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T Mobile unsuccessfully applied to Wilmington’s Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) for permission to erect an antenna. The Telecommunications Act of 1996 allows a disappointed wireless service provider to seek review in a district court “within 30 days after” a zoning authority’s “final action,” 47 U.S.C. 332(c)(7)(B)(v), T Mobile filed suit. After the case had proceeded for over a year, the district court concluded that it lacked jurisdiction because the claim was not ripe; T Mobile filed its complaint before the ZBA released a written decision confirming an earlier oral rejection of the zoning application. T Mobile had not supplemented its complaint to include the ZBA’s written decision within 30 days of its issuance. The Third Circuit remanded the case. While only a written decision can serve as a locality’s final action when denying an application and the issuance of that writing is the government “act” ruled by the 30-day provision, that timing requirement is not jurisdictional. An untimely supplemental complaint can, by relating back, cure an initial complaint that was unripe. The district court had jurisdiction and should not have granted Wilmington’s motion for summary judgment. View "T Mobile Northeast LLC v. Wilmington" on Justia Law

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Ku, a citizen of Taiwan, was admitted to the U.S. in 1997 and became a lawful permanent resident in 2002. In 2014, Ku was charged with a single count of wire fraud. Ku waived her right to an indictment and was charged by information, which alleged that Ku was managing the finances of her in-laws and defrauded her in-laws by making personal use of their accounts. The BIA determined that Ku had committed an aggravated felony under 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(43)(M)(i) because that prior conviction constituted an offense involving fraud or deceit in which the loss to the victims exceeded $10,000 and that the conviction constituted a “crime involving moral turpitude” under 8 U.S.C. 1182(a)(2)(A)(i)(I) such that, without a waiver, she is ineligible for an adjustment of status. The BIA reversed the Immigration Judge, who had granted Ku a waiver of inadmissibility under 8 U.S.C. 1182(h)(1)(B) based on the extreme hardship that her deportation would cause her U.S.-citizen children. The Third Circuit rejected Ku’s petition for review. The loss to the victims, over $10,000, was sufficiently tethered to Ku’s conviction that the conviction qualifies as an aggravated felony; wire fraud constitutes a crime of moral turpitude. The court noted that it lacked jurisdiction to review the discretionary waiver of admissibility. View "Ku v. Attorney General United States" on Justia Law

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Simpson applied for a dealer’s federal firearms license (FFL) in 2010. During his interview, ATF representatives explained the legal responsibilities. Simpson signed an Acknowledgement of Federal Firearms Regulations. Simpson opened a firearms store. In 2011, Simpson attended a seminar where ATF officials discussed firearms regulations. In 2012, wanting to assemble AR-15 rifles, Simpson applied for an FFL to manufacture firearms. ATF officials met with him and discussed the relevant legal responsibilities, including the duty to mark all manufactured firearms and to keep a separate manufacturing acquisition and disposition (A&D) book. Simpson again signed an acknowledgment. Simpson applied to relocate his FFLs. An ATF Inspector met with him. Simpson again signed an acknowledgment under the Gun Control Act, 18 U.S.C. 921 (GCA). ATF conducted an inspection and decided to revoke Simpson’s FFLs. After a hearing, it was determined that Simpson had committed over 400 willful GCA violations: Selling or delivering firearms without having completed Firearm Transaction Records; transferring firearms without conducting background checks; incorrectly identifying firearms that had been transferred; failing to identify and mark firearms that he manufactured; failing to record the disposition of multiple firearms; and failing to appropriately sign and date ATF Form 4473 to indicate that he did not have reasonable cause to believe that a transferee was disqualified from receiving a firearm. The Third Circuit upheld the revocation. Simpson knew of and was plainly indifferent to his obligations by committing hundreds of GCA violations. View "Simpson v. Attorney General United States" on Justia Law

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At age six, J.C. was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, which affects the digestive tract and can cause abdominal pain, diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss, and malnutrition. J.C.’s school performance was generally strong through sixth grade; he did not have significant behavioral difficulties. From seventh grade onward, J.C. maintained grades just above a failing mark and had numerous disciplinary incidents. By tenth grade, J.C. was absent more than 30% of the time. In 2013, Cumberland accommodated his needs to sometimes sit out physical education classes and to leave class to use the bathroom. In 2014, following a serious disciplinary incident, Cumberland adopted a Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. 701, Section 504 Service Plan for J.C., providing for extra time to complete assignments and for class notes in case of frequent absences. After J.C.’s doctor stated that he should receive homebound instruction, Cumberland tried to implement that accommodation but J.C. was rarely present at home and was not cooperative. The district expelled J.C.; its psychologist’s evaluation concluded that J.C. did not have a “qualifying disability” under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), 20 U.S.C. 1400. J.C.’s independent educational evaluation reached the opposite conclusion, identifying specific learning disabilities. J.C. moved to another school district. The district court reversed the Hearing Officer. The Third Circuit affirmed. J.C. was eligible under the IDEA, Cumberland had violated its duty to identify students with disabilities, and Cumberland violated Section 504 by failing to evaluate J.C.earlier. In seeing Crohn’s as something requiring only a Section 504 accommodation, not IDEA special education, Cumberland treated the disease as something discrete and isolated rather than the defining condition of J.C.’s life. View "Culley v. Cumberland Valley School District" on Justia Law

Posted in: Education Law

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The district court certified a class of Citizens Bank mortgage loan officers from 10 different states who alleged that they were unlawfully denied overtime pay. In an interlocutory appeal, the Third Circuit reversed the class certification decision. The district court failed to “define the class or class claims” as mandated by Rule 23(c)(1)(B). The district court’s analysis did not support a definitive determination as to whether the plaintiffs’ representative evidence satisfied Rule 23’s commonality and preponderance requirements; nor did it support a conclusion regarding either the existence of a company-wide policy or Citizens’ knowledge of it. While the appellate court acknowledged its jurisdiction over class certification under Rule 23, it concluded that Rule 23 certification and collective action certification under the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. 216(b), are not sufficiently similar or otherwise “inextricably intertwined” to justify the exercise of pendent appellate jurisdiction. The court declined to consider the merits of the decision to certify a collective action under FLSA section 216(b). View "Reinig v. RBS Citizens NA" on Justia Law

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Bistrian, a detainee at the Philadelphia FDC, awaiting trial for wire fraud was placed in the special housing unit (SHU) four times. He became an orderly, allowed to interact with other SHU inmates. A fellow inmate, Northington, asked him to pass notes between inmates. Bistrian told officers, which led to a surveillance operation. Bistrian secretly passed inmate notes to prison officials, who photocopied them and gave Bistrian the originals to pass along. Eventually, Bistrian accidentally gave a photocopy to an inmate. After his cooperation became known, he received threats and made prison officials aware of them. In June 2006, prison officials placed him in the recreation yard with Northington and other inmates, who brutally beat Bistrian. Officials yelled but did not enter the yard until more guards arrived. Bistrian suffered severe injuries. In December 2006, officials again placed him in the SHU, citing death threats against him. At a 2007 sentencing hearing, Bistrian objected to his treatment. Two days after Bistrian’s counsel pressed for an explanation of his SHU time, Bistrian was returned to the SHU. Bistrian alleges that Warden Levi, denying an appeal, said Bistrian “would never see the light of day again.” In Bistrian’s civil rights suit, the district court granted qualified immunity to some defendants but denied summary judgment on Bistrian’s "Bivens" constitutional claims. The Third Circuit affirmed in part. Bistrian has a cognizable Bivens claim for the alleged failure to protect him; an inmate’s claim that prison officials violated his Fifth Amendment rights by failing to protect him against a known risk of substantial harm does not present a new Bivens context. The punitive-detention and First Amendment retaliation claims do amount to an extension of Bivens into a new context; special factors counsel against creating a new Bivens remedy in those contexts. View "Bistrian v. Levi" on Justia Law

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Consumer banks Hudson and M&T merged. Hudson’s shareholders claimed they violated the Exchange Act, 15 U.S.C. 78n(a), and SEC Rule 14a-9, by omitting facts concerning M&T’s regulatory compliance from their joint proxy materials: M&T’s having advertised no-fee checking accounts but later switching those accounts to fee-based accounts (consumer violations) and deficiencies in M&T’s Bank Secrecy Act/anti-money laundering compliance program. They argued that because the proxy materials did not discuss M&T’s noncompliant practices, M&T failed to disclose significant risk factors facing the merger, rendering M&T’s opinion statements regarding its adherence to regulatory requirements and the prospects of prompt approval of the merger misleading under Supreme Court precedent (Omnicare). The Third Circuit reversed, in part, the dismissal of the suit. The shareholders pleaded actionable omissions under the SEC Rule but failed to do so under Omnicare. The joint proxy had to comply with a provision that requires issuers to “provide under the caption ‘Risk Factors’ a discussion of the most significant factors that make the offering speculative or risky.” It would be reasonable to infer the consumer violations posed a risk to regulatory approval of the merger, despite cessation of the practice by the time the proxy issued. The disclosures were inadequate as a matter of law. View "Jaroslawicz v. M&T Bank Corp" on Justia Law

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Philadelphia Officers stopped a car for a traffic violation. The driver, a front passenger (Robinson), and a rear passenger, Burke, produced identification. Officers noticed the smell of marijuana and saw marijuana residue and decided to search for drugs. Burke was removed and frisked first. Fritz recovered a gun on the floor where Burke had been sitting. Burke and Robinson fled. Burke was quickly apprehended. Officer Madara broadcast that Robinson was a Black male, approximately 6’0”-6’1”, 160-170 pounds, wearing dark blue pants and a red hoodie. The description did not mention any facial hair. Officers Powell and Cherry responded. Powell viewed a photograph of Robinson on the patrol car's computer screen. Less than one minute later, the officers saw an individual (Bey). Bey was a 32-year-old, dark-skinned African-American man with a long beard, weighing about 200 pounds and wearing black sweatpants and a hooded red puffer jacket. Robinson was a 21-year-old, light-skinned African American man with very little hair under his chin and a tattoo on his neck, weighing 160-170 pounds. The officers approached Bey, who had his back to them, and ordered him to show his hands. Bey complied and turned around. Officers recovered a gun. Bey, charged as a felon in possession of a firearm, unsuccessfully moved to suppress the gun. The Third Circuit reversed. While the initial stop was supported by reasonable suspicion, the continuation of that stop, after Bey turned around and police should have realized that Bey did not resemble Robinson, violated the Fourth Amendment. View "United States v. Bey" on Justia Law

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In 1973, Bedrosian opened a UBS savings account in Switzerland to make work purchases while traveling abroad. Later, he began to use it as a savings account. From 1973-2007, Handelman prepared Bedrosian’s income tax returns. In the 1990s Bedrosian told Handelman about the Swiss bank account. Handelman replied that Bedrosian had been breaking the law every year by not reporting the account but that his estate could deal with it after he was dead. Bedrosian continued not to report his UBS account. In 2005, Bedrosian created a second (investment) account. Handelman died. Bedrosian authorized his new accountant, Bransky, to obtain his records from Handelman’s offices. Bransky prepared Bedrosian’s 2007 tax return, listing the bank account, and a Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR), 31 U.S.C. 5314, showing one of Bedrosian’s UBS accounts ($240,000); the account omitted contained $2 million. Bedrosian did not review the return but simply signed. He later sought legal counsel and began correcting his prior tax filings. In 2015 the IRS assessed a penalty for “willful” failure to disclose the larger UBS account at the statutory maximum of $975,789--50% of the undisclosed account. Bedrosian paid $9,757.89 and sought to recover that payment as an unlawful exaction. The government counterclaimed for $1,007,345. The district court concluded that Bedrosian’s violation was not willful. The Third Circuit remanded, reserving the question of whether federal court jurisdiction is established when a taxpayer files suit to challenge an FBAR penalty before fully paying it. The court clarified that, to prove a “willful” FBAR violation, the government must satisfy the civil willfulness standard, which includes both knowing and reckless conduct. View "Bedrosian v. United States" on Justia Law

Posted in: Tax Law

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Carlson was co-lead counsel representing the plaintiffs in the CBNV litigation. He began working on the case while an associate with the SSEM firm and continued working on it after he left the firm. He entered into agreements with SSEM regarding how fees recovered in CBNV and other cases would be allocated. After the final order approving the CBNV class settlement and fee award, SSEM filed a state court breach of contract action against Carlson, alleging that he owed the firm part of his CBNV fees. Carlson moved the federal district court, which had handled the CNBV litigation, to stay the state case and confirm his fee award. That court exercised ancillary jurisdiction to stay the state case and granted Carlson’s motion, concluding that SSEM was not entitled to any portion of the Carlson's fee because a condition precedent had not occurred. The Third Circuit reversed. The district court erred in exercising ancillary jurisdiction over the state contract dispute because it did not retain jurisdiction over disputes arising from the allocation of fees, the state law contract claim is factually distinct from the federal CBNV claims, exercising ancillary jurisdiction was not necessary to resolve matters properly before it, and the court had no control over the funds SSEM seeks. View "In Re: Community Bank of Northern Virginia Mortgage Lending Practices Litigation" on Justia Law