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

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The DC Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment against plaintiff in an action alleging that his supervisors at the EPA discriminated against him because of his age, in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, 29 U.S.C. 621–634. The court held that there was no excuse for plaintiff's noncompliance with an EEOC regulation requiring a federal employee to contact a counselor within 45 days of the date of the matter alleged to be discriminatory. In regard to plaintiff's timely claims of age discrimination, the court held that he failed to establish that he suffered an adverse employment action where each of his claims did not cause objectively tangible harm of the sort that would render them adverse employment actions. In regard to the retaliation claims, the court held that plaintiff failed to show a causal connection between the reassignment of his agents and his protected activities. View "Drielak v. Pruitt" on Justia Law

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In 2011, Metropolitan Police Officer Leo and three other officers, part of the Gun Recovery Unit, encountered Briscoe in an apartment parking lot. When an officer asked Briscoe if he was carrying a gun, Briscoe fled. Two officers pursued Briscoe on foot, while Leo and another pursued in a police vehicle. Leo testified that he saw Briscoe’s right hand moving toward his waistband, causing Leo to fear that he was reaching for a gun. Briscoe repeatedly looked over his shoulder, toward the officers, and turned toward the police vehicle, pointing what appeared to Leo to be a gun. Leo fired two shots, striking Briscoe in the back. Briscoe was transported to the hospital where he died as a result of the wounds. A police search of the scene of the shooting recovered no actual firearm but produced a broken BB gun, which closely resembled a Walther PPK pistol. No fingerprints were found on the weapon. In a suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983, the district court dismissed some claims. Some counts went to trial, resulting in a verdict for the defense. The D.C. Circuit affirmed, upholding the exclusion of Briscoe’s cell phone bill from evidence and the denial of sanctions for the prosecution’s late disclosure of a fingerprint report and of the fact that the BB gun had been swabbed for DNA. View "Lane v. District of Columbia" on Justia Law

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In Fourstar v. Garden City Grp., Inc., 875 F.3d 1147 (D.C. Cir. 2017), the district court decided that under the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), a district court's decision to decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over state law claims does not count as a strike against a prisoner seeking in forma pauperis (IFP) privileges in later litigation. In light of Fourstar, the court held that it was not a strike under the PLRA when a district court in effect, though not in its exact terms, declines to hear state law claims in situations where 28 U.S.C. 1367 would authorize it to resolve. Accordingly, the court granted plaintiff's petition to proceed IFP in this court and remanded with instructions for the district court to do the same. View "Ladeairous v. Sessions" on Justia Law

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The DC Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the Office of Foreign Assets Control and the Department of state in an action alleging disclosures of plaintiff's personal identifying information in violation of the Privacy Act. The court held that plaintiff's personal identifying information was released pursuant to a valid routine-use notice. In this case, the release of the information was compatible with the purpose for which the information was collected. The court explained that the purpose for collecting plaintiff's identifying information – to investigate whether to designate him for economic sanctions and to implement the sanctions – was precisely aligned with the purpose of disclosure – to implement the sanctions by publishing the information to the public. View "Chichakli v. Tillerson" on Justia Law

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The DC Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the Office of Foreign Assets Control and the Department of state in an action alleging disclosures of plaintiff's personal identifying information in violation of the Privacy Act. The court held that plaintiff's personal identifying information was released pursuant to a valid routine-use notice. In this case, the release of the information was compatible with the purpose for which the information was collected. The court explained that the purpose for collecting plaintiff's identifying information – to investigate whether to designate him for economic sanctions and to implement the sanctions – was precisely aligned with the purpose of disclosure – to implement the sanctions by publishing the information to the public. View "Chichakli v. Tillerson" on Justia Law

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Commercial truck drivers and their industry association filed suit claiming that they were injured by the Department's violation of its statutory obligation to ensure the accuracy of a database containing driver-safety information. In Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, 136 S. Ct. 1540 (2016), the Supreme Court held that Article III standing requires a concrete injury even in the context of a statutory violation. The DC Circuit held that, under Spokeo, the asserted injury was, by itself, insufficiently concrete to confer Article III standing to plaintiffs. However, the court reversed with respect to two drivers whose information was released to prospective employers because dissemination of inaccurate driver-safety data inflicts an injury sufficiently concrete to confer standing to seek damages. View "Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association v. DOT" on Justia Law

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President Trump, by executive order issued in May 2017, established the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. EPIC filed suit against the Commission and others, alleging violations of the Administrative Procedure Act and sought a preliminary injunction to prohibit defendants from collecting voter data unless and until they complete a privacy impact assessment as allegedly required by the E-Government Act of 2002. The district court concluded that EPIC had standing and denied a preliminary injunction. The DC Circuit affirmed, but based on a different conclusion than that of the district court. The court upheld the denial of preliminary injunction because EPIC did not show a substantial likelihood of standing to press its claims that defendants have violated the E-Government Act. In this case, EPIC has suffered no informational or organizational injury. View "Electronic Privacy Information Center v. Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity" on Justia Law

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This case stemmed from the district court's issuance of an injunction ordering the Secretary of the United States Department of the Treasury to provide meaningful access to paper currency to visually impaired individuals by the next time the Treasury Department released redesigned banknotes. At issue are the next redesigns, which will fall between 2026 and 2038. Plaintiffs asked the district court to modify the injunction to hold the Secretary to an earlier deadline for providing meaningful access to currency. The DC Circuit reversed the district court's decision declining to modify the injunction and remanded for the district court to better support its findings supporting its denial of modified injunctive relief. View "American Council of the Blind v. Mnuchin" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed suit challenging the constitutionality of the Federal Election Campaign Act's (FECA), 52 U.S.C. 30116(a)(1)(A), base limits on individual contributions to candidates. The DC Circuit rejected plaintiffs' challenge to Congress's decision to fashion FECA's base contribution limits for individuals as per-election ceilings. The court explained that the Supreme Court in Buckley v. Valeo, 424 U.S. 1 (1976), rejected a constitutional challenge to those ceilings, and that holding remains undisturbed. The Supreme Court reasoned that, as long as a contribution limit is not so low as to prevent candidates from mounting effective campaigns, the judiciary would generally defer to Congress's determination of the limit’s precise amount. The court concluded that the same was true of Congress's intertwined choice of the timeframe in which that amount may be contributed. View "Holmes v. FEC" on Justia Law

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This appeal involved the Company's effort to have declared invalid a Crossing Agreement entered into in 2012 by Michigan State officials and the Government of Canada to build another bridge spanning the Detroit River, within two miles of the Ambassador Bridge. The DC Circuit held that the district court properly granted summary judgment as to Count 7, which alleged that the Secretary failed to inquire adequately into Michigan law and, to the extent an inquiry was made, the Secretary's action was arbitrary and capricious. The court reasoned that neither the plain text of Section 3 nor other provisions of the International Bridge Act (IBA), 33 U.S.C. 535 et seq., require the Secretary to inquire into state law. Therefore, the Secretary did not clearly err in approving the Crossing Agreement and the court affirmed summary judgment. The court also held that the district court properly dismissed Counts 2 and 3, which alleged that approval of the Crossing Agreement was unlawful because it contradicted federal laws; Count 1, which alleged a non-delegation claim; and Count 6, which alleged that the issuance of a Presidential Permit by the Secretary of State was final agency action, regardless of whether this authority was delegated by the President, and thus it was reviewable. View "Detroit International Bridge Co. v. Government of Canada" on Justia Law