Articles Posted in Government & Administrative Law

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Verizon filed suit challenging the Board's denial of its application for a special use permit to construct a cellular communications tower. The district court dismissed the action as time-barred under the thirty-day limitations period of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 (TCA). The Eleventh Circuit reversed, holding that the Board's action became final not when the Clerk entered a document in the Ordinances and Resolutions books, as the district court found, but when the Board approved the minutes of the meeting at which it voted on Verizon's application. The court reasoned that only when an applicant receives sufficient notice does the decision become "final," and only then can the thirty-day clock begin to run. In this case, the minutes, created pursuant to published statute, provided the notice that due process and the Supreme Court's interpretation of the TCA required. View "Athens Cellular, Inc. v. Oconee County, Georgia" on Justia Law

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The Eleventh Circuit denied the petition for review of the Secretary's order requiring Georgia to repay approximately $2.1 million of federal grant funds to the United States Department of Education. The court held that the Secretary properly considered the circumstances of the underlying fraud in petitioner's case in denying the equitable offset remedy, which he noted was to be determined based on agency precedent on a case by case basis at the discretion of the trier of fact. In this case, the nature and scope of the violation was too serious to warrant an equitable offset given petitioner's employees participated in a complex fraud scheme which led to the state improperly awarding $5.7 million to seventeen subgrantees who did not qualify to receive those funds. View "Georgia Department of Education v. United States Department of Education" on Justia Law

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The Eleventh Circuit denied the petition for review of the DEA's denial of Jones Pharmacy and SND Healthcare's application for certificates of registration to dispense controlled substances under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), 21 U.S.C. 801 et seq. The court held that substantial evidence supported the DEA's determination that Jones Pharmacy's owner did not credibly accept full responsibility; the DEA's refusal to consider Jones Pharmacy's remedial measures did not render its decision arbitrary or capricious in this case; and the chosen sanction was not arbitrary or capricious. View "Jones Total Health Care Pharmacy, LLC v. DEA" on Justia Law

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The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's complaint for money damages against the United States, holding that Section 3730 of the False Claims Act, 31 U.S.C. 3730, did not waive the sovereign immunity of the United States. The court explained that Section 3730 said nothing about a complaint filed against the government by a relator whose qui tam action was dismissed for a discovery violation after the government obtained a settlement, and it did not expressly waive sovereign immunity from that kind of collateral attack. View "King v. United States Government" on Justia Law

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In 2011 and 2012, a number of individuals and closely held corporations known as Treasure Your Success (TYS) operated a fraudulent credit card interest reduction scheme. Universal Processing Services of Wisconsin, LLC (Universal) violated the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR), 16 C.F.R. 310.1 et seq., by providing substantial assistance to the TYS schemers. The district court found that a violation of the TSR constitutes an “unfair or deceptive act or practice” in violation of the Federal Trade Commission Act. As such, the district court was authorized to order restitution and disgorgement. Furthermore, the court clarified that substantial assistance under the TSR was itself sufficient to justify joint and several liability. The court reaffirmed its order holding Universal jointly and severally liable; Universal contended that was error and joint and several liability can only lie where the defendant is a participant in a common enterprise with the primary violators. The Eleventh Circuit concluded after review the district court did not abuse its discretion in holding Universal jointly and severally liable with the members of the TYS scheme. View "Federal Trade Comm'r v. Universal Processing Services of Wisconsin, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of the Hospitals' suit to recover recoupments. At issue was whether, under the Medicare Act, 42 U.S.C. 1395w-21 to 1395w-29, the Hospitals must exhaust their administrative remedies before bringing suit for underpayment by the Medicare Advantage Organization (MAO) that manages enrollee benefits. The court held that the Hospitals, who were challenging CIP's recoupment decision, were parties to an "organization determination" who were subject to the administrative exhaustion requirements of the Medicare Act. The court noted that although it was sympathetic to the concern HHS has expressed in amicus briefs, the language of the Medicare Act and its implementing regulations was clear that billing disputes between MAOs and noncontract provider assignees qualify as "organization determinations" and were thus subject to the Act's exhaustion requirement. View "Tenet HealthSystem GB, Inc. v. Care Improvement Plus South Central Insurance Co." on Justia Law

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The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of the Hospitals' suit to recover recoupments. At issue was whether, under the Medicare Act, 42 U.S.C. 1395w-21 to 1395w-29, the Hospitals must exhaust their administrative remedies before bringing suit for underpayment by the Medicare Advantage Organization (MAO) that manages enrollee benefits. The court held that the Hospitals, who were challenging CIP's recoupment decision, were parties to an "organization determination" who were subject to the administrative exhaustion requirements of the Medicare Act. The court noted that although it was sympathetic to the concern HHS has expressed in amicus briefs, the language of the Medicare Act and its implementing regulations was clear that billing disputes between MAOs and noncontract provider assignees qualify as "organization determinations" and were thus subject to the Act's exhaustion requirement. View "Tenet HealthSystem GB, Inc. v. Care Improvement Plus South Central Insurance Co." on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs are current and former federal law enforcement employees and their spouses who were deceived into investing in a Ponzi scheme presenting as the Federal Employee Benefits Group (FEBG). Plaintiffs filed suit against the Government under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), 28 U.S.C. 1346(b)(1), for negligent conduct and aiding and abetting the scheme. The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of the Government's motion to dismiss based on lack of subject matter jurisdiction and held that the misrepresentation exception applied to bar plaintiffs' claim. In this case, plaintiffs' claims arose out of Kenneth Wayne McLeod's misrepresentations about his bond fund. McLeod founded and ran the FEBG Bond Fund. View "Alvarez v. United States" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against the Miami-Dade County State Attorney under 42 U.S.C. 1983, after she informed plaintiff that his recording of a meeting between him and the Chief of Police violated the Florida Security of Communications Act, Fla. Stat. 934.03, and that the violation was a felony. The Eleventh Circuit reversed the trial court's judgment and held that plaintiff did not violate section 934.03 and, consequently, the government's threatened prosecution had no basis in the law. In this case, at no point did the chief, or any participant in the meeting, exhibit any expectation of privacy. Nor was there advance notice or published or displayed rules that established confidentiality and certainly none that prohibited note taking or recordings. Furthermore, the meeting fell within the "uttered at a public meeting" exception of section 934.02, and the circumstances did not justify an expectation of privacy. Because the court resolved the case under state law, it need not reach the constitutional issue of whether the recording was protected by the First Amendment. View "McDonough v. Fernandez-Rundle" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed suit seeking to move or extend the Brick-Kiln Dock to improve its accessibility. Plaintiffs argued that the deed by which plaintiffs conveyed the island property to the government and reserved the right to continue to use the dock permitted them to relocate the dock. Alternatively, plaintiffs contend that the Park Service's denial of permission to relocate or extend the dock was arbitrary and capricious. The court affirmed the district court's determination that, under the plain language of the deed, plaintiffs have no reserved right to unilaterally relocate or extend the dock. The court also concluded that the Park Service's denial of permission to relocate or extend the Dock was not arbitrary or capricious and did not exceed its authority. In this case, the Wilderness Act, 16 U.S.C. 1131(a), foreclosed relocation of the Dock, and the Park Service was authorized to regulate the marshlands. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "High Point, LLLP v. National Park Service" on Justia Law