpoena against the Executive Branch. After the Committee ordered the former White House Counsel, Donald F. McGahn, II, to testify before the Committee, President Trump instructed McGahn to assert absolute testimonial immunity from compelled congressional process. The Committee then sought to invoke this court's jurisdiction to enforce its subpoena. The court held that it lacked jurisdiction to hear the case and dismissed the Committee's suit based on lack of an Article III case or controversy. The court agreed with the DOJ that Article III of the Constitution forbids federal courts from resolving this kind of interbranch information dispute. The court found unpersuasive the Committee's three core arguments: first, the Committee attempts to frame the case as a run-of-the-mill dispute about the effect of a duly issued subpoena; second, relying largely on Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, 135 S. Ct. 2652 (2015), the Committee argues that it may assert an "institutional injury" to satisfy Article III, even in a suit against the Executive Branch; and, third, the Committee insists that circuit precedent before Raines v. Byrd, 521 U.S. 811, 820 (1997), requires that the court resolve this dispute. The court vacated and remanded with instructions to dismiss the complaint. View "Committee on the Judiciary of the United States House of Representatives v. McGahn" on Justia Law

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Cork Wine Bar, a restaurant that competes with President Trump's eponymous hotel, filed suit alleging violations of the District's common law of unfair competition. Cork alleged that President Trump's hotel attracted more of the lobbyists, advocacy groups, and diplomats that Cork had relied on to fill its events calendars, and that these customers chose the hotel because of a perception that patronizing it would be to their advantage in their dealings with the Trump Administration. After removal, the district court denied Cork's motion to remand, dismissing the complaint for failure to state a claim. The DC Circuit held that the case was properly removed based on its two-step analysis in officer-removal cases. First, the court held that President Trump's theory that the District may not impose legal conditions on the lawful performance of his presidential duties was colorable. Second, the court held that President Trump demonstrated that Cork's suit fell within the scope of 28 U.S.C. 1442(a)(1). The court also held that case law did not support Cork's claims on the merits and that Cork failed to cite any contrary precedent. In this case, Cork suggested in passing that President Trump and the hotel were impairing competition and interfering with access to its business. However, the court explained that these claims bear little resemblance to the examples listed in Ray v. Proxmire and B B & W Mgmt., Inc. v. Tasea Inv. Co. Finally, the court declined to certify the core question of District law to the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. View "K&D LLC v. Trump Old Post Office LLC" on Justia Law