Justia Government & Administrative Law Opinion Summaries

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Petitioners, a school district and the school district's superintendent, filed suit o stop the Oklahoma State School Board from taking actions against the school district in the meetings of the Board. The Board continued with its meetings and petitioners filed requests for a restraining order, preliminary injunction, and declaratory judgment to prevent further State Board actions until both the school district and its superintendent obtained administrative individual proceedings. The district court denied the petitioners' requests and they appealed. The State Board continued with its meetings, placed the school district on probation and required an interim superintendent as a condition of probation. The Oklahoma Supreme Court held the Superintendent failed to show a likelihood of success on the merits of his claim that a due process violation occurred, or a likelihood of success on the merits of his claim that his administrative remedy was inadequate, and failed to show he was entitled to a preliminary injunction. The Supreme Court held the School District failed to show a likelihood of success on the merits on a claim the State Board lacked authority to place the school district on probation with a condition requiring an interim superintendent, and failed to show a likelihood of success on the merits of a claim the school district was entitled to an administrative individual proceeding prior to the school district being placed on probation, and school district failed to show it was entitled to a preliminary injunction. Accordingly, the Supreme Court affirmed the district court's order. View "Western Heights Independent Sch. Dist. v. Oklahoma" on Justia Law

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Fannie Mae purchases mortgage loans from commercial banks, which enables the lenders to make additional loans, finances those purchases by packaging the mortgage loans into mortgage-backed securities, then sells those securities to investors. In 1968, Fannie Mae became a publicly-traded, stockholder-owned corporation. Freddie Mac also buys mortgage loans and securities and sells those mortgage-backed securities to investors. In 1989, Freddie Mac became a publicly traded, stockholder-owned corporation. In the 2008 recession, both entities suffered precipitous drops in the value of their mortgage portfolios. The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) was established and authorized to undertake extraordinary measures to resuscitate the companies, 12 U.S.C. 4511(b)(1).Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac shareholders sought to nullify an agreement (the “third amendment”) between FHFA and the Treasury Department that “secured unlimited funding" from Treasury in exchange for "almost all of Fannie’s and Freddie’s future profits.” The third amendment was authorized by FHFA’s Acting Director, who was serving in violation of the Appointments Clause. Shareholders also claimed that they are entitled to retrospective relief because the Supreme Court held in 2021 that FHFA’s enabling statute contained an unconstitutional removal restriction. The district court dismissed the complaint. The Sixth Circuit reversed, holding that the Acting Director was not serving in violation of the Constitution when he signed the third amendment. The court remanded for determination of whether the unconstitutional removal restriction inflicted harm on shareholders. View "Rop v. Federal Housing Finance Agency" on Justia Law

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The Department of Labor brought a petition seeking review of a final order issued on December 31, 2020 by the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The Commission found the phrase “stored in tiers” in the second sentence of 29 C.F.R. Section 1910.176(b) did not apply to pallets of merchandise located in a Walmart Distribution Center in Johnstown, New York.   The Secretary argued that the Commission erred in finding Section 11 1910.176(b) inapplicable to Walmart’s tiered storage system because it unambiguously includes material placed or arranged one above another in tiered storage racks, such as the system used at the Distribution Center. Alternatively, the Secretary also argued that if the Court found the regulation ambiguous, the Court should defer to the Secretary’s reasonable interpretation.   The Second Circuit vacated and remanded finding that the Secretary of Labor’s interpretation was reasonable. The court explained that the Commission’s cramped definition ignores other types of tiers, including seating arrangements at sporting events and music venues with layers of seats that are independently supported and placed one over the other with gaps between them. There is nothing inconsistent in the remaining language of the standard that militates against an interpretation that shelves can be tiers. Here, the pallets stored on the selective racking became unstable and merchandise on the pallets fell. Accordingly, the court concluded that the Secretary’s competing interpretation of the language of the standard is reasonable. View "Martin J. Walsh v. Walmart, Inc." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff s required to register as a sex offender under the Alabama Sex Offender Registration and Community Notification Act (“ASORCNA” or the “Act”). Plaintiff sued the Alabama Attorney General and others, claiming that some provisions of ASORCNA impose retroactive punishment in violation of the Constitution’s Ex Post Facto Clause. After a bench trial, the district court entered judgment against Plaintiff, concluding that the retroactive application of these provisions did not amount to punishment.   The Eleventh Circuit affirmed in part and vacated and remanded in part. The court vacated the district court’s judgment insofar as it involves Plaintiff’s claims that it is unconstitutional to apply retroactively the following provisions of the ASORCNA, and remanded with instructions that it dismiss those claims as moot: (1) the identification-labeling requirement and (2) the dual registration requirements for homeless registrants and for registrants providing travel notification.   The court affirmed the district court’s judgment insofar as it rejects Plaintiff’s claims that it is unconstitutional to apply retroactively the following provisions of ASORCNA: (1) the residency and employment restrictions, (2) the homeless registration requirement, (3) the travel notification requirement, and (4) the community notification requirement. View "Michael A. McGuire v. Steven T. Marshall, et al" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit denied the petition for review of a decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) denying Petitioner's application for cancellation of removal, holding that substantial evidence supported the BIA's determination that Petitioner had not shown prejudice, and the BIA committed no error of law in that ruling.Petitioner, a native of Haiti, was charged as removable under 8 U.S.C. 1227(a)(2)(C) based on a firearm conviction. Petitioner filed applications for asylum, withholding of removal, protection under the Convention Against Torture, and cancellation of removal. The immigration judge (IJ) denied relief, and the BIA upheld the IJ's determination. The First Circuit denied Petitioner's petition for review, holding that Petitioner was deserving of cancellation of removal. View "Dorce v. Garland" on Justia Law

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A Delaware superior court affirmed an Industrial Accident Board (the “IAB” or “Board”) decision denying Appellant Joseph Wilson’s (“Wilson”) petition seeking payment for a cervical spine surgery. The parties agreed the treatment Wilson received was reasonable and necessary. Wilson was injured in a work-related accident on August 1, 2002 while working for Appellee Gingerich Concrete and Masonry (“Employer”). Sometime after the accident, Wilson started treatment with Dr. Bikash Bose (“Dr. Bose”), a certified Delaware workers’ compensation healthcare provider. Wilson’s injury necessitated two related cervical surgeries. The first surgery was performed while Dr. Bose was certified under the Delaware workers’ compensation system (the “Delaware Certification”) according to the requirements set forth in the Act. Employer’s carrier paid the bills related to Wilson’s first surgery. But Wilson’s first surgery proved unsuccessful, and Dr. Bose recommended a second surgery. During the time between Wilson’s first surgery and his second surgery, Dr. Bose’s Delaware Certification lapsed, and he did not seek re-certification for nineteen months. The issue presented was whether the second surgery was compensable given that the treating physician’s certification under the Delaware Workers’ Compensation Act (the “Act”) had lapsed by the time of treatment. If the treatment was not compensable, as the IAB and superior court held, then Wilson asked the Delaware Supreme Court to anticipatorily resolve the question of whether he could be liable for the bill even though no one asserted such a claim. The Supreme Court concluded Dr. Bose’s lapse rendered him uncertified, and, thus, the disputed bills were not compensable under 19 Del. C. § 2322D. View "Wilson v. Gingerich Concrete & Masonry" on Justia Law

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For almost 60 years, Schnitzer has operated a scrap-metal shredding and recycling facility. The Department of Toxic Substances Control acquired regulatory authority over metal-shredding facilities in the 1980s and issued Schnitzer certification under Code of Regulations, title 22, section 66260.200 2 (an (f) letter)--a conditional nonhazardous waste classification, allowing Schnitzer to handle and dispose of its treated metal-shredder waste as nonhazardous although the material otherwise meets the state’s definition of hazardous waste. In 2014, the Hazardous Waste Control Law (HWCL) Health & Safety Code 25150.82, specifically addressed metal-shredding facilities.The trial court concluded that section 25150.82 imposed a mandatory duty on the Department to rescind the (f) letters, such that Schnitzer must handle its treated metal-shredder waste as hazardous. The court of appeal reversed. After the adoption of section 25150.82, the Department commissioned a study, addressing environmental problems associated with metal shredding. Based on that study, the Department initiated regulatory actions aimed at metal-shredding facilities and their untreated waste. Metal shredders must comply with the HWCL but the study confirmed that once metal-shredding waste has been appropriately treated, it can be safely handled and disposed of as non-hazardous. Schnitzer’s (f) letter authorizing this practice was issued under an HWCL regulation, and there is no basis for concluding it does not comply with the HWCL. View "Athletics Investment Group, LLC v. Department of Toxic Substances Control" on Justia Law

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California law requires notification to “a local law enforcement agency in the jurisdiction in which the theft or loss occurred” when a gun is lost or stolen. (Penal Code 25250(a)), within five days of the time when the owner or possessor knew or reasonably should have known that the firearm had been stolen or lost. Morgan Hill adopted its own missing firearm reporting requirement, requiring notification to the Police Department within 48 hours of discovering a gun is missing if the gun owner lives in Morgan Hill, or the loss occurs there.A Morgan Hill resident and the California Rifle & Pistol Association sued, asserting the ordinance is preempted by the state law's five-day reporting requirement. The trial court found no preemption and granted the city summary judgment. The court of appeal affirmed. Local governments are free to impose stricter gun regulations than state law. If it is possible to violate the ordinance without violating state law, as it is here, there is no duplication. The ordinance does not contradict state law. Given the significant local safety interests at stake, cities are allowed to impose more stringent firearm regulations than state law prescribes. View "Kirk v. City of Morgan Hill" on Justia Law

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This appeal arises from a legislative invocation given by an invited, guest speaker before the opening of a Jacksonville City Council meeting. A City Council member  Anna Brosche, and a then-mayoral candidate, invited Plaintiff to give the invocation at the March 12, 2019, City Council meeting. When Plaintiff transitioned to levying criticisms against the City’s executive and legislative branches, the president of the City Council at the time, A.B., interrupted Plaintiff and later cut off his microphone.  Plaintiff brought suit against both the City and A.B. in his personal capacity. In his first two counts, actionable under 42 U.S.C. Section 1983, Plaintiff alleged that both the City and Mr. Bowman violated his First Amendment rights under the Free Exercise Clause (Count I) and the Free Speech Clause (Count II) of the United States Constitution. The district court granted the Defendants’ motion to dismiss in part and denied it in part.   The Eleventh Circuit held that the district court erred in deeming Plaintiff’s invocation to be private speech in a nonpublic forum, the court affirmed the district court’s orders on the alternative ground that the invocation constitutes government speech, not subject to attack on free speech or free exercise grounds. The court explained that he did not bring a claim under the Establishment Clause. And since his invocation constitutes government speech, his speech is not susceptible to an attack on free speech or free-exercise grounds. View "Reginald L. Gundy v. City of Jacksonville, Florida, et al" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals affirming in part and reversing and remanding in part the judgment of the district court denying Energy Policy Advocates' motion to compel and dismissing its civil action against seeking production of certain documents under the Data Practices Act, holding that this Court formally recognizes the common-interest doctrine in Minnesota.Energy Policy submitted document requests under the Data Practices Act, Minn. Stat. 130.01 through 13.90, related to climate-change litigation to the Office of the Attorney General. At issue on appeal was the existence and scope of the applicability of the attorney-client privilege to internal communication among attorneys in public law agencies, the common-interest doctrine, and the section of the Data Practices Act governing Attorney General data. The Supreme Court held (1) the common-interest doctrine is formally recognized in Minnesota; (2) the attorney-client privilege may apply to protect the confidentiality of internal communications among attorneys in public law agencies; and (3) the Legislature's classification of Attorney General data under Minn. Stat. 13.65, subdivision 1 as "private data on individuals" even when the data do not pertain to "individuals" is upheld. View "Energy Policy Advocates v. Ellison" on Justia Law