Justia U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Government & Administrative Law
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Judge Higginson concluded that the restrictions on the President's removal authority under the Consumer Financial Protection Act are valid and constitutional. Judge Higginson found that neither the text of the United States Constitution nor the Supreme Court's previous decisions support appellants' arguments that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is unconstitutionally structured, and thus he affirmed the district court's judgment. View "Consumer Financial Protection Bureau v. All American Check Cashing, Inc." on Justia Law

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In this appeal stemming from the Deepwater Horizon litigation, the Fifth Circuit reversed the district court's order granting discretionary review and affirming a $77 million award against BP. The court held that the district court failed to consider investigating credible evidence of a sole, superseding cause for the claimant's loss. Furthermore, the district court's decision was made without the benefit of this circuit's guidance on causation. In this case, claimant is a global commodities merchandiser that purchases and supplies ammonia and fertilizers around the world. BP argued that claimant passed the V-Shaped Revenue Pattern due solely to a price spike and drop in the price of fertilizer that was unrelated to the oil spill. The court remanded for the district court to examine the issue in the first instance and to determine whether to remand to the Claims Administrator for additional factfinding. View "BP Exploration & Production, Inc. v. Claimant ID 100191715" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment to the Secretary in an action brought by Hendrick challenging Medicare payments it received for the 2015 federal fiscal year. The court held that the district court did not err by dismissing Hendrick's appeal, because the Board's determination that it did not have jurisdiction over Hendrick's appeal for failure to exhaust administrative remedies was correct. In this case, Hendrick received notice via the Federal Register but failed to request correction of its wage data by the published deadline in accordance with the established process under the statute. View "Hendrick Medical Center v. Azar" on Justia Law

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After plaintiff successfully challenged in bankruptcy court a tax penalty assessed against him by the IRS that exceeded $40 million, plaintiff filed suit against the IRS and three IRS agents, in their individual capacities, pleading a claim for damages against the individual defendants under Bivens v. Six Unknown Fed. Narcotics Agents, 403 U.S. 388 (1971), for allegedly violating his Fifth Amendment right to procedural due process. Plaintiff also sought attorney's fees he incurred litigating the penalty issue in his Chapter 11 bankruptcy case under 26 U.S.C. 7430 and the Equal Access to Justice Act. The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of defendants' Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) motion and dismissal of the action with prejudice. The court held that the district court properly concluded that this case was a new Bivens context and that special factors existed under Ziglar v. Abbasi, 137 S. Ct. 1843 (2017). The court also held that plaintiff was not entitled to recover attorney's fees because his request was untimely under 28 U.S.C. 2412(d)(1)(B) and he was not a "prevailing party" under 26 U.S.C. 7430(c)(4)(A)(ii). View "Canada, Jr. v. United States (Internal Revenue Service)" on Justia Law

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Clarence Ceasar, Jr. injured his neck and back while working as a longshoreman for Sea-Land Services, Inc. in 1997. Because of those injuries, Ceasar was unable to work and had to undergo several medical procedures. Thirteen years later, Ceasar and Sea-Land reached a settlement, under which Ceasar received a lump sum instead of continuing disability payments. Sea-Land remained on the hook for Ceasar’s ongoing medical expenses. Ceasar was cleared to return to longshoreman duties in 2010 with no restrictions, despite chronic neck and lower back pain. Ceasar started working for Universal Maritime Service Company ("UMS") and was injured again a year later when a coworker lowered a cargo container onto his hands. Sea-Land petitioned the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals for review of an order of the Benefits Review Board (“BRB”) which upheld the determination of an administrative law judge (“ALJ”) that Ceasar did not aggravate his 1997 injury at Sea-Land while working for UMS in 2011. After review, the Fifth Circuit determined the BRB did not err, denying Sea-Land's petition. View "Sea-Land Services, Inc. v. DOWCP, et al." on Justia Law

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Louisiana filed suit against the United States, alleging that the Corps failed to maintain the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway in compliance with the River and Harbor Improvements Act. The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of the complaint and held that Louisiana failed to satisfy the requirements for the waiver of sovereign immunity under section 702 of the Administrative Procedure Act, because the state did not challenge agency action and the state's alleged injury did not fall within the zone of interests of the River and Harbor Improvements Act. The court also held that the state's failure to act claim was not subject to judicial review under the APA because the Corps is not legally required to preserve and/or maintain the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway at a certain width. Therefore, the state's complaint was properly dismissed based on lack of subject matter jurisdiction. View "Louisiana v. United States" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit affirmed HHS's decision that extrapolating the Medicare underpayment rate to all claims paid over the relevant time period resulted in a repayment demand of more than $12 million. The court held that the district court correctly rejected Palm Valley's due process claim; Palm Valley failed to exhaust its challenge to the "homebound" standard and thus the court could not consider the issue; substantial evidence supported HHS's determination that many beneficiaries were not homebound; and there was no error in the extrapolation methodology. View "Palm Valley Health Care, Inc. v. Azar" on Justia Law

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The General Land Office challenged both the Service's listing of the Golden-Cheeked Warbler as an endangered species in 1990 and, about 26 years later, the Service's denial of a petition seeking to delist the Warbler. The Fifth Circuit held that the General Land Office's challenge to the Service's decision to list was untimely. The court held that the Service did not violate the National Environmental Policy Act or its implementing regulations when it declined to delist the Warbler, and thus the district court correctly granted the Service's motion to dismiss. However, the court agreed with the General Land Office that the Service applied the incorrect heightened standard when reviewing the delisting petition. Therefore, the court held that the Service's decision denying the delisting petition was arbitrary and capricious, and vacated the decision, remanding for further proceedings. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part, reversed in part, vacated in part, and remanded. View "General Land Office of the State of Texas v. United States Department of the Interior" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal, based on lack of subject matter jurisdiction, of plaintiff's action under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) and the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA). Plaintiff, a security guard, was shot in the leg while on duty by a pair of Islamic terrorists. The court held that plaintiff failed to satisfy the first prong of the discretionary function analysis, because he failed to point to a specific, nondiscretionary function or duty that prescribes a specific course of action for an agency or employee. The court also held that plaintiff waived his argument that a certain gun sale contravened the FBI's express policy prohibiting the sale of firearms to suspected terrorists, because plaintiff failed to adequately brief the issue. Likewise, plaintiff's argument regarding the law enforcement proviso was waived. The court declined to adopt the state created danger doctrine to overcome the FTCA's discretionary function exception; held that the district court properly dismissed the ATA claims for lack of subject matter jurisdiction; and held that the district court did not abuse its discretion by barring additional discovery. View "Joiner v. United States" on Justia Law

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ICP filed suit against Treasury and OCC, alleging claims under Section 3608 of the Fair Housing Act (FHA) and the Fifth Amendment. ICP alleged that defendants failed to regulate the federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program so as to promote fair housing. The district court granted summary judgment for defendants on three grounds. The court held that ICP lacked standing to sue either OCC or Treasury, because ICP could not establish causation or redressability. In this case, neither defendant regulates ICP. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment as to ICP's claims against OCC and Section 3608 claims against Treasury. Because the district court reached the merits of ICP's Fifth Amendment claim against Treasury, the court vacated the summary judgment and rendered a judgment of dismissal for want of jurisdiction. View "Inclusive Communities Project v. Department of Treasury" on Justia Law