Justia Government & Administrative Law Opinion Summaries

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The Supreme Court denied a writ of mandamus sought by Tiffany White and Tiffany White 4 for the People compelling the Franklin County Board of Elections to place White's name on the March 17, 2020 primary ballot as a candidate for the Democratic Party nomination for the office of state representative for the 25th Ohio House District, holding that White did not establish that she had a clear legal right to have her name appear on the ballot. The Board informed White that her name would not appear on the ballot because her petition was one signature short of the required fifty signatures. Before the Supreme Court, White asserted that the Board abused its discretion by failing to validate three signatures on her nominating petition. White also filed a motion to strike the brief of amicus curiae Miranda Lange. The Supreme Court denied the writ and motion to strike, holding (1) White failed to establish by clear and convincing evidence that the three disputed petition signatures were genuine or that the Board abused its discretion in rejecting them; and (2) White was not entitled to a motion to strike. View "State ex rel. White v. Franklin County Board of Elections" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit denied two petitions for judicial review challenging the orders of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) first finding that Petitioner was not entitled to asylum, withholding of removal, or CAT protection and then placing the case back on the docket and proceeding from where it left off before the case was administratively closed, holding that the BIA correctly interpreted the word "recalendar." In 2010, the BIA upheld the IJ's decision denying Petitioner's claims for asylum, withholding of removal, and CAT protection. The Petitioner petitioned for judicial review. First Circuit remanded the case to the BIA, and on remand, the government moved to close the proceedings administratively. The BIA granted the motion and administratively closed the case in 2013. The parties then filed a stipulation of dismissal, and the First Circuit dismissed the pending petition for judicial review and entered a judgment of voluntary dismissal. In 2016, the government moved to reinstate the case. The BIA granted the motion and decreed that its original 2010 decision "now takes effect." Petitioner petitioned for judicial review. The First Circuit denied both petitions for judicial review, holding that "recalendar" means to reinstate the case to the active docket in the same posture as it occupied when it was paused for administrative closure. View "Arevalo v. Barr" on Justia Law

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Hamid Sow, a citizen of Guinea, sought review of the Board of Immigration Appeals’ (BIA) denial of his motion to remand based upon ineffective assistance of counsel, and motion to reopen based upon new evidence. In December 2016, Sow entered the United States and immediately applied for asylum because he was a homosexual, and the stigma of being a homosexual in a devout Muslim community in his homeland meant danger for himself and his family. Sow only spoke French, and relied on other detainees to relate information to his attorney. Without a translator, Sow's counsel did not fully understand Sow’s concerns: Sow tried to communicate to his counsel that the content of affidavits counsel “did not match up with what happened.” When asked about discrepancies in facts from the affidavits presented, Sow responded he could not explain them because he did not have an opportunity to read them. In his oral decision, the IJ said that he “unfortunately” had to deny Sow’s application based solely on an adverse credibility finding. In coming to this conclusion, the IJ specifically highlighted the inconsistencies in statements made in affidavits. He noted that, if it were true that Sow were a homosexual, then he “clearly should get” asylum. Sow, represented by new counsel, appealed to the BIA. He argued that the IJ erred in failing to assess Sow’s well-founded fear of future persecution. The BIA denied Sow’s motion to remand. It held that the IJ did not clearly err in making an adverse credibility determination and the record did not establish that Sow was entitled to relief “independent of his discredited claim of past harm.” It also denied Sow’s ineffective assistance of counsel claim, reasoning that counsel “reasonably relied on, and submitted the evidence provided by, the respondent and his friends.” The Eleventh Circuit concluded the BIA abused its discretion in denying Sow’s motion to remand based on ineffective assistance of counsel. It therefore granted Sow’s petition for review, vacated the BIA’s decisions, and remanded to the BIA with instructions to remand to the IJ for reconsideration of Sow’s asylum application. View "Sow v. U.S. Attorney General" on Justia Law

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Junaid Lateef appealed a judgment entered in favor of the City of Madera (city) and the Madera City Council (city council) (collectively, respondents), which denied his petition for administrative mandamus and requests for declaratory and injunctive relief. At issue was the meaning of Madera Municipal Code section 10-3.1310(E), which set forth the minimum number of council votes required to overturn the Madera Planning Commission’s (commission) denial of an application for a conditional use permit: “A five-sevenths vote of the whole of the Council shall be required to grant, in whole or in part, any appealed application denied by the Commission.” Lateef appealed the denial of his application to the seven-member city council, which voted four-to-one to grant his appeal; however, one councilmember recused himself and another council seat was vacant. The city council denied Lateef’s appeal, ruling that he needed five votes (five-sevenths times the total membership of the council) to prevail. Arguing to the Court of Appeal, Lateef contended the city council was required to grant his appeal because the ordinance requires a five-sevenths vote of those councilmembers present and voting, and he received five-sevenths of the five votes that were cast, namely four votes. He also contended he was denied a fair trial because the recused councilmember and vacant seat were included as councilmembers when determining the number of votes needed to grant his appeal. Finding no merit to Lateef’s contentions, the Court of Appeal affirmed. View "Lateef v. City of Madera" on Justia Law

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Clarence Ceasar, Jr. injured his neck and back while working as a longshoreman for Sea-Land Services, Inc. in 1997. Because of those injuries, Ceasar was unable to work and had to undergo several medical procedures. Thirteen years later, Ceasar and Sea-Land reached a settlement, under which Ceasar received a lump sum instead of continuing disability payments. Sea-Land remained on the hook for Ceasar’s ongoing medical expenses. Ceasar was cleared to return to longshoreman duties in 2010 with no restrictions, despite chronic neck and lower back pain. Ceasar started working for Universal Maritime Service Company ("UMS") and was injured again a year later when a coworker lowered a cargo container onto his hands. Sea-Land petitioned the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals for review of an order of the Benefits Review Board (“BRB”) which upheld the determination of an administrative law judge (“ALJ”) that Ceasar did not aggravate his 1997 injury at Sea-Land while working for UMS in 2011. After review, the Fifth Circuit determined the BRB did not err, denying Sea-Land's petition. View "Sea-Land Services, Inc. v. DOWCP, et al." on Justia Law

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Siranoush Hiatt appealed an Idaho Industrial Commission decision that affirmed the Idaho Department of Labor’s denial of her request for unemployment benefits. The Commission determined that Hiatt was ineligible for benefits because she was terminated from Health Care Idaho Credit Union (“HCICU”) for workplace-related misconduct. After review, the Idaho Supreme Court affirmed based on the substantial evidence in the record which supported the Commission’s decision. View "Hiatt v. Health Care ID Credit Union" on Justia Law

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Bennett Day, Trustee of Trust B of the Donald M. and Marjorie D. Day Family Trust, John Day, Dan E. Day, Holcomb Road Holdings, LLC, Donna Day Jacobs, and David R. Day (collectively, the Day family) appealed a district court's decision dismissing their claims against the State of Idaho and the Idaho Transportation Department (the Department). This case related to certain property the Day family owned near Isaacs Canyon in Ada County, Idaho. In the 1990s, the State began working on the Isaacs Canyon Interchange near the Day property. The frontage road (Eisenman Road) was extended to the interchange. Eisenman Road did not reach the Day property. In late 1997, which the parties each stipulated was the date for valuation of any taking, the Department substantially completed construction of the Isaacs Canyon Interchange project. After the interchange was completed, the State transferred jurisdiction and maintenance of Eisenman Road southwest of the Interchange to the Ada County Highway District (ACHD). In 2014, the Department applied to ACHD to obtain access from Eisenman Road to the Day property. In 2015, the Department offered the Day family $560,000 to build an access road themselves, but the Days rejected the offer. In May 2016, ACHD advised the Department that it would “not accept a public street” needed to create the access desired by the Day family. Following ACHD’s denial of the Department’s application, the Day family filed this action, asserting claims against the Department for inverse condemnation, breach of contract, and breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing. Both parties moved for partial summary judgment and the Department moved to dismiss the Day family’s complaint. The Day family appealed when the district ocurt dismissed its claims. Their appeal presented for the Idaho Supreme Court's review: (1) a question of whether the district court erred by considering the Department’s motion to dismiss without notifying the Day family that it would consider matters outside of the pleadings; (2) a question of whether the district court correctly dismissed the Day family’s claims for lack of standing and for untimeliness; and (3) whether either party was entitled to an award of attorney fees on appeal. The Supreme Court determined the district court: erred in granting summary judgment for the Department on all of the Day family’s inverse condemnation claims; erred by granting summary judgment on the contract claim; and incorrectly held that the statute of limitations barred the inverse condemnation claims of Donna Day Jacobs and David R. Day. Furthermore, the Court determined the district court erred by dismissing the Day family’s contract-based claims. View "Day v. Idaho Transportation Dept" on Justia Law

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Kentucky and Arkansas residents sued the Secretary of Health and Human Services based on the approval under 42 U.S.C. 1315(a) of an “experimental, pilot, or demonstration projects which, in the judgment of the Secretary, is likely to assist in promoting the objectives” of Medicaid. The district court held that the Secretary failed to analyze whether the projects would promote the primary objective of Medicaid—to furnish medical assistance. Kentucky terminated its project and obtained voluntary dismissal. The D.C. Circuit affirmed with respect to the Arkansas Works program, which required beneficiaries aged 19-49 to “work or engage in specified educational, job training, or job search activities for at least 80 hours per month,” except beneficiaries who show they are medically frail or pregnant, caring for a dependent child under age six, participating in a substance treatment program, or are full-time students. Works proposed to eliminate retroactive coverage, to lower the income eligibility threshold from 133% to 100% of the federal poverty line, and eliminated using Medicaid funds to assist beneficiaries in paying the premiums for employer-provided health care coverage. Instead of analyzing whether the demonstration would promote the objective of providing coverage, the Secretary identified three alternative objectives. Congress has not conditioned the receipt of Medicaid benefits on fulfilling work requirements or taking steps to end receipt of governmental benefits View "Gresham v. Azar" on Justia Law

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Jackson served in the Marine Corps, 1977-1991. Almost 30 years after his honorable discharge, Jackson filed a pro se complaint alleging that toward the end of his military career, his supervising officers discriminated against him because he is a black male, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. 2000e. The district court inferred additional claims under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), 5 U.S.C. 706(2)(A), and the Military Pay Act, 37 U.S.C. 204 but ultimately dismissed all of Jackson’s claims. The D.C. Circuit affirmed. The court noted the unanimous rulings of other sister circuits, concluding that Title VII does not apply to uniformed members of the armed forces. Jackson’s APA claim was untimely and, although the limitations period is no longer considered jurisdictional, the facts alleged were insufficient to apply equitable tolling. Jackson was able to manage his affairs and comprehend his rights; he alleged that at the time of the alleged discrimination, he knew that he “had been subjected to wrongdoing and strongly desired justice.” The court concluded that it lacked jurisdiction to review the dismissal of Jackson’s Military Pay Act claim; the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has exclusive jurisdiction of such claims. View "Jackson v. Modly" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court vacated the court of appeals' decision affirming the district court's dismissal of a physician's petition for judicial review of the Iowa Board of Medicine's decision to use a "confidential letter of warning" to impose conditions on the physician's return to the practice of medicine over his objection, without a finding of probable cause, and without judicial review, holding that the district court erred by ruling that the Board's letter was not judicially reviewable. Before the physician voluntarily ceased practicing medicine the Board had opened an investigation into the physician. The Board closed the investigation without a finding of probable cause that the physician had violated any rule or standard of practice. In its letter, the Board told the physician that if he returned to practicing medicine he must complete a comprehensive clinical competency evaluation. The physician sought judicial review, contending that the Board's letter constituted illegal agency action. The district court dismissed the action, concluding that the letter was not a disciplinary sanction subject to judicial review. The Supreme Court vacated the decision, holding that the Board's letter was subject to judicial review because the physician was aggrieved by the Board's action where he was unable to resume practicing his profession without triggering the competency evaluation. View "Irland v. Iowa Board of Medicine" on Justia Law