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The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of the Forest Service's motion to dissolve an injunction enjoining the Lonesome Wood 2 Project. The Project was designed to reduce the threat of wildfire in a populated area of the Gallatin National Forest in Montana. The panel declined to overrule the Forest Service's determination that a thesis outlining important predictors for overall lynx reproductive success did not require the Forest Service to reevaluate its approval of the project. The panel rejected the argument that the Forest Service failed to comply with the obligation to ensure species viability and that the Forest Service failed to comply with its Gallatin Forest Plan obligation to monitor population trends for two management indicator species. Finally, the panel held that the Forest Service took a "hard look" at the project and did not act arbitrarily or capriciously. View "Native Ecosystems Council v. Marten" on Justia Law

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Pro se petitioner Donna Zink and the Washington Department of Corrections (DOC) sought reversal of a published Court of Appeals decision, which affirmed the trial court's summary judgment ruling in favor of respondents, John Does G, I, and J (John Does). This case presented two issues: (1) whether special sex offender sentencing alternative (SSOSA) evaluations were exempt from disclosure under the Public Records Act (PRA), chapter 42.56 ROW, because they contained "health care information;" and (2) whether pseudonymous litigation was proper in this action. In July 2014, Zink sent a PRA request to the DOC for all SSOSA evaluations "held, maintained, in the possession of or owned" by the DOC since 1990. The DOC responded to Zink, intending to release the SSOSA evaluations on an installment basis. The DOC explained that it would review the SSOSA evaluations and make appropriate redactions as required under the PRA before disclosure. The John Does obtained a temporary restraining order (TRO), which prevented the DOC from releasing any SSOSA evaluations of level I sex offenders. Upon the TRO's expiration, the trial court granted the John Does a preliminary injunction. The Washington Supreme Court held the SSOSA evaluations did not contain "health care information" because they were forensic examinations done for the purpose of aiding a court in sentencing a sex offender. The Court also held that pseudonymous litigation was improper in this action because the trial court did not adhere to the requirements of article 1, section 10 of the Washington Constitution and General Rule (OR) 15. Accordingly, the Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeals. View "John Doe G v. Dept. of Corr." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court affirming the Town of Yarmouth Planning Board’s approval of a site plan application by Verizon Wireless to install wireless communication equipment on a tower and site owned by the Yarmouth Water District, holding that the Board did not err by concluding that Verizon’s application complied with the relevant provisions of Yarmouth’s Zoning Ordinance. Contrary to Appellants’ contentions on appeal, the Supreme Court held (1) the Yarmouth Water District site was not subject to a presumption of unsuitability because the relevant article of the Ordinance applies only to new-tower-construction applicants; and (2) substantial evidence in the record supported the Board’s findings that Verizon presented sufficient evidence that it investigated other technically feasible sites and that none was available. View "Olson v. Town of Yarmouth" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the circuit court’s order granting summary judgment for the City of Blytheville and against Mississippi County. The court held (1) the circuit court erred by defining “prisoners of municipalities” as only those detainees who are charged with violating a municipal ordinance because the term includes those offenders who are arrested by municipal law enforcement officers and delivered to the county jail for incarceration, from the point of intake until they are charged, sentenced, and released; and (2) the circuit court erred by applying an offset on the amount of taxes paid under the 1995 “exclusive jail tax” that support only the County jail by residents of the City to the calculation of “reasonable expenses” under Ark. Code Ann. 12-41-506(a)(2). View "Mississippi County, Arkansas v. City of Blytheville" on Justia Law

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In this appeal from a state employee grievance proceeding, a hearing officer’s decision upholding the termination of Nathan Osborn, a special agent with the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC), was not contrary to law. ABC terminated Osburn’s employment after receiving a complaint that Osburn rummaged, without permission, through the business records of a business owner who had applied for a retail alcohol license. A hearing officer upheld Osburn’s termination, concluding that the warrantless search was not permissible, resulting in a violation of the applicant’s constitutional rights. The circuit court upheld the hearing officer’s determination. The court of appeals affirmed the circuit court’s determination that Osborn violated the Fourth Amendment. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Osburn’s warrantless inspection of the office of the applicant’s business was not permissible under the highly regulated industry exception to the warrant requirement and that the business owner did not consent to Osburn’s warrantless search of the office. View "Osburn v. Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control" on Justia Law

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In 2016, Kansas sent notices of decisions to terminate its Medicaid contracts with two Planned Parenthood affiliates, Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri (“PPGP”), and Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region (“PPSLR”). The notices cited concerns about the level of PPGP’s cooperation in solid-waste inspections, both Providers’ billing practices, and an anti-abortion group’s allegations that Planned Parenthood of America (“PPFA”) executives had been video-recorded negotiating the sale of fetal tissue and body parts. Together, the Providers and three individual Jane Does (“the Patients”) immediately sued Susan Mosier, Secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (“KDHE”), under 42 U.S.C. 1983, alleging violations of 42 U.S.C. 1396a(a)(23) and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The Plaintiffs sought a preliminary injunction enjoining Kansas from terminating the Providers from the state’s Medicaid program. "States may not terminate providers from their Medicaid program for any reason they see fit, especially when that reason is unrelated to the provider’s competence and the quality of the healthcare it provides." The Tenth Circuit joined four of five circuits that addressed this same provision and affirmed the district court’s injunction prohibiting Kansas from terminating its Medicaid contract with PPGP. But the Court vacated the district court’s injunction as it pertained to PPSLR, remanding for further proceedings on that issue, because Plaintiffs failed to establish standing to challenge that termination. But on this record, the Court could not determine whether PPSLR itself could establish standing, an issue the district court declined to decide but now must decide on remand. View "Planned Parenthood v. Andersen" on Justia Law

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The Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission issues separate classes of licenses to manufacturers and distillers, wholesalers, and liquor retailers, Tenn. Code 57-3-201. To obtain a license, an individual must have “been a bona fide resident of [Tennessee] during the two-year period immediately preceding the date upon which application is made.” The statute imposes a 10-year residency requirement to renew the license. A corporation cannot receive a license “if any officer, director or stockholder owning any capital stock in the corporation, would be ineligible to receive a retailer’s license for any reason specified” and all capital stock must be owned by individuals who meet the same residency requirements. Anticipating litigation, the state sought a declaratory judgment construing the constitutionality of the durational-residency requirements. The district court found the requirements facially discriminatory; held that state regulations of the retailer and wholesaler tiers are not immune from Commerce Clause scrutiny just because they do not discriminate against out-of-state liquor; concluded that nondiscriminatory alternatives could achieve the durational-residency requirements’ purposes—citizen health and alcohol regulation; and found that the requirements violate the dormant Commerce Clause. The Sixth Circuit affirmed and found the unconstitutional provisions severable. View "Byrd v. Tennessee Wine & Spirits Retailers Association" on Justia Law

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The Pennsylvania Supreme Court granted allocatur to determine whether the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (“PennDOT”) was liable for injuries caused by negligently and dangerously designed guardrails erected on Commonwealth real estate. Specifically, the Court found the issue reduced to whether the Commonwealth owed a duty of care when PennDOT installed a guardrail alleged to be dangerous. Pursuant to the plain language of the Sovereign Immunity Act, 42 Pa.C.S. sections 8521-8528, the Court found the Pennsylvania General Assembly waived PennDOT’s immunity as a bar to damages caused by dangerous guardrails affixed to Commonwealth real estate. Dean v. Dep’t of Transp., 751 A.2d 1130 (Pa. 2000) did not control under the facts presented here. The Court reversed the decision of the Commonwealth Court and remanded for further proceedings. View "Cagey v. PennDOT" on Justia Law

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The trial justice erred by requiring Defendants to continue to provide accidental disability pension benefits to Plaintiff and to place him on a waiting list to return to his position at the Providence Fire Department under section 17-189(8)(a) of the Providence Code of Ordinances. Rejecting the claim of Defendants - the City of Providence and the Retirement Board of the Employees Retirement System of the City of Providence - that Plaintiff could not return to work after an injury due to his other illnesses, the trial justice concluded that section 17-189(8)(a) required the Board to place Plaintiff on a waiting list for an opening in the fire department and, until Plaintiff was reappointed, and the City to continue to pay him accidental disability pension benefits. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that, under the clear and unambiguous language of the ordinance, the Board could not properly have placed Plaintiff on a list of candidates who were prepared to return to work, and the City was not required to pay indefinite accidental disability pension benefits to Plaintiff - a person who was no longer accidentally disabled but was otherwise unable to return to duty. View "Sauro v. Lombardi" on Justia Law

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This case arose from an agreement the parties entered into for the sale of appellant's radio station to Entercom upon approval by the FCC. The DC Circuit denied appellant's appeal and dismissed as moot his central claim challenging Entercom's legal eligibility to acquire the station. The court held that appellant's challenge to the FCC's application of the pre-2002 Order's local-market definition was moot and his remaining challenges to the FCC decision lacked merit. Accordingly, the court dismissed in part and denied in part. View "Stolz v. FCC" on Justia Law