Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit

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The DC Circuit denied the petition for review of the FCC's decision regarding the nationwide emergency alert system. Under the FCC's decision, when broadcasters receive emergency alerts from government entities, the broadcasters may, if they choose, broadcast the alerts only in English. The court held that Section 1 of the Communications Act, 47 U.S.C. 151, does not obligate the FCC to require broadcasters to translate emergency alerts and broadcast them in languages in addition to English. The court further held that it was not unreasonable for the FCC to gather more information from relevant parties before deciding whether to compel broadcasters to translate emergency alerts and broadcast them in languages in addition to English. View "Multicultural Media v. FCC" on Justia Law

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The Animal Welfare Act's (AWA), 7 U.S.C. 2133, compliance demonstration requirement does not unambiguously preclude USDA's license renewal scheme and the scheme is not facially unreasonable. In this case, plaintiffs filed suit challenging the USDA's most recent renewal of a license for animal exhibitors (Cricket Hollow Zoo), alleging that, at the time of the renewal, the agency was aware that Cricket Hollow was in violation of numerous animal welfare requirements under the Act and its implementing regulations. The DC Circuit held that the agency's renewal scheme was consistent with the demonstration requirement in section 2133. Because the agency's decision to renew the Cricket Hollow Zoo license was made in compliance with that regulatory scheme, it was not inconsistent with the Act. Therefore, the court affirmed the district court's judgment on the statutory claim; vacated the district court's order granting the Government's motion to dismiss plaintiffs' arbitrary and capricious claim; and remanded to the district court with instructions to remand the record to the agency for further proceedings. View "Animal Legal Defense Fund v. Perdue" on Justia Law

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The City petitioned for review of the FAA's letter, characterizing it as a final order, that addressed the noise complaints stemming from its change of flight routes in and out of Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. The DC Circuit held that petitioners had reasonable grounds for their delay in filing and reached the merits of their petitions. The court also held that the FAA's approval of the new flight routes was arbitrary and capricious and violated the National Historic Preservation Act because the FAA's failure to notify and provide documentation to the City of the agency’s finding of no adverse impact denied the City its right to participate in the process and object to the findings. The FAA also violated the National Environmental Policy Act, the Department of Transportation Act; and the FAA's Order 1050.1E. Accordingly, the court granted the petitions for review, vacated the FAA's September 18, 2014 order implementing the new flight routes and procedures, and remanded. View "Phoenix v. Huerta" on Justia Law

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After the FCC denied SNR and Northstar's application to use bidding credits to purchase wireless spectrum licenses, SNR and Northstar bought some of the licenses at full price and relinquished the rest to the FCC. The FCC fined the petitioners hundreds of millions of dollars for failing to comply with the auction terms that required all bidders to purchase the licenses they won. The DC Circuit held that the FCC reasonably determined that DISH exercised de facto control over SNR and Northstar's businesses; but the FCC did not give SNR and Northstar adequate notice that, if their relationships with DISH cost them their bidding credits, the FCC would also deny them an opportunity to cure. Accordingly, the court remanded for the FCC to give petitioners an opportunity to seek to negotiate a cure for the de facto control the FCC found that DISH exercised over them. View "SNR Wireless LicenseCo, LLC v. FCC" on Justia Law

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This appeal involved two antipsychotic drugs primarily used to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder: Abilify Maitena, manufactured by Otsuka; and Aristada, manufactured by Alkermes. Otsuka sought judicial review, contending that the FDA's same-moiety limitation on the scope of a drug's marketing exclusivity conflicted with the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA), 21 U.S.C. 355(a). The DC Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for the FDA and Alkermes, holding that the FDA's same-moiety test was a reasonable construction of the statute and was consistent with the agency’s regulations. View "Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co. v. Price" on Justia Law

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Sierra Club challenged the Commission's decision approving the construction and operation of three new interstate natural-gas pipelines in the southeastern United States. Determining that it has jurisdiction to entertain Sierra Club's claims, the DC Circuit held that the Commission's environmental impact statement did not contain enough information on the greenhouse-gas emissions that will result from burning the gas that the pipelines will carry. However, the Commission acted properly in all other respects. Accordingly, the court granted Sierra Club's petition for review and remanded for preparation of a conforming environmental impact statement. View "Sierra Club v. FERC" on Justia Law

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The Hospitals challenged HHS's implementation of a Medicare outlier-payment program in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The Hospitals contend that HHS violated the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), 5 U.S.C. 551 et seq., by failing to identify and appropriately respond to flaws in its methodology that enabled certain "turbo-charging" hospitals to manipulate the system and receive excessive payments at the expense of non-turbo-charging hospitals, including the Hospitals. The DC Circuit held that District Hospital Partners, L.P. v. Burwell, 786 F.3d 46 (D.C. Cir. 2015), controlled to the extent that the Hospitals repeated challenges decided in that case. In regard to the remaining challenges, the court affirmed the district court's denials of the Hospitals' motions to supplement the record and to amend their complaint, and its decision that HHS acted reasonably in a manner consistent with the Medicare Act in fiscal years (FYs) 1997 through 2003, and 2007. However, because HHS inadequately explained aspects of the calculations for FYs 2004 through 2006, the court reversed summary judgment in that regard and remanded for further proceedings. View "Banner Health v. Price" on Justia Law

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The Hospitals challenged HHS's implementation of a Medicare outlier-payment program in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The Hospitals contend that HHS violated the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), 5 U.S.C. 551 et seq., by failing to identify and appropriately respond to flaws in its methodology that enabled certain "turbo-charging" hospitals to manipulate the system and receive excessive payments at the expense of non-turbo-charging hospitals, including the Hospitals. The DC Circuit held that District Hospital Partners, L.P. v. Burwell, 786 F.3d 46 (D.C. Cir. 2015), controlled to the extent that the Hospitals repeated challenges decided in that case. In regard to the remaining challenges, the court affirmed the district court's denials of the Hospitals' motions to supplement the record and to amend their complaint, and its decision that HHS acted reasonably in a manner consistent with the Medicare Act in fiscal years (FYs) 1997 through 2003, and 2007. However, because HHS inadequately explained aspects of the calculations for FYs 2004 through 2006, the court reversed summary judgment in that regard and remanded for further proceedings. View "Banner Health v. Price" on Justia Law

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Sierra Club challenged the Department's grant of an application to export liquified natural gas (LNG) using terminals and liquefaction facilities (Freeport Terminal) on Quintana Island. On the merits, the DC Circuit held that the Department did not fail to fulfill its obligations under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) by declining to make specific projections about environmental impacts stemming from specific levels of export-induced gas production; the Department did not fail to fulfill its obligations with respect to the potential for the U.S. electric power sector to switch from gas to coal in response to higher gas prices; the court rejected Sierra Club's challenges to the Department's examination of the potential greenhouse-gas emissions resulting from the indirect effects of exports; and Sierra Club has given the court no reason to question the Department's judgment that the FLEX application was not inconsistent with the public interest. Accordingly, the court denied the petition for review. View "Sierra Club v. DOE" on Justia Law

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SecurityPoint, which contracts with airports to participate in an advertising program established by the TSA, petitioned for review of the TSA's decision to revise its memorandum of understanding (MOU) used with participating airports. The DC Circuit denied the petition for review, holding that the agency's decision was not arbitrary and capricious but rather demonstrated a rational connection between the facts found and the choice made. Unlike the TSA's 2013 letter, its 2015 letter also provided the brief statement of the grounds for denial required by 5 U.S.C. 555(e); it fully explained why the agency chose to do what it did. Furthermore, TSA's decision was not an attempt to punish SecurityPoint for having sued the agency. View "SecurityPoint Holdings, Inc. v. TSA" on Justia Law