Articles Posted in Government & Administrative Law

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Plaintiffs brought this action under the Administrative Procedure Act seeking review of two biological opinions (BiOps) issued by the National Marine Fisheries Service to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) evaluating requested modifications of existing licenses to operate four hydropower dams on the Kennebec River in Maine. FERC was required to obtain BiOps from the Fisheries Service on whether operating the dams under the proposed license modifications would jeopardize survival of the salmon species. The Fisheries Service issued an “incidental take statement,” finding that the proposed modifications would result in the incidental taking of individual fish among the protected population. Plaintiffs, environmental organizations participating in the licensing proceedings, challenged the statements. While the case was pending, FERC granted the license modifications. The district court dismissed the case for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that circumstances eliminated whatever claims of district court jurisdiction to review the BiOps Plaintiffs might have raised when this action was filed. View "Maine Council of the Atlantic Salmon Federation v. National Marine Fisheries Service" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit declined enforcement of the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) order requiring 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East (the Union) and Good Samaritan Medical Center to reinstate Camille Legley with back pay and rescind a workplace civility policy, holding that there was not substantial evidence on the record as a whole that Legley was discharged because of his protected conduct. Legley, a probationary employee hired by Good Samaritan, questioned a union delegate’s alleged remark during an orientation training that he had to join the Union in order to work at Good Samaritan. Good Samaritan terminated Legley’s employment the following day, claiming that Legley’s conduct had violated its civility policy. The NLRB found that the Union caused Good Samaritan to discharge Legally because of his protected conduct. In denying enforcement of the NLRB’s order the First Circuit held that the NLRB’s decision ignored a portion of the record and could not survive review under the substantial evidence standard. View "Good Samaritan Medical Center v. National Labor Relations Board" on Justia Law

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In this immigration case, the First Circuit vacated the order of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) upholding the decision of the Immigration Judge (IJ) denying Petitioner’s applications for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). In his petition for review, Petitioner, a native of Guatemala, argued that he presented sufficient evidence to establish both past persecution and a well-founded fear of future persecution and that he could not reasonably relocate within Guatemala. The First Circuit granted the petition for review and remanded for further proceedings, holding (1) there was significant evidence in the record supporting a conclusion that relocation would be unreasonable; and (2) given the limited analysis on this issue by the IJ and the BIA, remand was proper for the BIA to consider it fully. View "Garcia-Cruz v. Sessions" on Justia Law

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Petitioner, a citizen of Guatemala, petitioned for review of a decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) denying his requests for asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). The BIA affirmed the decision of the Immigration Judge (IJ), concluding (1) the level of mistreatment Petitioner suffered did not rise to the level that could qualify as persecution to be entitled to a grant of asylum, and (2) Petitioner could not meet the requirements for withholding of removal and for protection under the CAT. The First Circuit denied Petitioner’s petition for review, holding (1) Petitioner failed to provide the court with a basis for reversing the BIA’s ruling denying his application for asylum; and (2) Petitioner failed to offer any basis on which to conclude that he could satisfy the requirements for withholding for removal or for protection under the CAT. View "Morales-Morales v. Sessions" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit held that the five-day grace period outlined in 20 C.F.R. 422.210(c) does not apply to final decisions on remand where the individual does not file any written exceptions to the administrative law judge's decision and the Appeals Council does not assume jurisdiction of the case. Plaintiff applied for Title II disability benefits with the Social Security Administration. On remand, an ALJ issued a partially favorable decision on Plaintiff’s claim. Plaintiff did not file any written exceptions to the ALJ’s decision, and the Appeals Council did not review the ALJ’s decision. Therefore, the ALJ’s decision became the final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security. Plaintiff then filed a civil action challenging the ALJ’s decision on remand. The Commissioner moved to dismiss Plaintiff’s claim as untimely. The district court ruled against Plaintiff and dismissed her complaint for being untimely filed. Plaintiff appealed, asking the First Circuit to hold that the five-day grace period outlined in section 422.210(c) applies to final decisions on remand. The First Circuit declined Plaintiff’s request, holding that Plaintiff cannot apply the five-day grace period under section 422.210(c) to save her civil claim from being untimely. View "Walker-Butler v. Berryhill" on Justia Law

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The Court of Appeals for the First Circuit held that aliens who are subject to reinstated orders of removal may not apply for asylum, even though they may be entitled to withholding of removal. In reaching this conclusion, the First Circuit ruled that certain provisions of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 did not entitle Petitioner, a citizen of Guatemala who was subject to a reinstated order of removal, to seek asylum. The First Circuit affirmed the decisions of the immigration judge (IJ) and Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) that determined that Petitioner could not apply for asylum even where the IJ determined that he was entitled to withholding of removal based on the persecution he would face in Guatemala. View "Garcia-Garcia v. Sessions" on Justia Law

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Pan Am Railways, Inc. brought charges of dishonesty and insubordination and threats of dismissal against Jason Raye, an injured employee who had filed a complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) under the Federal Railroad Safety Act (FRSA). Raye then filed an amended complaint to OSHA accusing Pan Am of violating the FRSA for filing his original OSHA complaint. OSHA concluded that Pan Am had unlawfully retaliated against Raye for bringing charges after Raye had filed his original OSHA complaint. An administrative law judge (ALJ) rejected Pan Am’s affirmative defense and awarded $250,000 in punitive damages, the maximum amount that the FRSA allows. The Department of Labor’s Administrative Review Board affirmed. The First Circuit denied Pan Am’s petition for review, holding (1) the ALJ did not err in rejecting Pan Am’s affirmative defense that it would have charged Raye with dishonesty even absent his protected activity; and (2) there was no abuse of discretion in the ALJ’s punitive damages award. View "Pan Am Railways, Inc. v. U.S. Department of Labor" on Justia Law

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Regulations promulgated by the National Marine Fisheries Service require that commercial fishermen must, on occasion, be accompanied on their vessels by at-sea monitors to ensure accountability with respect to catch limits. The regulations require that the fishermen bear the costs of the at-sea monitors. Plaintiff, a New Hampshire fisherman subject to the industry funding requirement for the at-sea monitoring program, brought suit in federal district court claiming that the industry funding requirement violated several laws and was unconstitutional. Plaintiff was joined in the proceedings by a group of commercial fishermen also subject to the industry funding requirement. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the government, concluding that the action was untimely filed. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that Plaintiff’s suit was not filed within the applicable statute of limitations. View "Goethel v. U.S. Department of Commerce" on Justia Law

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In 2007, removal proceedings were initiated against Petitioner. An immigration judge (IJ), however, deemed Petitioner to be a U.S. citizen. In 2016, Petitioner was convicted of a drug felony, and a second IJ ordered Petitioner removed. The IJ denied Petitioner’s motion to terminate removal proceedings on the basis of the prior IJ’s determination that Petitioner was a U.S. citizen. The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) dismissed Petitioner’s appeal, agreeing that res judicata was inapplicable in the context of an administrative proceeding where doing so would “frustrate[] Congressional intent.” The First Circuit dismissed Petitioner’s petition for review, holding (1) the applicability of res judicata becomes immaterial before this Court because of the jurisdictional limitation imposed by the Immigration and Nationality Act; (2) Petitioner failed to meet his burden of proving that he is a United States citizen; and (3) accordingly, the jurisdictional bar in 8 U.S.C. 1252(a)(2) (C) applies and precludes judicial review of the final order of removal against Petitioner. View "Miranda v. Sessions" on Justia Law

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Pumpernickel Express, Inc. carried automotive parts from warehouses in Mansfield, Massachusetts to Toyota dealerships in the region. Pumpernickel’s drivers were represented by a Union. Lily Transportation Corporation later obtained the portion of Pumpernickel’s business that involved distributing parts for Toyota. Lily hired many of Pumpernickel’s former employees, including drivers. The Union demanded that Lily recognize it as the drivers’ bargaining representative. Lily refused. Thereafter, the Union filed an unfair labor practice charge, alleging that Lily’s refusal to bargain violated the National Labor Relations Act. The administrative law judge found that, in distributing for Toyota, Lily was a “successor employer” to Pumpernickel, and therefore, Lily was required to recognize and bargain with the Union. The National Labor Relations Board affirmed and ordered Lily to recognize and bargain with the Union. The Board then asked the First Circuit to enforce its order over Lily’s objection. The First Circuit granted the Board’s application for enforcement of its bargaining order, holding that the Board did not err in relying on UGL-UNICCO Service Co.’s successor bar doctrine. View "NLRB v. Lily Transportation Corp" on Justia Law