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The United States charged Hall with unlawful gambling and money laundering and obtained a preliminary criminal forfeiture order for 18 parcels in Knox County. The County determined that Hall owed substantial delinquent real property taxes, giving it a first lien under Tennessee law. Under 21 U.S.C. 853(n)(2), a party asserting an interest in property that is subject to criminal forfeiture may seek a hearing on his alleged interest within 30 days. Knox County filed an untimely claim. The court amended the preliminary forfeiture order to cover three more Knox County properties. Knox County filed a timely second claim and requested an interlocutory sale and delay of forfeiture. The United States stated that accrued taxes and interest would be paid, regardless of whether the taxing authority filed a claim, but argued that Knox County would have no legal interest in accruing taxes once title passes, citing the Supremacy Clause, and objected to delaying a final forfeiture order. The Sixth Circuit vacated the forfeiture order. Knox County has a legal interest in the property (tax lien), so the district court erred in dismissing its claim for lack of standing but it is not necessarily entitled to a hearing. The court may ascertain the scope of Knox County’s interest on summary judgment but must account for that interest before entering a final forfeiture order. The court did not abuse its discretion in denying Knox County’s motion for an interlocutory sale. View "United States v. Hall" on Justia Law

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Here, the Supreme Court reaffirmed the longstanding principle that direct production involves a process that includes those steps essential and integral to transforming tangible personal property into a distinct marketable good. The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the Tax Court affirming the decision of the Department of State Revenue partially denying refund claims submitted by Petitioner for sales tax paid on blast freezing equipment and the electricity used in operating that equipment. Petitioner petitioned the Supreme Court for review, arguing that it qualified for exemptions under the relevant statutes because it engages in “direct production” when it blast freezes another company’s food product and that it engages in its own production process in producing the new, distinct marketable goods. In reversing, the Supreme Court held (1) Petitioner’s blast freezing process constitutes direct production because it represents the crucial final step in creating a distinct marketable good; and (2) the relevant statutes and regulations do not impose a requirement that Petitioner’s blast-freezing procedure be its own, separate production process. View "Merchandise Warehouse Co. v. Indiana Department of State Revenue" on Justia Law

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In 2011 and 2012, a number of individuals and closely held corporations known as Treasure Your Success (TYS) operated a fraudulent credit card interest reduction scheme. Universal Processing Services of Wisconsin, LLC (Universal) violated the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR), 16 C.F.R. 310.1 et seq., by providing substantial assistance to the TYS schemers. The district court found that a violation of the TSR constitutes an “unfair or deceptive act or practice” in violation of the Federal Trade Commission Act. As such, the district court was authorized to order restitution and disgorgement. Furthermore, the court clarified that substantial assistance under the TSR was itself sufficient to justify joint and several liability. The court reaffirmed its order holding Universal jointly and severally liable; Universal contended that was error and joint and several liability can only lie where the defendant is a participant in a common enterprise with the primary violators. The Eleventh Circuit concluded after review the district court did not abuse its discretion in holding Universal jointly and severally liable with the members of the TYS scheme. View "Federal Trade Comm'r v. Universal Processing Services of Wisconsin, LLC" on Justia Law

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Appellant Robert Parsons was charged with first degree murder, but was subsequently adjudged not guilty by reason of insanity. At a hearing following Appellant's acquittal, the trial court determined he was a continuing threat of danger to the public, and ordered him committed to the Oklahoma Forensic Center. After making progress in his treatment, the Oklahoma Forensic Review Board recommended Appellant begin a group therapy program one day per week at a facility outside of OFC. The District Attorney protested the FRB's treatment proposal, and the trial judge sustained the State's objection. Appellant sought review of the trial court's ruling; however, the OCCA transferred the matter to the Oklahoma Supreme Court. At issue was whether the case presented criminal or civil law issues. The Oklahoma Supreme Court found the issues pertaining to Appellant's therapeutic visits, under 22 O.S.2011 sec. 1161(F), were civil in nature and were properly within its jurisdiction. Furthermore, the Court concluded the trial court's order sustaining the State's objection to therapeutic visits was erroneous. View "Parsons v. Dist. Court of Pushmataha Cty." on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's decision rejecting challenges to the Forest Service's determination that EFR had a valid existing right to operate a uranium mine on land within a withdrawal area of public lands around Grand Canyon National Park that the Secretary of the Interior withdrew from new mining claims. The panel held that the Mineral Report was a major federal action under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), 42 U.S.C. 4332, and that the district court correctly held that Center for Biological Diversity v. Salazar, 706 F.3d 1085 (9th Cir. 2013), not Pit River Tribe v. U.S. Forest Service, 469 F.3d 768 (9th Cir. 2006), governed this case; that action was complete when the plan was approved; resumed operation of Canyon Mine did not require any additional government action; and thus the EIS prepared in 1988 satisfied NEPA. The panel also held that the Mineral Report approved an "undertaking" under the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (NHPA), 54 U.S.C. 306108; the Mineral Report did not permit, license, or approve resumed operations at Canyon Mine; and the original approval was the only "undertaking" requiring consultation under the NHPA. Finally, the environmental groups did not have prudential standing to challenge the Mineral Report. View "Havasupai Tribe v. Provencio" on Justia Law

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The unconstitutional legislative veto embedded in section 204(c)(1) of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (FLPMA), 43 U.S.C. 1714, is severable from the large-tract withdrawal authority delegated to the Secretary in that same subsection. Invalidating the legislative veto provision does not affect the Secretary's withdrawal authority. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's decision rejecting challenges to the decision of the Secretary to withdraw from new uranium mining claims, up to twenty years, over one million acres of land near Grand Canyon National Park. In this case, the panel held that the environmental impact statement (EIS) did take existing legal regimes into account but reasonably concluded that they were inadequate to meet the purposes of the withdrawal; the Establishment Clause challenge failed under Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U.S. 602, 612–13 (1971); and the panel rejected challenges under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), 42 U.S.C. 4332, and the National Forest Management Act, 16 U.S.C. 1604(e). View "National Mining Ass'n v. Zinke" on Justia Law

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Teachers retired from the Salinas Unified High School District disputed attempts by the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) to recoup retirement benefit overpayments caused by the District's years-long miscalculation, arguing that the statute of limitations barred recoupment of prior overpayments and reduction of future monthly benefits. An ALJ upheld CalSTRS’s conclusions, rejecting the statute of limitations defense. Teachers obtained a peremptory writ of administrative mandamus compelling CalSTRS to resume payments at the original amounts. The court of appeal reversed. Education Code section 22008(c) provides a three-year statute of limitations applicable for CalSTRS to bring an action to recoup the overpayments, commencing with its “discovery of the incorrect payment.” Discovery means the date CalSTRS actually discovered, or in the exercise of reasonable diligence should have discovered, the incorrect payment. August 18, 2005 was the date on which CalSTRS had inquiry notice of the overpayment issue; the action was commenced on July 6, 2012. Under the continuous accrual theory, the statute of limitations for periodic payments commenced with the due date of each payment. Only payments due more than three years prior to CalSTRS’s commencement of the action on July 6, 2012, were subject to the statute of limitations defense. View "Baxter v. California State Teachers' Retirement System" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the decision of the Workers’ Compensation Board Appellate Division affirming the hearing officer’s decree denying Appellant’s petition for award. On appeal, Appellant claimed that he was an employee of Regional Transportation Program (RTP), and therefore, he was entitled to receive benefits for a work-related injury. The hearing officer determined that Appellant was not an RTP employee for purposes of the Workers’ Compensation Act. The Appellate Division affirmed. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding (1) it was not unreasonable for the Appellate Division to conclude that the reimbursement provided to Appellant did not constitute payment for his services; and (2) therefore, the Appellate Division properly found that Appellant was not an employee for purposes of the Act. View "Huff v. Regional Transportation Program" on Justia Law

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Lentz entered federal service in 2002. He had no disciplinary record until May 2014, when his supervisor issued a reprimand based on his authorization of grazing on public lands, without prior approval. In November, Lentz’s supervisor proposed a 14-day suspension, citing his management of interns, behavior toward supervisors, and interaction with outsiders. Lentz then went on medical leave. The proposed suspension was sustained, to commence on February 15, 2015. Lentz resigned on February 13, citing harassment and a hostile work environment that aggravated an illness and his veterans disability. He claimed to have filed complaints under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), 38 U.S.C. 4301–4335, and that the reprimands were retaliatory. Before the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), Lentz asserted constructive discharge, discrimination on the basis of his status as a disabled veteran, and retaliation for filing a complaint. The Administrative Judge dismissed the involuntary resignation claim under 5 U.S.C. 75, and held that Lentz was collaterally estopped from raising in the USERRA proceeding the evidence and issues assigned to the involuntary resignation proceeding. The AJ later dismissed the discrimination charges, stating that Lentz failed to make non-frivolous allegations that a reasonable person would have felt compelled to resign due to discrimination or reprisal. The Board affirmed. The Federal Circuit vacated, finding that the dismissal was based on incorrect evidentiary procedures including the inappropriate application of collateral estoppel, and remanded the issue of constructive discharge. View "Lentz v. Merit Systems Protection Board" on Justia Law

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The New York State Department of Health (DOH) complied with its responsibilities under the New York State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) in assessing Jewish Home Lifecare’s (JHL) application to construct a new residential facility in New York City. Petitioners, parents of students attending a public elementary school next door to the proposed construction site and tenants living in apartment buildings surrounding the site, brought these two article 78 proceedings seeking to annul, vacate and set aside DOH’s determination, arguing that DOH relied on flawed assessment methodologies and failed adequately to mitigate the environmental dangers associated with the construction. Supreme Court vacated and annulled DOH’s approval of JHL’s application, concluding that DOH followed proper SEQRA procedures but failed adequately to consider all relevant mitigation measures. The appellate division reversed. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that DOH complied with its SEQRA responsibilities by identifying and assessing relevant environmental hazards and imposed mitigation measures to protect public health and safety. View "Friends of P.S. 163, Inc. v. Jewish Home Lifecare, Manhattan" on Justia Law