Suarez-Valenzuela v. Holder A Peruvian petitioner loses his appeal of a BIA decision that says he must be deported despite his fear of torture by government officials for his trial testimony about a police officer murdering petitioner’s companion; the 4th Circuit upholds the BIA decision based on current conditions in Peru, evidence of petitioner’s past torture and the possibility of his relocation within Peru.
Mark Beason v. North Carolina Department of the Secretary of State : The General Assembly gave the N.C. Ethics Commission – and not respondent – authority to interpret lobbying laws; therefore, respondent had no authority to interpret lobbying laws to encompass an “acting in concert” theory of liability.
We affirm the superior court’s order setting aside the civil fine assessment against petitioner.
Since petitioner’s state constitutional claim is still pending, this appeal is interlocutory. Nevertheless, where the trial court found that respondent was improperly interpreting statutes that it is responsible for investigating and enforcing, respondent suffers the risk of injury if we do not consider the merits of this interlocutory appeal.
G.S. § 120C-101(a) sets out the rulemaking responsibilities of the Ethics Commission and respondent. Respondent is required to adopt any rules, orders, and forms necessary to administer the provisions of Articles 2, 4, and 8 of the lobbying laws. However, the Ethics Commission is responsible for adopting rules necessary to interpret all provisions of the lobbying laws and for adopting rules necessary to administer Articles 1, 3, 5, 6, and 7 of the lobbying laws.
Respondent has no power to interpret any of the provisions of the lobbying laws. Any interpretation by respondent that expands or defines terms in a way that conflicts with the plain language of the statutes would be outside its statutory powers.
The trial court correctly concluded that respondent’s interpretation of the lobbying laws was “not entitled to traditional deference.”
We also agree with the trial court that the lobbying laws are penalty statutes, so they must be strictly construed.
Strictly construing § 120C-100(a)(9), we conclude that respondent improperly construed the definition of “lobbying” to find violations based on “coordinated efforts” or “acting in concert” with another.
Respondent only contended that petitioner engaged in “lobbying” as defined in subparagraph (a), which states that lobbying only includes direct communication or activities. Therefore, indirect communications, such as those that could be based on “acting in concert” or imputed liability, would not constitute lobbying. By finding violations of the lobbying laws based on imputed liability, respondent impermissibly expanded the definition of lobbying.
The trial court concluded that the Engineering Export Promotion Council (EEPC) was not a lobbyist principal for two primary reasons: (1) petitioner had no knowledge of EEPC, and (2) petitioner was not paid by EEPC.
Donald Beason v. North Carolina Department of the Secretary of State While the superior court found that petitioner never directly communicated with any individual on behalf of his alleged principals, the superior court failed to address whether petitioner engaged in lobbying “activities” on behalf of those principals.
Donald Beason v. North Carolina Department of the Secretary of State Petitioner asked the superior court to conclude that respondent lacked the authority to enhance civil fines using “aggravating” and “mitigating” factors pursuant to G.S. § 120C-602(b) and to enjoin respondent from enhancing civil fines with these factors.
Pashby v. Delia The 4th Circuit says a district court did not err in granting a preliminary injunction to a class of Medicaid recipients challenging the state legislature’s decision to limit their access to in-home Personal Care Services, but the case is remanded for the district court to spell out details – including the need for security – in the injunction.
Mondragon v. Holder A Salvadoran citizen who had temporary protected status is not eligible for discretionary relief from removal under the Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act because his 1996 conviction of assault and battery qualifies as a “crime of violence”; the 4th Circuit says he may not “retry” the A&B case during immigration proceedings to show that it was nonviolent.
Patel v. Napolitano A federal inmate who is a permanent resident alien in the U.S. cannot sue for a declaration that he is a U.S. national based his application for citizenship, Selective Service registration and declaration of permanent allegiance to the U.S., in order to qualify for certain prison programs, and the 4th Circuit affirms dismissal of his action under 8 U.S.C. § 1503(a).
American Mgmt. Services LLC v. Dep’t of the Army Documents provided to the federal government by a military housing contractor to obtain approval to terminate the contractor’s partnership with another company and sue it for alleged fraud are not discoverable by the defendant company through a FOIA request, and the 4th Circuit upholds the district court decision allowing the government to withhold the confidential documents.
WakeMed v. North Carolina Department of Health & Human Services The purpose of G.S. § 131E-183(a)’s Criterion 13(a) is to allow a certificate of need (CON) applicant to “demonstrate the contribution of the proposed service in meeting the health-related needs of the elderly and of members of medically underserved groups….”
North Carolina Growers Ass’n Inc. v. United Farm Workers Federal labor regulations governing farm workers, including workers on Christmas tree farms, could not be reinstated by the Department of Labor without the notice and comment period mandated by the Administrative Procedure Act, and the 4th Circuit upholds a district court decision invalidating DOL’s reinstatement of its prior regulations.