Justia Government & Administrative Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
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In this case involving litigation over milk price regulation in Puerto Rico the First Circuit vacated the judgment of the district court granting ORIL's motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim and remanded to the district court with instructions to return the case to the Puerto Rico Court of First Instance, holding that the district court lacked federal subject matter jurisdiction over this dispute.Industria Lechera de Puerto Rico, Inc. (Indulac) filed a challenge to the 2017 price order issued by the Milk Industry Regulation Administration for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico in the Puerto Rico Court of First Instance, arguing that ORIL had failed to comply with certain procedural administrative requirements before issuing the order. ORIL filed a notice of removal, asserting federal jurisdiction based on 28 U.S.C. 1331 and 1441(a) and (c). The district court found that it had jurisdiction and then granted ORIL's motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim. The Supreme Court vacated the judgment, holding that federal courts lacked jurisdiction over this matter. View "Industria Lechera de Puerto Rico, Inc. v. Flores" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit vacated the order of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) affirming the order of the immigration judge (IJ) denying Petitioner's application for withholding of removal, holding that the IJ and BIA made legal errors.Petitioner, a native and citizen of Honduras, twice entered the United States without authorization. After the government ordered Petitioner removed to Honduras, Petitioner filed an application for withholding of removal. The IJ denied the motion. The BIA affirmed and denied Petitioner's motion to reopen and remand. The First Circuit vacated the removal order and remanded the case to the BIA for further proceedings, holding (1) the BIA erred in dismissing Petitioner's appeal based on her failure to corroborate; and (2) the BIA erred in finding that Petitioner did not adequately apply for relief under the Convention Against Torture. View "Molina-Diaz v. Rosen" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit vacated the order of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) affirming the determination of an immigration judge (IJ) that Petitioners, a husband and wife who were natives and citizens of Brazil, were not eligible for an adjustment of status pursuant to the "grandfathering" provisions of section 245(i) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), holding that the BIA and IJ did not appropriately focus their inquiry.On appeal, Petitioners argued that the BIA applied incorrect standards in determining that a labor certification application (LCA) filed on behalf of the petitioner husband was not "approvable when filed" and erred in denying their motion to remand. The First Circuit held (1) determining whether an LCA is approvable when filed requires a holistic inquiry that is not a license to deny grandfathering based on any perceived shortcoming in an LCA; and (2) the IJ and BIA did not keep their focus on that inquiry in the course of their evaluation of the petitioner's LCA. View "Oliveira v. Wilkinson" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed the judgment of the district court denying Appellants' motion to intervene in the underlying suit involving a challenge to the U.S. Department of Education's recent promulgation of a challenged regulation, holding that the district court did not abuse its discretion by denying the motion to intervene.The regulation at issue sets the standard for actionable sexual harassment for administrative enforcement of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and provides additional procedural protections to students who have been accused of sexual harassment. Appellants - the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, Independent Women's Law Center, and Speech First, Inc. - moved to intervene. The district court denied the motion, finding that Appellants had failed to show that the government would not adequately protect their rights. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying intervention. View "Victim Rights Law Center v. Foundation for Individual Rights in Education" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit denied Petitioner's petition for judicial review seeking to set aside the decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) affirming the denial of his application for asylum, withholding of removal, and other relief, holding that the BIA's decision must be upheld.On appeal, Petitioner's principal assignment of error challenged the denial of his asylum claim. Petitioner specifically argued against the adverse credibility determination of the immigration judge (IJ), which the BIA upheld. The First Circuit denied the petition for review, holding (1) the IJ's adverse credibility determination was supported by substantial evidence in the record, and therefore, the BIA's denial of Petitioner's asylum claim must be upheld; (2) because Petitioner failed to satisfy the standard required for asylum, his claim for withholding of removal necessarily failed; and (3) Petitioner's claim for CAT protection is deemed abandoned. View "Zaruma-Guaman v. Wilkinson" on Justia Law

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In these three consolidated appeals arising out of the Title III debt-restructuring proceedings brought by the Financial Oversight and Management Board (Board) for Puerto Rico on behalf of the Puerto Rico Sales Tax Financing Corporation (COFINA) under the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA) the First Circuit held that certain appeals were equitably moot and another claim was properly dismissed.The Title III court approved a plan of adjustment (the Plan) proposed by the Board resolving disputes between the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and COFINA and between the junior and senior holders of COFINA's outstanding debt. The Elliott and Pinto-Lugo groups objected to the Plan, arguing, among other things, that it unlawfully abrogated their rights as junior COFINA bondholders. Peter Hein, an individual creditor, challenged the dismissal of his proof of claim against COFINA. The Title III court dismissed Hein's challenges and overruled the objections to the Plan. On Appeal, the First Circuit (1) dismissed the Elliott and Pinto-Lugo appeals as equitably moot; and (2) affirmed the dismissal of Hein's claims against COFINA. View "Pinto Lugo v. Commonwealth of Puerto Rico" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit granted Petitioner's petition for review of the Board of Immigration Appeals' (BIA) denial of his motion to reopen his removal proceedings and to remand to the immigration judge (IJ) for further consideration, holding that the BIA abused its discretion.Petitioner sought reconsideration due to the fact that he had been placed on a waiting list by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for a U-1 nonimmigrant visa pursuant to the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act (VTVPA), 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(U). In denying Petitioner's motion to reopen his removal proceedings, the BIA gave two reasons for its denial. The First Circuit reversed and remanded the case, holding that the BIA abused its discretion because it failed to render a reasoned decision that accords with its own precedent and policies and failed to consider the position of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement. View "Benitez v. Wilkinson" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of Defendant's motion for judgment as a matter of law and for a new trial in this civil enforcement action brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission, holding that the evidence was sufficient to support the verdict.At issue was whether Defendant, the CFO of AVEO Pharmaceuticals, knowingly misled investors by the manner in which he responded to investor inquiries about the substance of AVEO's discussions with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) about the results of AVEO's clinical trial for tivozanib, a kidney cancer drug candidate. A jury found against Defendant. On appeal, Defendant argued (1) he was entitled to judgment as a matter of law because he had no duty to disclose the substance of the FDA discussions and because the evidence of scienter was insufficient, and (2) he was entitled to a new trial because the district court improperly instructed the jury. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding (1) the evidence of fraud and scienter was sufficient to support the verdict; and (2) the challenged instructions were not given in error. View "Securities & Exchange Commission v. Johnston" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit vacated and remanded the ruling of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) denying Petitioner's claims for asylum and withholding of removal, holding that substantial evidence did not support the BIA's finding that Petitioner lacked a reasonable basis for his fear of being harmed on account of his membership in a particular social group.Petitioner, an Iraqi citizen, sought relief from removal on the grounds of asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the United Nations Convention Against Torture (CAT). Petitioner asserted that he feared he would be subjected to harm in Iraq at the hands of members of Iraq's military or civilian insurgents in Iraq on account of his work as a paid contractor for the United States Army during the war in Iraq. The BIA denied all claims. The First Circuit vacated the BIA's decision in part, holding (1) the record evidence failed to support the BIA's affirmance of the immigration judge's finding that Petitioner did not sufficiently show that he had an objectively reasonable basis for fearing that he would face harm in Iraq; and (2) the BIA properly denied Petitioner's claim for relief under the CAT. View "Al Amiri v. Rosen" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit denied Petitioner's petition for review of a final order of removal issued by the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) dismissing Petitioner's appeal from the decision of an immigration judge (IJ) denying Petitioner's request for withholding of removal under section 241(b)(3) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. 1231(b)(3), holding that Petitioner was not entitled to relief.Petitioner, a native and citizen of Honduras, sought withholding of removal under the Convention Against Torture and withholding of removal. The IJ denied the petition for withholding of removal, concluding that Petitioner failed to sustain his burden of showing that he was targeted on account of family membership, a protected ground. The BIA affirmed. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that there was substantial evidence to support the BIA's decision because Petitioner failed to establish the required nexus between his treatment by the police and his membership in a particular social group - his immediate family. View "Ruiz Varela v. Barr" on Justia Law