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Lippman owns Oakland rental property. The Building Services Department cited Lippman for blight and substandard living conditions. He sought administrative review. A hearing officer found that Lippman was in violation of ordinances for each citation; that testimony supported a finding that the property was blighted and abatement did not occur until after fees were assessed; and that testimony supported a finding that the substandard living conditions inside the property had not been abated. Lippman’s appeals were denied. Lippman claimed that his appeals should have been heard before the city council or an appeals board instead of a single hearing examiner. The trial court found that state law did not prohibit the use of a single hearing examiner and granted relief as to the blight citations. The city noticed a new administrative hearing. As to the substandard living conditions citation, the writ was denied. Lippman appealed, seeking to compel the city to hear administrative appeals before the city council or an appeals board pursuant to the Building Code. The court of appeal reversed, finding that the city’s current administrative appeal process for deciding appeals from Building Services citations conflicts with the Building Code and is contrary to the plain language of the State Housing Law. View "Lippman v. City of Oakland" on Justia Law

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In 1987, African‐Americans filed suit against Chicago Heights, alleging dilution of voting opportunity. The election practices at issue were found to violate the Voting Rights Act, 52 U.S.C. 10101. Appellants split from other class plaintiffs and objected to the first consent decree; they have been the main opposition to proposed remedies. In 2010, the district court entered a consent decree, establishing a seven‐ward, single aldermanic form of government; including a ward map that complied with constitutional requirements; and requiring the city to reapportion the wards as the population changed. The subsequent 2010 census showed that the wards’ populations had changed, requiring reapportionment. After public comment, the city approved its redrawn ward map and sought approval of that map. Appellants objected and sought leave to file their own map for implementation by the court. The court held that the Decree gave the city the exclusive right to reapportion the wards. The city’s map still contained seven wards, each with an individual population deviation of less than 10 percent. However, the overall deviation was 12.65%. The Seventh Circuit affirmed that the proposed map is constitutional. The city presented sufficient justification and made a good faith effort to reapportion the map with the smallest population deviations practicable, using legitimate and nondiscriminatory objectives, such as maintaining historical and natural boundary lines where possible, and easing voter confusion by redrawing unusual boundaries. View "McCoy v. Chicago Heights Election Commission" on Justia Law

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A jeweler and a coin dealer brought facial and as-applied Fourth Amendment challenges to warrantless search provisions in Ohio’s Precious Metals Dealers Act (PMDA). Section 4728.05(A) allows the state to “investigate the business” of licensees and non-licensees with “free access to the books and papers thereof and other sources of information with regard to the[ir] business[es].” Section 4728.06 requires licensees to maintain records, at the licensed premises in a state-approve form, open to inspection by the head of the local police department and, “upon demand,” to show authorities any precious metal within their possession that is listed in these records. Section 4728.07 requires licensees to keep separate records, available to local police “every business day.” Ohio Administrative Code 1301:8-6-03(D), allows the state to inspect “at all times” all sources of information "with regard to the business of the licensee” and requires that licensees maintain their records and inventory at the licensed location. The Sixth Circuit held that the warrantless searches authorized by O.R.C. 4728.05(A) are facially unconstitutional, as not necessary to furthering the state’s interest in recovering stolen jewelry and coins; nor do they serve as adequate warrant substitutes because they are overly broad. The Sixth Circuit upheld sections 4728.06 and 4728.07 as facially constitutional. The state has a substantial interest in regulating precious metals; the provisions are narrowly tailored to address the state’s proffered need to curb the market in stolen precious metals. The court dismissed as-applied challenges to sections 4728.06 and 4728.07 as not ripe. View "Liberty Coins, LLC v. Goodman" on Justia Law

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Petitioner Jane Norton sued Rocky Mountain Planned Parenthood, Inc. (“RMPP”), Governor John W. Hickenlooper, the Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing, and the Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (“CDPHE”), for violating section 50 of the Colorado Constitution. Prior to filing this suit as a private citizen, Norton had served as Executive Director of CDPHE. In 2001, while serving in that role, Norton hired an accounting firm to determine whether RMPP was “separately incorporated, maintain[ed] separate facilities, and maintain[ed] financial records which demonstrate[d] financial independence” from Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains Services Corporation (“Services Corp.”), an organization that offered abortion services. The accounting firm determined that RMPP was “subsidizing the rent for Services Corp., an affiliate that performs abortions.” From this information, Norton concluded that whenever CDPHE provided funding to RMPP, it was violating section 50. As a result, Norton terminated the State’s contractual relationship with RMPP and ceased all taxpayer funding of that organization. In 2009, after Norton had left CDPHE, the State resumed making payments to RMPP, prompting Norton to file this lawsuit in which she sought declaratory and injunctive relief against the State officials and pursued a claim of unjust enrichment against RMPP. The issue this case presented for the Colorado Supreme Court’s review centered on whether a complaint alleging a violation of article V, section 50 of the Colorado Constitution based solely on a theory of subsidization states a claim for relief sufficient to overcome a motion to dismiss pursuant to C.R.C.P. 12(b)(5). The Supreme Court held that it did not; instead, to state a claim for relief under section 50, a complaint must allege that the State made a payment to a person or entity - whether directly to that person or entity, or indirectly through an intermediary - for the purpose of compensating them for performing an abortion and that such an abortion was actually performed. View "Norton v. Rocky Mountain Planned Parenthood, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Clean Water Act, 33 U.S.C. 1362, prohibits “any addition of any pollutant to navigable waters,” defined as “the waters of the United States.” Section 1311(a) contains exceptions, including permitting schemes under the EPA's National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) program and an Army Corps of Engineers program, which encompass the “waters of the United States.” The EPA and the Corps proffered the “Waters of the United States (WOTUS) Rule,” which “imposes no enforceable duty on any state, local, or tribal governments, or the private sector,” 80 Fed. Reg. 37102 and “does not establish any regulatory requirements.” Objectors challenged the Rule in district courts. Many filed “protective” petitions in Circuit Courts to preserve their challenges should their district court lawsuits be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction under 33 U.S.C. 1369(b), which enumerates EPA actions for which review lies directly and exclusively in the federal courts of appeals. Such actions include EPA actions “approving or promulgating any effluent limitation or other limitation under section 1311, 1312, 1316, or 1345,” and EPA actions “issuing or denying any permit under section 1342.” The Sixth Circuit denied motions to dismiss consolidated actions. The Supreme Court reversed. The Rule falls outside section 1369(b)(1), so challenges must be filed in district courts. It is not an “effluent limitation,” “on quantities, rates, and concentrations” of pollutants, nor is it an “other limitation under section 1311; it simply announces a regulatory definition. The Rule was promulgated under section 1361(a), which grants the EPA general rulemaking authority. The Rule neither issues nor denies NPDES permits under section 1342. View "National Association of Manufacturers. v. Department of Defense" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the district court reversing the Iowa Department of Economic Development’s (IDED) decision (the 2016 action) to revoke tax credits that had previously been awarded by IDED to Ghost Player, LLC (the 2012 action). On appeal, IDED argued that the district court erred in ruling that the 2016 action revoking the tax credits was an invalid collateral attack on the agency’s 2012 action and was barred under the doctrine of claim preclusion. The Supreme Court agreed, holding that the IDED’s decision to award tax credits to Ghost Player in the 2012 action was not entitled to preclusive effect that would prohibit IDED from attempting to revoke those tax credits in light of the discovery of fraud. View "Ghost Player, LLC v. Iowa Department of Economic Development" on Justia Law

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The Councils petitioned for review of the Commission's decision to issue a license to Strata to mine uranium in Crook County, Wyoming. The DC Circuit denied the petition and rejected the Councils' claims that the Board was at fault for refusing to migrate Contention No. 4/5A and to admit Contention No. 6, and the Councils' challenge to the final environmental impact statement. The court held that, although the procedure followed by the Commission in this matter was not ideal, the Commission did not violate the National Environmental Procedure Act, 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq., nor the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. 706(2)(A). Furthermore, the Councils have not identified any substantive flaws in the Commission's decisions. View "Natural Resources Defense Council v. NRC" on Justia Law

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Petitioners challenged two sets of orders issued by the Commission regarding a scarcity pricing mechanism in the New England power market. The DC Circuit held that the exhaustion requirements of the Federal Power Act (FPA), 16 U.S.C. 824d, deprived it of jurisdiction over the petition to review the Tariff Order. Therefore, the court dismissed the petition in Case No. 16-1023. The court held, on the merits, that the Commission was not arbitrary or capricious in denying petitioners' complaint and thus denied the petition in Case No. 16-1024 seeking review of the Complaint Order. View "New England Power Generators Association v. FERC" on Justia Law

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After a previous remand of this case, the First Circuit addressed whether the district court’s ruling in favor of Claimant on her claim for disability benefits based on chronic and severe pain was correct and whether the district court abused its discretion in failing to impose sanctions on one of Claimant’s attorneys. On the first appeal, the First Circuit remanded the case for additional administrative proceedings. On remand, Appellant again denied Claimant’s claim. Appellant appealed. The district court ruled in Claimant’s favor. On appeal, Appellant challenged the district court’s view of the expanded administrative record and the district court’s refusal to impose sanctions on one of Claimant’s attorneys. On cross-appeal, Claimant challenged the district court’s calculations of prejudgment interest and attorney’s fees. The First Circuit (1) affirmed the district court’s rulings on the disability claim and sanctions; but (2) vacated the prejudgment interest award and remanded for consideration of the appropriate rate of interest. View "Gross v. Sun Life Assurance Co. of Canada" on Justia Law

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The DOJ appealed the district court's order requiring the agency to produce two documents contained within the USABook, an internal DOJ resource manual for federal prosecutors, in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552, request. The DOJ explained that the documents, which relate to the DOJ's use of electronic surveillance and tracking devices in criminal investigations, were exempt from production. The Ninth Circuit held that only the the limited portions of the USABook documents that present original legal analyses, not purely descriptive and not already incorporated in public documents, to guide federal prosecutors in litigation, were properly withheld as attorney work product under Exemption 5; the withheld documents in this case did not provide details or means of deploying law enforcement techniques that would bring them under FOIA Exemption 7(E); and thus the panel remanded to the district court to determine which portions of the documents could be segregated under Exemption 5 and which must be disclosed. View "ACLU v. USDOJ" on Justia Law