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

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Smith sued the United States and Capitol Officers Rogers and Anyaso, alleging that while working for a federal agency on November 5, 2009, he drove officials to Capitol Hill, and, at an attended barricade, Rogers, in uniform, “began to chastise and yell at him for dropping off his passengers at that location.” Smith made a U-turn and left the area. Rogers radioed other officers, allegedly stating that Smith’s car struck Rogers’s leg. Minutes later, Anyaso arrested Smith for assault with a deadly weapon and assault on a police officer. Charges were dismissed months later. The defense provided a video recording (no audio) of the incident and an audio recording of Rogers’ radio transmission, which had been provided to Smith while his criminal case was pending. On the audio recording, Rogers states that Smith “intentionally almost struck this officer.” The video showed aggressive driving by Smith. The D.C. Circuit affirmed summary judgment in favor of the defendants, upholding a determination that no material facts were in dispute and the court’s refusal to allow Smith to conduct discovery before its ruling. The officers had probable cause to arrest Smith. A “reasonable officer” would have felt threatened by the proximity of the fast-moving vehicle. The existence of probable cause foreclosed Smith’s claims of false arrest, malicious prosecution, Fourth Amendment violations, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. View "Smith v. United States" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit claiming that the OCC’s enforcement action against him was trumped-up and retaliatory. On appeal, plaintiff challenged the district court's dismissal of the case on the pleadings. At issue is whether the Constitution places any limit on the governmental policy-making discretion immunized by the discretionary-function exception to the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), 28 U.S.C. 2671 et seq. The court concluded, in line with the majority of its sister circuits to have considered the question, that the discretionary-function exception does not categorically bar FTCA tort claims where the challenged exercise of discretion allegedly exceeded the government’s constitutional authority to act. The court also concluded that plaintiff's Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Federal Bureau of Narcotics claims are not time-barred because the continuing-violations doctrine applies to extend the applicable statute of limitations where, as here, a plaintiff alleges continuing conduct causing cumulative harm. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded for further proceedings. View "Loumiet v. United States" on Justia Law

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Morris Days (a/k/a Jamil Days) held himself out to the public as a civil rights attorney working for a regional chapter of CAIR, when he was not in fact a lawyer. Plaintiffs, individual CAIR clients who were negatively impacted by Days' conduct, filed suit alleging that CAIR is responsible for the bad acts of Days because Days was CAIR’s agent. The district court granted summary judgment for CAIR. The court concluded that, viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to plaintiffs, and drawing all inferences in their favor, it would be reasonable to infer based on these facts that CAIR had the ability to control Days, and in fact exerted that control. Accordingly, the court found that genuine issues of material fact exist as to whether or not Days was the agent of CAIR. The court reversed and remanded for further proceedings. View "Lopez v. Council on American-Islamic Relations Action Network" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs, fourteen Jewish survivors of the Hungarian Holocaust, filed suit against the Republic of Hungary and the Hungarian state-owned railway arising from defendants’ participation in - and perpetration of - the Holocaust. The district court dismissed the suit, concluding that the 1947 Peace Treaty between the Allied Powers and Hungary set forth an exclusive mechanism for Hungarian Holocaust victims to obtain recovery for their property losses, and that permitting plaintiffs’ lawsuit to proceed under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA), 28 U.S.C. 1603 et seq., would conflict with the peace treaty’s terms. The court held that the peace treaty poses no bar to plaintiffs’ lawsuit, and the FSIA's treaty exception does not preclude this action. The court concluded, however, that the FSIA’s expropriation exception affords plaintiffs a pathway to pursue certain of their claims: those involving the taking of plaintiffs’ property in the commission of genocide against Hungarian Jews. Because those expropriations themselves amount to genocide, they qualify as takings of property “in violation of international law” within the meaning of the FSIA’s expropriation exception. Finally, plaintiffs’ claims do not constitute nonjusticiable political questions falling outside of the Judiciary’s cognizance. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded for further proceedings. View "Simon v. Republic of Hungary" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983, Title IX, and various D.C. tort laws, seeking damages from the District. Plaintiff alleged that, while attending a District school for emotionally disturbed students, she and a teacher had a consensual sexual relationship that led to the birth of a child. In regard to the section 1983 claim, the court concluded that in order for the district court to assess whether plaintiff stated a facially plausible complaint, plaintiff needed to assert the elements of the type of municipal policy that caused her injury. Plaintiff failed to do so in this case. In regard to the Title IX claim, the court also concluded that plaintiff has failed to satisfy the Davis ex rel. LaShonda D. v. Monroe County Board of Education standard where she has not alleged that anyone - much less an appropriate official - knew of any acts of sexual harassment while the harassment was ongoing. Finally, the court concluded that plaintiff failed to meet the statutory notice requirement for her tort claim and that her alternative claim seeking to discover a police report about the incident is forfeited. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Blue v. District of Columbia" on Justia Law