Articles Posted in U.S. D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals

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This case involved efforts to create an Armenian Genocide Museum. Gerard Cafesjian, one of the project's principal founders and benefactors, and CFF first filed suit against the Assembly, alleging that the Assembly failed to reissue a $500,000 promissory note as required by a Grant Agreement, asserting claims for breach of contract and breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing. The court concluded that the district court did not err in its disposition of appellants' claims for breach of fiduciary duty against Cafesjian and John Waters; the district court correctly determined that CFF was entitled to take the Grant Property in full because the Grants were fully funded at the time CFF exercised its reversionary rights; the court found no basis to disturb Cafesjian and Water's indemnification award; the court affirmed the district court's denial of appellants' post-trial motions for relief; and rejected the notion that the Assembly's lease in the Families USA building is invalid. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "Armenian Assembly of America, et al. v. Cafesjian, et al." on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs, descendants of the Herzog Collection's owner, claimed that following World War II the Hungarian government entered into bailment agreements with them to retain possession of the Collection and later breached those agreements by refusing to return the artwork. Hungary appealed the district court's partial denial of its motion to dismiss. Plaintiffs cross-appealed the dismissal of their claims to eleven pieces of artwork on international comity grounds. The court found Hungary's arguments unpersuasive and affirmed the district court's partial denial of its motion to dismiss. However, because the court agreed with plaintiffs that the district court prematurely dismissed several of their claims on international comity grounds, the court reversed that portion of the decision. View "De Csepel, et al. v. Republic of Hungary, et al." on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs, two widowed spouses of homeowners with reverse-mortgage contracts, brought suit against the Secretary of HUD, alleging that HUD's regulation defining the conditions under which it would insure a reverse-mortgage agreement was inconsistent with the applicable statute. The court held that the district court correctly reasoned that if relief for plaintiffs' injuries depended on the independent actions of the lenders, then plaintiffs would lack standing. The court held, however, that assuming the regulation was unlawful, HUD itself had the capability to provide complete relief to the lenders and mortgagors alike, which eliminated the uncertainty of third-party action that would otherwise block standing. Because the court decided that plaintiffs had standing, the court need not consider their alternative argument. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded for further proceedings. View "Bennett, et al v. Donovan" on Justia Law

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Karen Feld sued her brother, Kenneth Feld, after Kenneth had her forcibly removed from the building in which he owned a condominium she was visiting. Karen sued Kenneth for assault, battery, and false imprisonment. Kenneth counterclaimed that Karen had trespassed on his property. The jury found against Karen on her claims and against Kenneth on his. On appeal, Karen challenged the district court's determination that Kenneth could use force to remove Karen from the common areas of the building. The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that under D.C. law, the right to exclude another from one's property includes the right to use reasonable force, and given the findings of the district court, there was no reason to carve out an exception to this rule for condominium owners who seek to exclude persons from common areas. View "Feld v. Feld" on Justia Law

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This was an appeal from the denial of declaratory and injunctive relief against the foreclosure sale of an apartment complex for elderly and disabled low-income residents by HUD. The complex was funded by Section 811 of the Cranston-Gonzalez National Affordable Housing Act (Section 811), 42 U.S.C. 8013. Following the district court's grant of summary judgment and denial of injunctive relief against the foreclosure sale, HUD resumed foreclosure proceedings. HUD subsequently sold the property to a third party not before the court. Consequently, the court could not grant NBC effective relief and dismissed the appeal as moot.

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This case arose when Conrail sold its Harsimus Embankment in Jersey City to developers. The City, together with others interested in the historic and environmental value of the Embankment, sued Conrail alleging that the sale was unlawful because Conrail failed to obtain authority from the Surface Transportation Board (STB) to abandon the property. The district court dismissed the case for lack of standing. The court reversed and remanded, concluding that the City enjoyed Article III standing where Conrail's refusal to invoke STB proceedings injured the City by depriving it of the benefits of those proceedings and the City's injury could be redressed by a district court ruling that the Embankment qualified as "railroad line" that Conrail could not abandon without STB approval.

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This case concerned the San Diego fairy shrimp, an aquatic animal found in southern California, that was designated as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, 16 U.S.C. 1533. Plaintiffs, companies that owned land along the California-Mexico border, sued to challenge the designation of 143 acres of their property as critical habitat for the San Diego fairy shrimp. The court held that because the Fish and Wildlife Services had not reasonably explained how one isolated observation, involving a single 2001 sighting of four ant-sized San Diego fairy shrimp on the property at issue, demonstrated that plaintiffs' property was "occupied" by the San Diego fairy shrimp in 1997 (the relevant statutory date), the court reversed the judgment of the district court and remanded. On remand, the court ordered the district court to vacate the designation of plaintiffs' property as critical habitat for the San Diego fairy shrimp.

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This case concerned the San Diego fairy shrimp, an aquatic animal found in southern California, that was designated as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, 16 U.S.C. 1533. Plaintiffs, companies that owned land along the California-Mexico border, sued to challenge the designation of 143 acres of their property as critical habitat for the San Diego fairy shrimp. The court held that because the Fish and Wildlife Services had not reasonably explained how one isolated observation, involving a single 2001 sighting of four ant-sized San Diego fairy shrimp on the property at issue, demonstrated that plaintiffs' property was "occupied" by the San Diego fairy shrimp in 1997 (the relevant statutory date), the court reversed the judgment of the district court and remanded. On remand, the court ordered the district court to vacate the designation of plaintiffs' property as critical habitat for the San Diego fairy shrimp.

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Plaintiff filed an action against defendants claiming that they violated the D.C. Consumer Protection Procedures Act ("CPPA"), DC Code 28-3904, by inducing her to sell her house to one of the defendants and then failing to pay her the full amount promised. At issue was whether the district court erred in granting summary judgment under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 and sanctions under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 11. The court affirmed summary judgment where the district court correctly concluded on the record before it that one of the defendants was not a merchant subject to the CPPA. The court vacated the sanction award against one defendant where the defendant's conduct did not involve representations to the court that was sanctionable under Rule 11.