Articles Posted in Government & Administrative Law

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The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of defendant's Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss an action challenging a Connecticut law imposing recycling fees on electronics manufacturers. VIZIO alleged that Connecticut's E-Waste Law effectively regulated interstate commerce in violation of the Commerce Clause. The court analyzed the claim through a "well-worn path," N.Y. Pet Welfare Ass'n, Inc. v. City of New York, 850 F.3d 79, 89 (2d Cir. 2017), and held that VIZIO failed to articulate entitlement to relief under this familiar rubric. The court declined to extend the extraterritoriality doctrine in such a way as to prohibit laws that merely consider out‐of‐state activity, did not apply the user fee analysis to VIZIO's case, and found no burden on interstate commerce that was clearly excessive to the considerable public benefits conferred by Connecticut's E‐Waste Law. View "VIZIO, Inc. v. Klee" on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of a putative class action complaint alleging that Abbott violated New York and California statutes and common law by advertising and selling Similac infant formula branded as organic and bearing the "USDA Organic" seal when the formula contained ingredients not permitted by the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA). The court held that plaintiffs' claims were preempted by federal law and the court need not address Abbott's remaining arguments based on primary jurisdiction, failure to exhaust, or failure to state a claim. The court reasoned that there was no way to rule in plaintiffs' favor without contradicting the certification decision, and thus the certification scheme that Congress enacted in the OFPA. View "Marentette v. Abbott Laboratories" on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of a putative class action complaint alleging that Abbott violated New York and California statutes and common law by advertising and selling Similac infant formula branded as organic and bearing the "USDA Organic" seal when the formula contained ingredients not permitted by the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA). The court held that plaintiffs' claims were preempted by federal law and the court need not address Abbott's remaining arguments based on primary jurisdiction, failure to exhaust, or failure to state a claim. The court reasoned that there was no way to rule in plaintiffs' favor without contradicting the certification decision, and thus the certification scheme that Congress enacted in the OFPA. View "Marentette v. Abbott Laboratories" on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit denied a petition for review of OSHA's final order affirming a citation issued to a construction company for a repeat violation of an excavation standard and assessing a penalty of $25,000. The court held that the Commission did not abuse its discretion by relying on previous violations more than three years old, because neither the Manual nor the Commissionʹs precedent limits OSHA to a three‐year look back period. Furthermore, the Commissionʹs precedents established that ʺthe time between violations does not bear on whether a violation is repeated.ʺ Finally, this was the company's third violation in six years. View "Triumph Construction Corp. v. Secretary of Labor" on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit denied the petition for review of FERC's two orders authorizing Millennium Pipeline to construct a natural gas pipeline in Orange County, New York. The court held that the Department waived its authority to review Millennium's request for a water quality certification under the Clean Water Act by failing to act on that request within one year. The court concluded that FERC did have jurisdiction over the pipeline where the Natural Gas Act provided that FERC had plenary authority over the transportation of natural gas in interstate commerce. View "New York State Department of Environmental Conservation v. FERC" on Justia Law

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WD filed suit against OGS, alleging that defendants violated its rights under the First Amendment, the Equal Protection Clause, and the New York State Constitution by denying WD's applications to participate as a food truck vendor in the Lunch Program based on its ethnic-slur branding. The Second Circuit reversed the district court's grant of summary judgment for defendant, holding that defendants' action violated WD's equal protection rights and its rights under the New York State Constitution. In this case, it was undisputed that defendants denied WD's applications solely because of its ethnic-slur branding. In Matal v. Tam, 137 S. Ct. 1744 (2017), the Supreme Court clarified that this action amounted to viewpoint discrimination and, if not government speech or otherwise protected, was prohibited by the First Amendment. The court rejected defendants' argument that their actions were unobjectionable because they were either part of OGS's government speech or permissible regulation of a government contractor's speech. View "Wandering Dago, Inc. v. Destito" on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of a complaint challenging the USCIS's denial of jurisdiction over plaintiff's application for an adjustment of his immigration status. The court agreed with the district court that the present action constituted an indirect challenge to an outstanding removal order issued against plaintiff and thus 8 U.S.C. 1252(a)(5) precluded subject matter jurisdiction. View "Singh v. USCIS" on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit held that the Secretary of Labor reasonably determined that the cited workplace conditions were subject to regulation under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards, rather than the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA). The court noted that the Secretary's reasonable determination regarding which conditions are to be regulated by MSHA and which by OSHA was entitled to substantial deference. In this case, the ALJ gave no deference whatsoever to the Secretary's decision to issue the citations for the Bag Plant violations under the authority of OSHA, but rather imposed his own interpretation of what the Mine Act covered. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded for further proceedings. View "Secretary of Labor v. Cranesville Aggregate Cos." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court vacated the Second Circuit's prior decision in this False Claims Act (FCA) case in light of Universal Health Services, Inc. v. United States ex rel. Escobar, 136 S. Ct. 1989 (2016). The court vacated and remanded for further proceedings because Escobar set out a materiality standard for FCA claims that has not been applied in this case. On remand, the district court must determine, in the first instance, whether relators have adequately alleged the materiality of defendants' alleged misrepresentations. View "United States v. Wells Fargo & Co." on Justia Law

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Constitution petitioned for review of the Department's decision denying its application for certification pursuant to Section 401 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, more commonly known as the Clean Water Act (CWA), 33 U.S.C. 1341. Constitution sought certification that its proposed interstate natural gas pipeline would comply with New York State water quality standards. NYSDEC denied the application on the ground that Constitution had not provided sufficient information. The Second Circuit held that, to the extent Constitution challenged the timeliness of the NYSDEC decision, the petition was dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. On the merits, the court held that NYSDEC's actions were within its statutory authority and that its decision was not arbitrary or capricious. The court deferred to NYSDEC's expertise as to the significance of the information requested from Constitution, given the record evidence supporting the relevance of that information to NYSDEC's certification determination. Accordingly, the court denied the petition for review. View "Constitution Pipeline Co. v. New York Sate Department of Environmental Conservation" on Justia Law