Articles Posted in U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit

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Petitioner, a pilot, seeks review of the final order of the NTSB that permanently revoked his certificates based on his criminal conviction, contending that the FAA’s earlier administrative action bars the FAA’s permanent revocation order by operation of various preclusion doctrines, double jeopardy, and due process. In this case, petitioner fraudulently sold helicopter rotor blades with maintenance records he had altered to hide the fact that another mechanic had deemed the blades to be unrepairable scrap. The court concluded that 49 U.S.C. 44726(b)(1)(A) plainly authorizes revocation of any airman certificate after a qualifying conviction, even if the FAA unsuccessfully pursued a prior subsection (B) administrative action based on the events underlying the conviction. The court further concluded that revocation of airman certificates in those circumstances is a civil, remedial measure aimed at protecting public safety that does not offend principles of preclusion, double jeopardy, or due process. Accordingly, the court denied the petition for review. View "Lauterbach v. Huerta" on Justia Law

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Petitioner, a pilot, seeks review of the final order of the NTSB that permanently revoked his certificates based on his criminal conviction, contending that the FAA’s earlier administrative action bars the FAA’s permanent revocation order by operation of various preclusion doctrines, double jeopardy, and due process. In this case, petitioner fraudulently sold helicopter rotor blades with maintenance records he had altered to hide the fact that another mechanic had deemed the blades to be unrepairable scrap. The court concluded that 49 U.S.C. 44726(b)(1)(A) plainly authorizes revocation of any airman certificate after a qualifying conviction, even if the FAA unsuccessfully pursued a prior subsection (B) administrative action based on the events underlying the conviction. The court further concluded that revocation of airman certificates in those circumstances is a civil, remedial measure aimed at protecting public safety that does not offend principles of preclusion, double jeopardy, or due process. Accordingly, the court denied the petition for review. View "Lauterbach v. Huerta" on Justia Law

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Maher, a marine terminal operator, challenges a decision of the Commission authorizing preferential lease terms to a competitor, APM-Maersk. The court concluded that, assuming arguendo that the Commission adequately responded to Maher’s contention that the same rates should be extended to it, the Commission’s explanation as to why APM-Maersk’s preference was based on a “transportation factor” was hopelessly convoluted, particularly in light of its precedent. The court remanded the case to the Commission for a more adequate explanation of its decision and policy. Accordingly, the court granted the petition for review and remanded. View "Maher Terminals, LLC v. FMC" on Justia Law

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The Coast Guard, after receiving whistleblower complaints, initiated an investigation against two foreign-flagged vessels. The Coast Guard subsequently ordered Customs to withhold departure clearance and the vessels were held for investigation for differing lengths of time, ranging from a couple of days to over a month. The vessels were released after appellants, the ship owners and operators, posted a bond and executed a security agreement. At issue in this appeal is whether the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security – acting through the Coast Guard – may impose certain conditions (nonfinancial in nature) upon the release of ships suspected of violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships, 33 U.S.C. 1901(a)(4). Determining that the case is justiciable, the court concluded on the merits that the first sentence of section 1908(e) gives the Coast Guard the requisite authority. Section 1908(e) states that “[i]f any ship subject to the [Convention]…is liable for a fine or civil penalty...or if reasonable cause exists to believe that the ship...may be subject to a fine or civil penalty [Customs]...upon request of the Secretary [the Coast Guard]...shall refuse...clearance,” and as such it clearly provides authority in the Coast Guard to simply hold the ship in port until legal proceedings are completed. Therefore, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Watervale Marine Co. v. DHS" on Justia Law