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

by
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

by
Plaintiff filed suit against the District, alleging violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. 2000e-200e-17. The DC Circuit affirmed the district court's judgment regarding plaintiff's retaliation claims relating to actions taken prior to October 2007, holding that the district court correctly found not only that he never responded to this portion of the District's motion for summary judgment but also that there was no evidence in the record that he filed any charge of discrimination that would have rendered the claims timely. The court also affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for the District on plaintiff's remaining retaliation claims arising out of events occurring after October 2007, holding that a reasonable jury could not infer from the proffered evidence that the challenged employment actions might have dissuaded a reasonable worker from making or supporting a charge of discrimination. View "Durant v. District of Columbia Government" on Justia Law

by
The DC Circuit affirmed the dismissal of an action alleging that the revocation of plaintiff's security clearance violated the equal protection and due process clauses of the Constitution, as well as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), 50 U.S.C. 1806(c). In regard to the FISA, the court declined to consider plaintiff's two theories of sovereign immunity waiver because he raised them for the first time on appeal. The court also held that plaintiff had no constitutionally protected property interest in his security clearance and he received all the process that was due. In this case, plaintiff's security clearance was revoked because he admitted misconduct in accessing sensitive information for personal reasons. Finally, the court rejected plaintiff's claims that his equal protection rights were violated because he received a harsher penalty for his admitted misconduct than non-Muslim agents who committed similar misconduct, and because the ARC treated his naturalized family members differently than native born U.S. citizens. Plaintiff's claims were barred by Department of the Navy v. Egan, 484 U.S. 518 (1988). Even if the claims were not barred by Egan, they failed for other reasons. View "Gill v. DOJ" on Justia Law

by
Plaintiffs, the Libertarian Party's presidential and vice presidential candidates in the 2012 elections, filed suit claiming that they were excluded pursuant to an agreement between the Obama for America and Romney for President campaigns. Plaintiffs alleged that the parties' agreement reflected in a memorandum of understanding (MOU) stipulated to three presidential debates and one vice presidential debate, and designated dates, locations, moderators, and topics. Plaintiffs challenged the MOU as an unlawful agreement to monopolize and restrain competition in violation of sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. 1–2. The DC Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of the case. The court held that the doctrine of constitutional avoidance permitted the court to resolve this case on alternative grounds, based on antitrust standing. The court explained that the injuries plaintiffs claim were simply not those contemplated by the antitrust laws. Furthermore, plaintiffs failed to allege a clear legal claim, let alone identified a cognizable injury, in regard to their First Amendment claim. View "Johnson v. Commission on Presidential Debates" on Justia Law

by
Plaintiff, an African-American, filed suit against DHS, alleging that the Department's decision to give a promotion for which he was qualified to a Caucasian female employee just four weeks after he had complained of race and age discrimination was unlawful retaliation. The DC Circuit reversed the district court's dismissal of his retaliation claim for failure to exhaust remedies, holding that plaintiff expressly raised the non-promotion retaliation claim in his equal employment opportunity complaint. The record at this early procedural juncture showed that plaintiff came forth with sufficient factual allegations and inferences to require, at a minimum, that he be afforded discovery before summary judgment proceedings. Because the record contained a number of plausible factual disputes pertaining to plaintiff's claims of retaliation that could not be resolved on a motion for summary judgment, the court remanded those claims to the district court for further proceedings. View "Coleman v. Duke" on Justia Law

by
Plaintiff filed suit alleging claims that employees of Cities Restaurant and Lounge, and the Metropolitan Police Department officers they summoned, reacted overly harshly when she raised a question about her bill and temporarily left the restaurant. The DC Circuit affirmed the dismissal of the intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress claims and the negligence claims against Officer Lee and the District of Columbia; affirmed the grant of summary judgment to Defendant Duru on all claims against him; and vacated the judgment on all remaining claims and remanded for further proceedings. The court held that allegations of the complaint sufficiently made out claims under 42 U.S.C. 1983 for false arrest and excessive force, as well as common law assault, false arrest, and false imprisonment against Officer Lee. Finally, the evidence was sufficient to create material factual disputes on the common law battery claim against Officer Lee, and the defamation, negligence, and conversion claims against Cities. View "Hall v. District of Columbia" on Justia Law

by
Plaintiff filed suit against the Department, alleging unlawful race and national origin discrimination under Title VII, 42 U.S.C. 2000e et seq. The DC Circuit subsequently decided sua sponte to reconsider the case and vacate its prior opinion. The court held that nothing in its Title VII precedent on lateral transfers would bar plaintiff from proceeding to trial and that he had otherwise proffered sufficient evidentiary support to show summary judgment was inappropriate. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded for further proceedings. View "Ortiz-Diaz v. HUD" on Justia Law

by
Plaintiff filed suit against his employer, DHS, alleging race discrimination, retaliation, and a hostile work environment. The district court dismissed the case for failure to exhaust his administrative remedies. The DC Circuit held that attachments to plaintiff's administrative complaint adequately identified his claims alleging a discriminatory performance review and a later suspension. Therefore, these two claims were exhausted and the court reversed the district court's judgment in part. View "Crawford v. Duke" on Justia Law

by
Plaintiff filed suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983 against the District, alleging both procedural and substantive due process claims after he was sentenced to three consecutive weekends in the D.C. jail for a marijuana possession conviction in 2011 and remained in the jail for two years so that he could complete a prior sentence. The D.C. Superior Court denied his petition for habeas relief in 2012 and when plaintiff appealed, the D.C. Court of Appeals failed to act for another year and a half. The D.C. Circuit held that the Superior Court's 2012 decision lacked the preclusive effect the district court perceived. In this case, because plaintiff was unable to obtain a decision on his habeas appeal once he was no longer in custody, and because section 1983 claims cannot be joined in a habeas proceeding, the Superior Court's unreviewed bench ruling was not the result of a full and fair opportunity to litigate. On the merits, the court held that plaintiff's complaint stated a legally actionable procedural due process claim where his liberty interest sufficed to require that he be afforded some kind of process before he was locked up again. In regard to the substantive due process claim, the district court erred in dismissing that claim based on material beyond the complaint, and not incorporated by reference in it, without converting the motion to dismiss into one for summary judgment as contemplated by Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(d) and 56. Accordingly, the court vacated and remanded. View "Hurd v. District of Columbia" on Justia Law

by
Plaintiffs filed suit challenging D.C. Code provisions directing the District's police chief to promulgate regulations limiting licenses for the concealed carry of handguns (the only sort of carrying the Code allows) to those showing a good reason to fear injury to their person or property or any other proper reason for carrying a pistol (the "good-reason" law). The D.C. Circuit held that, at the core of the Second Amendment lies the right of responsible citizens to carry firearms for personal self-defense beyond the home, subject to longstanding restrictions. These traditional limits include, for instance, licensing requirements, but not bans on carrying in urban areas like D.C. or bans on carrying absent a special need for self-defense. In this case, the District's good-reason law is necessarily a total ban on most D.C. residents' right to carry a gun in the face of ordinary self-defense needs, where these residents are no more dangerous with a gun than the next law-abiding citizen. Therefore, the court could strike down the law apart from any particular balancing test. The court vacated the district courts' orders and remanded with instructions to enter permanent injunctions against enforcement of the good-reason law. View "Wrenn v. District of Columbia" on Justia Law