Justia Government & Administrative Law Opinion Summaries
State ex rel. Lambert v. Medina County Bd. of Elections
The Supreme Court denied Petitioner's request seeking writ of mandamus compelling the Medina County Board of Elections to place a local liquor option on the November 7, 2023 general election ballot in this expedited election case, holding that Petitioner's petition was invalid in its entirety under Ohio Rev. Code 4301.333(C)(2).Petitioner sought from the board of elections a petition for the purpose of obtaining a permit that would allow him to serve liquor on Sundays. The board of elections denied the petition, concluding that Petitioner's failure to attach the affidavit required under section 4301.333 meant that his petition was invalid under section 4301.333(C)(2). Petitioner subsequently sought mandamus relief seeking an order compelling the board to place a local liquor option on the ballot or, alternatively, an order compelling the board to provide him with certain information. The Supreme Court denied the writ, holding (1) Petitioner did not advance a compelling reason as to why the local option should be placed on the ballot; and (2) Petitioner was not entitled to mandamus relief based on any failure of the board of elections to follow the procedure set forth in Ohio Rev. Code 4301.33. View "State ex rel. Lambert v. Medina County Bd. of Elections" on Justia Law
Whitefish 57 Commercial, LLC v. City of Whitefish
The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court granting summary judgment in favor of the City of Whitefish and affirming the Whitefish City Council's decisions to deny a conditional use permit (CUP) and grant Resolution 21-43, which denied the permit, holding that there was no error in the proceedings below.Whitefish 57 Commercial, LLC and Rimrock Companies, LLC (collectively, Appellants) applied for a CUP to develop a hotel on a lot of their subdivision. After a public hearing on the development project the Council adopted Resolution 21-43 that denied the permit. Appellants appealed, claiming that the Council abused its discretion in denying their CUP. The district court granted summary judgment against Appellants. View "Whitefish 57 Commercial, LLC v. City of Whitefish" on Justia Law
United States ex rel. Kenneth Kraemer v. United Dairies, L.L.P.
Kenneth Kraemer and Kraemer Farms, LLC (collectively, “Plaintiffs”) commenced this qui tam action under the False Claims Act (“FCA”), against United Dairies, other dairy farms, and their partners and agents (“Defendants”) alleging that they knowingly filed false crop insurance claims. Plaintiffs’ FCA Complaint alleged that Defendants (1) fraudulently obtained crop insurance payments by falsely reporting a silage-use-only variety of corn as grain and using that false statement to obtain the payments, and (2) were unjustly enriched by receiving the payments. The district court held that Defendants submitted materially false claims but denied Plaintiffs FCA relief because they failed to prove that Defendants knowingly defrauded the United States. However, the court found that certain Defendants had been unjustly enriched and awarded damages to the United States. The United States then filed a post-trial motion urging the district court to vacate or amend its judgment because Plaintiffs do not have standing to seek common law unjust enrichment relief on behalf of the United States. The district court granted the motion and vacated its judgment for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The Eighth Circuit affirmed. The court explained that the dismissal of Plaintiffs’ FCA claims must be affirmed even if Plaintiffs are correct that the district court erred in ruling that any violations were not knowing. The court wrote that because it concludes that Defendants in submitting Acreage Reporting Forms supporting their crop insurance applications did not submit materially false claims for crop insurance payments, Plaintiffs contention -the district court applied the wrong legal standard in denying FCA relief on other grounds is of no moment. View "United States ex rel. Kenneth Kraemer v. United Dairies, L.L.P." on Justia Law
In re Application of East Ohio Gas Co.
The Supreme Court affirmed the orders of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio approving a stipulation that authorized Dominion Energy Ohio to implement its capital expenditure program rider (CEP Rider), holding that the Commission's orders were not unlawful or unreasonable.Dominion filed an application to recover the costs of its capital expenditure program by establishing the CEP Rider at issue. Dominion and the Commission jointly filed a stipulation asking the Commission to approve the application subject to the staff's recommendations. The Commission modified and approved the stipulation. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the Commission did not violate an important regulatory principle in adopting the 9.91 percent rate of return; (2) the Commission did not inconsistently apply its precedent; (3) the Commission did not violate Ohio Rev. Code 4903.09; and (4) Appellants' manifest-weight-of-the-evidence argument failed. View "In re Application of East Ohio Gas Co." on Justia Law
State ex rel. Ohioans for Reproductive Rights v. Ohio Ballot Bd.
The Supreme Court granted a limited writ of mandamus ordering Secretary of State Frank LaRose to reconvene the Ohio Ballot Board and directed the ballot board to adopt ballot language that accurately described a proposed amendment regulating actions of the "State," holding that the term "citizens of the State" in the ballot language was misleading.At issue was a constitutional amendment proposed by initiative petition titled "The Right to Reproductive Freedom with protections for Health and Safety" and the ballot language adopted by the ballot board for the November 7, 2023 election. Relators sought a writ of mandamus. The Supreme Court granted a limited writ ordering the ballot board and LaRose to reconvene and adopt ballot language that accurately conveyed that the proposed amendment limited the ability of the state, as defined by the amendment, to burden, penalize, or prohibit abortion. View "State ex rel. Ohioans for Reproductive Rights v. Ohio Ballot Bd." on Justia Law
St. John v. Garland
The First Circuit denied Petitioner's petition for review of the Board of Immigration Appeals' (BIA) decision dismissing Sandra St. John's appeal from the judgment of the Immigration Judge (IJ) denying her statutory motion to reopen, holding that there was no abuse of discretion in the agency's denial of St. John's statutory motion to reopen.The Department of Homeland Security initiated removal proceedings against St. John based on her conviction for mayhem in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. After going into ICE custody, St. John filed a motion in the Massachusetts superior court asking it to vacate her mayhem conviction and grant a new trial on ineffective assistance of trial grounds. St. John then moved for reopening of her removal proceedings on the grounds that her motion to vacate had rendered the mayhem conviction nonfinal for immigration purposes. The IJ denied the motion, and the BIA dismissed the appeal. The First Circuit denied Petitioner's petition for review, holding that the agency did not abuse its discretion in declining to reopen the order of removal based on final criminal convictions. View "St. John v. Garland" on Justia Law
Woodland v. Dept. of Rev.
Taxpayer Walter Woodland appealed the Oregon Department of Revenue’s assessment of $116 in interest for unpaid estimated taxes in 2019. During the pendency of that appeal, the department invalidated the assessment and agreed that taxpayer did not owe that interest. The Regular Division of the Oregon Tax Court accordingly dismissed taxpayer’s appeal as moot. The Oregon Supreme Court affirmed. View "Woodland v. Dept. of Rev." on Justia Law
Elisa W. v. City of New York
Plaintiffs-appellants, nineteen children in New York City’s foster care system, filed suit alleging “systemic deficiencies” in the administration of the City’s foster care system in violation of federal and state law. The named Plaintiffs moved to represent a class of all children who are now or will be in the foster care custody of the Commissioner of New York City’s Administration for Children’s Services and two subclasses. As remedies, they sought injunctive and declaratory relief to redress alleged class-wide injuries caused by deficiencies in the City’s administration—and the New York State Office of Children and Family Services’ oversight—of foster care. The district court denied Plaintiffs’ motion for class certification. Plaintiffs appealed, arguing that the district court erred in its analysis of the commonality and typicality requirements under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(a). The Second Circuit vacated the district court’s order denying class certification and remanded. The court held that the district court erred in its analysis of commonality and typicality under Rule 23. The court explained that the district court did not determine whether commonality and typicality exist with respect to each of Plaintiffs’ claims. Instead, it concluded that commonality was lacking as to all alleged harms because “Plaintiffs’ allegations do not flow from unitary, non-discretionary policies.” The court held that this approach was legal error requiring remand. Further, the court wrote that here, the district court largely relied upon its commonality analysis to support its finding that typicality was not satisfied. Thus, the deficiencies identified in its commonality inquiry can also be found in its handling of typicality. View "Elisa W. v. City of New York" on Justia Law
State ex rel. Fluty v. Raiff
The Supreme Court denied a writ of mandamus sought under Ohio's Public Records Act, Ohio Rev. Code 149.43, by Ashley Fluty against the City of Broadview Heights as well as Fluty's requests for statutory damages, attorney fees, and court costs, holding that Fluty was not entitled to any of the requested relief.Fluty brought this action seeking to compel Broadview Heights to produce records related to an incident of suspected child abuse and also requested awards of statutory damages, attorney fees, and court costs. The Supreme Court denied all requested relief, holding (1) Fluty failed to show that she had a clear legal right to the requested writ of mandamus and that Broadview Heights had a clear legal duty to provide it; (2) Fluty's arguments supporting her claim for an award of statutory damages were unavailing; and (3) attorney fees and court costs were improper because Broadview Heights did not engage in bad faith. View "State ex rel. Fluty v. Raiff" on Justia Law
Roberts v. Cuthper
In April 2019, Kevin Roberts applied to Judge Clarence Cuthpert, Jr., probate judge for Rockdale County, for a weapons carry license pursuant to OCGA § 16-11-129. Judge Cuthpert denied Roberts’s application, finding that Roberts’s criminal history revealed five arrests between 1992 and 2004 for aggravated assault, affray, obstruction of the judiciary, cruelty to children in the first degree, simple battery, battery, and family violence battery. Judge Cuthpert noted that Roberts’s criminal history did not list the dispositions of Roberts’s arrests for obstruction of the judiciary or simple battery, but the other arrests had dispositions of not prosecuted, dismissed, or nolle prossed. Judge Cuthpert concluded that Roberts “lack[ed] good moral character . . . [d]ue to his arrest[s] for several violent offenses” and that “the court need[ed] additional information[, including police reports,] to determine if this application should be approved.” After reconsideration, Judge Cuthpert again denied the petition, concluding that, “[b]ased upon [Roberts’s] history of violent offenses and failure to comply with the Court’s instructions to provide the incident reports and dispositions for [his previous five arrests],” Roberts was “not of good moral character.” Roberts thereafter filed a complaint seeking mandamus relief against Judge Cuthpert “in his official capacity,” declaratory judgment against Judge Cuthpert “in both his official and individual capacities,” and costs and attorney’s fees. The Georgia Supreme Court held that the General Assembly waived sovereign immunity for claims brought under OCGA § 16-11-129 (j) and that the Separation of Powers Provision of the Georgia Constitution was not implicated by the recovery of costs, including reasonable attorney’s fees, against a probate judge pursuant to OCGA § 16-11-129 (j) because processing a weapons carry license did not involve the exercise of judicial power. The Court also concluded the probate judge in this case waived the defense of judicial immunity on the costs-and-fees claim asserted against him in his official capacity. View "Roberts v. Cuthper" on Justia Law