Administrative, Civil Procedure, Criminal and ERISA Matters - DC Circuit
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Administrative, Civil Procedure, Criminal and ERISA Matters

The D.C. Circuit decided four petitions for review of agency decisions, one civil procedure matter, one criminal case and one ERISA matter.

Elliott v. US Dept. of Agric., No. 07-5385, was an action under the Freedom of Information Act to compel the U.S. Department of Agriculture to disclose blueprints to buildings located on an agricultural research campus.  The court of appeals affirmed summary judgment for defendant, holding that the information sought constituted matters "related solely to the internal personnel rules and practices of an agency" under FOIA Exemption 2.

In US v. Davis, No. 07-3100, the D.C. Circuit vacated defendant's theft conviction, holding that 1) given defense counsel's failure to articulate a justification for a witness's proposed testimony independent of certain document labels' truth, the court did not abuse its discretion by excluding it; and 2) the district court abused its discretion under Fed. R. Evid. 408 in permitting a witness to testify regarding defendant's offer of settlement and the statements that followed.

Iberdrola Renewables, Inc. v. FERC, No. 08-1195, involved a petition for review of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's (FERC) decision to allow a pipeline to change its rates without first obtaining the FERC's approval.  The D.C. Circuit denied the petition on the ground that the contract at issue specifically disclaimed the need for FERC approval of rate changes.

Resolute Natural Resources Co. v. FERC, No. 08-1268, concerned another petition for review of certain orders of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) declining to investigate allegedly anticompetitive conduct by a refining company involving oil pipelines in New Mexico.  The court of appeals dismissed the petition, holding that FERC decisions not to investigate were not subject to review.

In Pasternack v. NTSB, No. 09-1139, petitioner sought review of the FAA's revocation of petitioner's airman certificates on the ground that petitioner refused to take a mandatory drug test.  The court of appeals granted the petition, holding that the FAA erred by relying on an "implicit credibility determination" by the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), when in fact the ALJ made no such credibility determination.

Rumber v. Dist. of Colum., No. 09-7035, was an action to prevent the District of Columbia from acquiring a shopping center by eminent domain.  The court of appeals affirmed the dismissal of the complaint, holding that the district court properly abstained from hearing the case because only four of the plaintiffs owned or leased properties in the shopping center, and those four were already litigating the matter in the District of Columbia's court system.

Overby v. Nat'l Ass'n of Letter Carriers, No. 09-7050, concerned an action seeking a declaration that a purported amendment to a trust plan, which would have rendered plaintiff ineligible to receive benefits under the plan as a surviving spouse, was not properly adopted.  The court of appeals affirmed judgment for plaintiffs on the ground that the district court committed no reversible error in either its factual determinations or in its conclusions of law in finding that the trustees of the plan had not submitted the amendment to the fund's actuaries for an evaluation and estimate of its cost, as required by the governing provisions of the plan, and therefore the amendment was not properly adopted.

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