Articles Posted in Government & Administrative Law

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The First Circuit (1) denied Petitioners’ petition for review as to their challenge to the determination of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) that Petitioners' motion to reopen a removal order was untimely and number barred, and (2) dismissed the petition for lack of jurisdiction as to Petitioners’ challenge to the BIA’s decision not to exercise its authority to reopen sua sponte. Petitioners, natives of Guatemala, were ordered removed by an immigration judge in 2000. In 2001, the BIA denied their appeal. In 2017, Petitioners filed a motion to reopen or reconsider the removal order. The BIA denied the motion as untimely filed and numerically barred. The BIA also declined to reopen the removal proceedings sua sponte because it did not consider Petitioners’ situation “exceptional.” The First Circuit affirmed, holding (1) the BIA correctly held that Petitioners had failed to justify the delay in filing the motion to reopen and dismissing it as untimely; and (2) this Court lacked jurisdiction to review the BIA’s decision not to reopen sua sponte. View "Lemus v. Sessions" on Justia Law

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In this action brought under the Interstate Commerce Commission Termination Act (ICCTA) the First Circuit denied the petition for review filed by Petitioners, holding that the Surface Transportation Board (STB) did not err by concluding that certain activities at a Grafton & Upton Railroad Company (G&U) facility involving wood pellets qualified as “transportation by rail carrier” and so fell within the exclusive jurisdiction of the STB. The Upton, Massachusetts board of selectmen concluded that the ICCTA preempted local regulation of the wood-pellet activities at G&U’s local facility. Petitioners, who lived near the facility, asked the STB for a declaratory order that these activities were not part of “transportation by rail carrier” under ICCTA because they were manufacturing activities, and therefore, there could be no federal preemption of otherwise-applicable state and local regulations. The STB concluded that the complained-about activities qualified as “transportation” under the ICCTA and therefore fell within the STB’s jurisdiction. The First Circuit denied Petitioners’ petition for review, holding that Petitioners failed to show that the STB acted arbitrarily or capriciously, abused its discretion, or otherwise violated the law. View "Del Grosso v. Surface Transportation Board" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit denied Petitioner’s petition for judicial review of a decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) affirming the Immigration Judge’s (IJ) denial of Petitioner’s applications for asylum, withholding of removal, and withholding of removal under the Convention Against Torture (CAT), holding that the BIA did not err by affirming the IJ’s conclusion that Petitioner did not qualify for relief. Petitioner’s claims for asylum, withholding of removal, and withholding of removal under the CAT were principally supported by her testimony that she was mistreated in Honduras because of her Afro-Honduran race and physical disability caused by polio. The IJ found that Petitioner had failed to carry her burden in proving either past persecution or a well-founded fear of future persecution and rejected Petitioner’s claims. The BIA affirmed. The First Circuit affirmed, holing (1) there was substantial evidence supporting the BIA’s and IJ’s conclusions that Petitioner had not shown past persecution or a well-founded fear of future persecution; and (2) the BIA did not err by failing to consider Petitioner’s claim for humanitarian asylum. View "Martinez-Perez v. Sessions" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit remanded this case to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) for reconsideration of Petitioner’s eligibility for asylum, holding that the BIA committed several errors in its review of the decision of the immigration judge (IJ). An IJ granted Petitioner asylum, concluding that Petitioner met his burden of proving he was entitled to asylum. Among other things, the IJ found that the police in Mexico would be unable to protect Petitioner from members of organized crime who had murdered his son and continued to target him and the rest of his nuclear family. The BIA concluded that the IJ’s finding of inability was clearly erroneous. The First Circuit reversed, holding (1) among the BIA’s errors in reviewing the IJ’s decision, the BIA failed to examiner separately the evidence of the government’s willingness to protect Petitioner from persecution and the evidence of its ability to do so; and (2) the BIA’s flawed analysis of the IJ’s decision required a remand of this case. View "Justo v. Sessions" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit vacated in part the district court’s grant of summary judgment in Defendants’ favor on Plaintiffs’ claims seeking compensatory damages, declaratory relief, a permanent injunction, and expungement of disciplinary proceedings from a student’s university records. John Doe was accused of sexually assaulting a fellow Boston College student. In 2012, Boston College held disciplinary proceedings against Doe, and an Administrative Hearing Board found Doe responsible for the lesser offense of indecent assault and battery. In 2014, Boston College conducted an independent review of the disciplinary proceedings and determined that the Board’s finding was proper. Doe and his parents filed a lawsuit against Trustees of Boston College and several university officials. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Defendants on all counts. The First Circuit (1) affirmed the district court’s grant of summary judgment as to Plaintiffs’ breach of contract claim for the 2014 review and Title IX, negligence, and negligent infliction of emotional distress claims; and (2) vacated the grant of summary judgment as to Plaintiffs’ breach of contract claim for the 2012 disciplinary proceedings, where there were genuine issues of material fact on this claim, and basic fairness claim, where the grant of summary judgment on this claim rested on the court’s analysis as to Plaintiffs’ breach of contract claim. View "Doe v. Trustees of Boston College" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed the district court’s order upholding an administrative law judge’s (ALJ) denial of Appellant’s application for Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits and Supplemental Security Income. The Court held (1) even if this Court reviews the ALJ’s ruling on the understanding that it must apply a certain Social Security Ruling in reviewing the ALJ’s ruling, the ALJ’s determination that Appellant was not disabled still must be upheld; (2) substantial evidence supported the ALJ’s determination that Appellant’s ability to carry out certain daily activities undermined his contention that he was unable to perform light work; and (3) Appellant’s remaining allegations of error were without merit. View "Coskery v. Berryhill" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit denied Petitioner’s petition for review of a decision by the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) to deny Petitioner’s application for deferral of removal based on the protection to which he claimed he was entitled under the United Nations Convention Against Torture (CAT). Petitioner, a native of Jamaica and a lawful permanent resident of the United States, was charged with removability for being convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude. Petitioner contended that, pursuant to 8 C.F.R. 1208.17, he was eligible for deferral of removal under CAT based on the fact that a gang leader in Jamaica with ties to the Jamaican police had threatened to kill him for being an informant. An immigration judge (IJ) denied Petitioner’s claim for deferral of removal. The BIA affirmed. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that Petitioner failed to show that he was entitled to deferral of removal pursuant to 8 C.F.R. 1208.17(a). View "Morris v. Sessions" on Justia Law

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At issue was whether the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) erred in concluding that Petitioner had not suffered past persecution nor had a well-founded fear of future persecution if he returned to Ecuador on account of his indigenous Quiche ethnicity. The First Circuit vacated the order of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) affirming the immigration judge’s (IJ) decision denying Petitioner’s asylum application. The Court held (1) Petitioner’s case should be analyzed in light of the fact that he was a minor during the time he suffered abuse, harm, and mistreatment in Ecuador; (2) the IJ and BIA erred as a matter of law in failing to apply the child-specific standard for asylum claims; and (3) the case must be remanded for a finding of whether what Petitioner suffered in Ecuador, viewed from a child’s perspective, amounted to severe mistreatment and, if so, whether the the abuse amounted to government inaction, a requisite for a finding of past persecution. View "Santos-Guaman v. Sessions" on Justia Law

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The district court properly placed the burden of proof on a grocery store (Store) in this action brought by Plaintiffs alleging that the Store unlawfully trafficked in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), the bureau within the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) charged with administering the SNAP regime, concluded that the Store had engaged in trafficking and permanently disqualified the Store from SNAP participation. The Store brought an action in Maine’s federal district court challenging the agency’s final decision. The district court granted summary judgment for the USDA. The First Circuit affirmed, holding (1) the burden of proof is imposed on the claimant - here, the Store; and (2) no rational fact-finder could conclude that the Store had demonstrated by a preponderance of the evidence that the finding of trafficking was incorrect. View "Irobe v. United States Department of Agriculture" on Justia Law

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Appellants’ action brought under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), 28 U.S.C. 1346(b), 2671-2680, seeking compensatory damages for the allegedly negligent act of a federal employee was time-barred under the FTCA’s statute of limitations. On April 22, 2013, Appellants filed a medical malpractice complaint pursuant to the FTCA against the United States Department of Health and Human Services (USDHHS). The district court granted summary judgment for USDHHS, concluding that the complaint was time-barred for failing to file compulsory administrative claims within the FTCA’s two-year statute of limitations. On appeal, Appellants argued that their claim was timely under the “discovery rule.” The First Circuit affirmed, holding that, at least by March 8, 2010, Appellants knew of sufficient facts for their cause of action to accrue, and therefore, Appellants’ action was time-barred. View "Morales-Melecio v. United States" on Justia Law