Articles Posted in U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals

by
MARPOL is the common name for the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1340 U.N.T.S. 62. At issue was whether the United States had jurisdiction to prosecute a nominated surveyor for knowingly violating the MARPOL treaty while aboard a foreign vessel docked in the United States. After thorough review of the relevant treaty and U.S. law, the court held that the United States had jurisdiction to prosecute surveyors for MARPOL violations committed in U.S. ports. Further, under the court's lenient standards of review for issues raised for the first time on appeal, the court found no reversible error in the indictment or jury instructions. Finally, the court affirmed the district court's denial of judgment of acquittal. Accordingly, the court affirmed defendant's conviction. View "United States v. Pena" on Justia Law

by
This case stemmed from a suit filed by plaintiffs against the Water District to enjoin the Water District from pumping polluted canal water into Lake Okeechobee. The Tribe joined the suit on plaintiffs' side. The Tribe subsequently appealed the district court's denial of its motion for attorneys' fees. The court affirmed the district court's finding that the Tribe was not a "prevailing party" because, although the district court had ruled in its favor, the decision was overturned on appeal. View "Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of FL, et al. v. South Florida Water Mgmt., et al." on Justia Law

by
This case concerned a challenge brought under the Administrative Procedures Act (APA), 5 U.S.C. 551-559, 701-706, to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service's denial of petitions to designate critical habitat for the Florida panther. The Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA), 16 U.S.C. 1531-1544, empowered the Secretary of the Interior to designate "critical habitat" for species of fish, wildlife, or plants that have been identified by the Secretary as "endangered" or "threatened." When the Service denied the petitions of environmental advocacy groups, these groups claimed that the denial of their petitions was arbitrary and capricious. The court concluded, however, that the denial of their petitions was not subject to judicial review under the APA because it was "committed to agency discretion by law." Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's dismissal. View "Conservancy of SW Florida, et al. v. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, et al." on Justia Law

by
Plaintiffs appealed the district court's grant of summary judgment against their claims under section 107(a) of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), Pub. L. No. 96-510, 94 Stat. 2767. Plaintiffs also appealed the district court's denial of their Rule 59(e) motion to clarify or amend the summary judgment order. At issue was whether parties subject to a consent decree could file claims for cost recovery under section 107(a) or whether their remedies were limited to filing claims for contribution under section 113(f) of CERCLA. The court agreed with its sister circuits that it must deny the availability of section 107(a) remedy under these circumstances in order "[t]o ensure the continued vitality of the precise and limited right to contribution." The court also held that the Magistrate Judge did not abuse his discretion by denying plaintiff's Rule 59(e) motion to alter or amend the summary judgment order. View "Solutia Inc., et al. v. McWane, Inc., et al." on Justia Law

by
This appeal concerned the actions and decisions of the FHWA and FDOT during the planning and development of the Indian Street Bridge Project in Martin County, Florida. Citizens brought this suit under the Administrative Procedures Act (APA), 5 U.S.C. 701-706, alleging that FHWA and FDOT violated both the National Environmental Protection Act of 1969 (NEPA), 42 U.S.C. 4321-4347, and Section 4(f) of the Department of Transportation Act, 49 U.S.C. 303, during development of the project. Citizens also requested an injunction to stop construction of the bridge. The court found no error in FHWA's incorporation of the local planning documents in the FEIS; concluded that FHWA's consideration of the relevant factors were sufficient and the Purpose and Needs Statement was not unduly narrow; concluded that appellees' compliance with NEPA was sufficient; rejected Citizens' argument that appellees erred by not completing a SEIS; and held that the analysis in the instant case demonstrated consideration that each of the alternatives was not feasible and prudent within the context of Section 4(f). Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's denial of injunctive relief and grant of summary judgment in favor of FHWA and FDOT. View "Citizens For Smart Growth, et al. v. Secretary, Dept. of Transp, et al." on Justia Law

by
Florida Water Environment Association Utility Council and South Florida Water Management District (appellants) appealed the district court's order approving a consent decree between the EPA and a group of environmentalist organizations (plaintiffs). The consent decree settled a suit by plaintiffs against the EPA that alleged that the agency failed to promulgate timely new water-quality standards for the State of Florida. Appellants claimed that the consent decree was substantively and procedurally unreasonable and that the district court abused its discretion in approving the decree. The court held that because appellants have not demonstrated a live case or controversy that would give the court jurisdiction over their case, the court dismissed their appeal.

by
The Georgia Parties, Gwinnett County, Georgia, and the United States Army Corps of Engineers (the Corps) appealed from a grant of summary judgment in this consolidated suit arising from more than 20 years of litigation between the parties. All of the underlying cases related to the Corps' authority to operate the Buford Dam and Lake Lanier, the reservoir it created, for local water supply. On appeal, the parties raised several jurisdictional matters and asserted a number of substantive claims. The court held that the district court erred in finding that it had jurisdiction to hear certain parties because the Corps had not taken final agency action. The court also held that the district court and the Corps erred in concluding that water supply was not an authorized purpose of the Buford Project under the Rivers and Harbors Act (RHA), Pub. L. No. 79-525, 60 Stat. 634. The court also held that the district court erred in finding that the 1956 Act expired after 50 years. The court also provided certain instructions to the Corps on remand and the Corps shall have one year to make a final determination of its authority to operate the Buford Project under the RHA and the Water Supply Act, 43 U.S.C. 390b(a).