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The New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department (the Department) appealed a Court of Appeals decision to reverse the district court’s termination of Father’s parental rights with regard to Child. Mother and Father reported that Father had been standing and rocking Child when he accidentally dropped her on the carpet. Child was in critical condition, having sustained multiple fractures, including twenty-three rib fractures and four skull fractures in various stages of healing, facial bruising, liver lacerations, brain bleeding, and a possible detached retina. Doctors determined that the “volume, distribution, and severity of [Child’s] injuries [were] not consistent with a short fall in the home” and instead evidenced multiple incidents of blunt force trauma to Child’s head and body. Child was severely physically and mentally impaired as a result of the injuries. The Court of Appeals concluded that the Department failed to make reasonable efforts to assist Father in remedying the conditions and causes of neglect and abuse that rendered Father unable to properly care for Child. The New Mexico Supreme Court granted certiorari to review whether the district court’s determination that the Department made reasonable efforts to assist Father was supported by substantial evidence. The Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeals opinion and affirmed the district court order terminating Father’s parental rights. View "New Mexico ex rel. CYFD v. Keon H." on Justia Law

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Petitioner-Appellant Azael Bedolla-Zarate, a native and citizen of Mexico, petitioned the Tenth Circuit for review of a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Final Administrative Removal Order (FARO) based upon his having been convicted of an aggravated felony. Bedolla-Zarate was convicted of third-degree sexual abuse of a minor in Wyoming state court in September 2016. He contended that his conviction did not qualify as an aggravated felony. The Tenth Circuit found a person convicted under the Wyoming sexual abuse of a minor statute necessarily has committed sexual abuse of a minor under the INA, therefore DHS properly issued a FARO against Bedolla-Zarate for committing an aggravated felony under the INA. The Court denied review. View "Bedolla-Zarate v. Sessions" on Justia Law

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This case arose from respondent Public Service Company of Colorado’s (“Xcel’s”) challenge to the City of Boulder’s attempt to create a light and power utility. Xcel argued that the ordinance establishing the utility, Ordinance No. 7969 (the “Utility Ordinance”), violated article XIII, section 178 of Boulder’s City Charter. Xcel thus sought a declaratory judgment deeming the Utility Ordinance “ultra vires, null, void, and of no effect.” Petitioners, the City of Boulder, its mayor, mayor pro tem, and city council members (collectively, “Boulder”), argued Xcel’s complaint was, in reality, a C.R.C.P. 106 challenge to a prior ordinance, Ordinance No. 7917 (the “Metrics Ordinance”), by which Boulder had concluded that it could meet certain metrics regarding the costs, efficiency, and reliability of such a utility. Boulder contended this challenge was untimely and thereby deprived the district court of jurisdiction to hear Xcel’s complaint. The district court agreed with Boulder and dismissed Xcel’s complaint. Xcel appealed, and in a unanimous, published decision, a division of the court of appeals vacated the district court’s judgment. As relevant here, the division, like the district court, presumed that Xcel was principally proceeding under C.R.C.P. 106. The division concluded, however, that neither the Metrics Ordinance nor the Utility Ordinance was final, and therefore, Xcel’s complaint was premature. The division thus vacated the district court’s judgment. Although the Colorado Supreme Court agreed with Boulder that the division erred, contrary to Boulder’s position and the premises on which the courts below proceeded, the Supreme Court agreed with Xcel that its complaint asserted a viable and timely claim seeking a declaration that the Utility Ordinance violated Boulder’s City Charter. Accordingly, the Supreme Court concluded the district court had jurisdiction to hear Xcel’s declaratory judgment claim challenging the Utility Ordinance, and remanded this case to allow that claim to proceed. View "City of Boulder v. Public Service Company of Colorado" on Justia Law

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Fourteen-year-old E.A. and her eleven-year old sister, M.A. (together minors or children) had been living in what the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency (Agency) described as "deplorable" conditions. Minors, both United States citizens, were living with their parents in Tijuana in an abandoned home with no electricity, no potable water, and with cockroaches crawling near minors' bed. The children had not been to school for over a year. They looked anorexic because J.A. (Mother) and Z.A. (Father) (together parents) fed them only one meal a day. When ruling in dependency proceedings, "'the welfare of the minor is the paramount concern of the court.'" At the time of the dispositive hearing in this case, there was no evidence that the minors' living conditions had changed. However, misinterpreting Welfare and Institutions Code section 300(g), and misapplying Allen M. v. Superior Court (1992) 6 Cal.App.4th 1069, the juvenile court dismissed the dependency petitions. The minors appealed. The Agency conceded court erred, but claimed the Court of Appeal should affirm because the errors were harmless. The Court of Appeal concluded the court's errors were prejudicial and, therefore, reversed with directions to deny the Agency's motion to dismiss the petitions. View "In re E.A." on Justia Law

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Saint Francis surgical staff left a sponge in a patient during surgery. The Department of Public Health imposed a $50,000 fine for not having and assuring compliance with appropriate sponge-count policies. An ALJ found no basis for the fine, concluding that Saint Francis had adequate policies and procedures. The Department rejected the ALJ’s proposed decision and affirmed the fine. The decision, “effective immediately,” was served on Saint Francis by certified mail on December 16. On December 30, Saint Francis requested reconsideration. The Department answered without notifying Saint Francis that the request was invalid and denied it on January 14, 2016. Also on January 14, apparently not knowing that the request was denied, Saint Francis e-mailed a Department attorney that it intended to seek judicial review, indicating a proposed timeline. The Department attorney responded, “I believe you are correct.” Saint Francis filed its petition on January 26. The court dismissed the petition as not filed within 30 days (Government Code 11521). The court of appeal affirmed. The dismissal caused no grave injustice and applying estoppel would defeat the public policy of strictly construing the filing period for challenging an agency’s final decision. The Department made no affirmative representations to incite the mistake. The mistake was made in good faith and Saint Francis notified the Department of its intent to file a writ petition, but that is insufficient to toll the running of the 30-day period. View "Saint Francis Memorial Hospital v. California Department of Public.Health" on Justia Law

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Saint Francis surgical staff left a sponge in a patient during surgery. The Department of Public Health imposed a $50,000 fine for not having and assuring compliance with appropriate sponge-count policies. An ALJ found no basis for the fine, concluding that Saint Francis had adequate policies and procedures. The Department rejected the ALJ’s proposed decision and affirmed the fine. The decision, “effective immediately,” was served on Saint Francis by certified mail on December 16. On December 30, Saint Francis requested reconsideration. The Department answered without notifying Saint Francis that the request was invalid and denied it on January 14, 2016. Also on January 14, apparently not knowing that the request was denied, Saint Francis e-mailed a Department attorney that it intended to seek judicial review, indicating a proposed timeline. The Department attorney responded, “I believe you are correct.” Saint Francis filed its petition on January 26. The court dismissed the petition as not filed within 30 days (Government Code 11521). The court of appeal affirmed. The dismissal caused no grave injustice and applying estoppel would defeat the public policy of strictly construing the filing period for challenging an agency’s final decision. The Department made no affirmative representations to incite the mistake. The mistake was made in good faith and Saint Francis notified the Department of its intent to file a writ petition, but that is insufficient to toll the running of the 30-day period. View "Saint Francis Memorial Hospital v. California Department of Public.Health" on Justia Law

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Under the Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act, “Class III” medical devices are those that support or sustain human life, that are of substantial importance in preventing impairment of human health, or that present a potential, unreasonable risk of illness or injury, 21 U.S.C. 360c(a)(1)(A), and must undergo scientific and regulatory review before they are marketed. Henson, a diabetic, sent the Food and Drug Administration requests under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552, seeking documents related to the premarket approval process for a glucose monitoring system, claiming to have observed deficiencies with his monitor. The agency produced documents. Henson was not satisfied with the response, so he sued. The agency reprocessed Henson’s requests and provided him with responsive documents totaling 8,000 pages plus a “Vaughn index,”listing each redacted or withheld document cross-referenced with the FOIA exemption that the FDA asserted was applicable. The FDA explained that it did not respond to all of Henson’s requests because the requested materials were either outside of the Act’s scope, duplicative of Henson’s other requests, or available on the agency’s website. The Seventh Circuit affirmed the rejection of Henson’s suit on summary judgment. The agency’s search for responsive documents and the application of exemptions were reasonable. View "Henson v. Department of Health and Human Services" on Justia Law

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Under the Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act, “Class III” medical devices are those that support or sustain human life, that are of substantial importance in preventing impairment of human health, or that present a potential, unreasonable risk of illness or injury, 21 U.S.C. 360c(a)(1)(A), and must undergo scientific and regulatory review before they are marketed. Henson, a diabetic, sent the Food and Drug Administration requests under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552, seeking documents related to the premarket approval process for a glucose monitoring system, claiming to have observed deficiencies with his monitor. The agency produced documents. Henson was not satisfied with the response, so he sued. The agency reprocessed Henson’s requests and provided him with responsive documents totaling 8,000 pages plus a “Vaughn index,”listing each redacted or withheld document cross-referenced with the FOIA exemption that the FDA asserted was applicable. The FDA explained that it did not respond to all of Henson’s requests because the requested materials were either outside of the Act’s scope, duplicative of Henson’s other requests, or available on the agency’s website. The Seventh Circuit affirmed the rejection of Henson’s suit on summary judgment. The agency’s search for responsive documents and the application of exemptions were reasonable. View "Henson v. Department of Health and Human Services" on Justia Law

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This case arose out of disputed collective bargaining negotiations between City of Fairbanks and Public Safety Employees Association, AFSCME Local 803 (PSEA). PSEA was the labor representative for the City’s police and dispatch employees. The issue this appeal presented for the Alaska Supreme Court's review centered on whether the city council’s reconsideration and ultimate rejection of a labor agreement constituted an unfair labor practice under Alaska’s Public Employer Relations Act (the Act). An Alaska Labor Relations Agency (ALRA) panel concluded a violation occurred, and on appeal the superior court affirmed that ruling. The Supreme Court determined the record did not support a finding of bad faith on the city’s part, and because the failure to ratify the agreement alone could not be a violation of the Act, the Court reversed the superior court’s decision affirming the ALRA panel’s ruling. View "Public Safety Employees Association v. City of Fairbanks" on Justia Law

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Petitioners, CREW and its executive director, filed suit alleging that the Commission acted "contrary to law" in 2015 when it dismissed their administrative complaint against an unincorporated association. On appeal, CREW raised the judicial review provision of the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). The DC Circuit affirmed, holding that the Commission's dismissal of the complaint constituted the "agency action" supporting the district court's jurisdiction. In this case, the district court held that the Commission's explanation of its failure to prosecute was a rational exercise of prosecutorial discretion. The court dismissed CREW's arguments to the contrary. The court addressed remaining issues and the dissent's position before affirming the judgment. View "Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington v. FEC" on Justia Law