Agency Deference

News & Analysis as of

Environmental and Industry Groups Challenge EPA Coal Ash Rule

The news has been full of stories and articles concerning Coal Combustion Residuals (CCR), also referred to as coal ash. CCR became a hot topic in 2008 when a coal ash pond at a utility plant in Tennessee spilled more than 5...more

Mass Appeal of Off Label Use

Hardly a week goes by without our blogging about accusations of off label promotion. This week is no exception. On Monday, we discussed a nice New York opinion rejecting a plaintiff argument that off label promotion saved a...more

Orchestra Left Without A Chair When The Music Stops: Another Independent Contractor Misclassification

How independent are musicians who play and perform with others? Do they have more artistic control on their own, or do they only become truly great artists in collaboration with others when their independent talents combine...more

Court of Appeal Sustains CPUC's Discretion to Fill Gaps in Statutory Scheme for Intervenor Compensation but Requires CPUC to Limit...

The California Court of Appeal (1st Dist., Div. 4) issued an important decision on April 19, 2016, in New Cingular Wireless PCS, LLC v. Public Utilities Commission, addressing a determination by the California Public...more

Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Federal Circuit Says It's Required to Accord the PTAB Deference Until Instructed Otherwise by...

On Tuesday, April 26, 2016, the Federal Circuit issued an order denying a petition filed by Merck & Cie for rehearing en banc of an Inter Partes Review (“IPR”) final written decision by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board...more

The Beat Goes On: D.C. Circuit Upholds NLRB View That Orchestra Musicians Are Employees

Last week, a federal appeals court enforced a ruling by the NLRB that orchestra musicians are employees, not independent contractors. The import of the decision in Lancaster Symphony Orchestra v. NLRB is sure to reverberate...more

Supreme Court Set To Hear Important CEQA Subsequent Review Case

On May 4, 2016, at 9 a.m. in its San Francisco courtroom, the California Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in yet another of the many significant CEQA cases it has tackled in recent years, this one presenting critically...more

Federal Circuit Maintains “Substantial Evidence” Standard of Review in AIA Post Grant Proceedings

On April 26, 2016, the Federal Circuit denied a petition seeking rehearing en banc of its application of the “substantial evidence” standard of review in post-grant administrative proceedings, in the case of Merck & Cie v....more

Fourth Circuit Holds that Title IX Protects Transgender Student’s Right to Use Men’s Restroom Consistent With the Student's Gender...

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit holds that Title IX protects a transgender student’s right to use the restroom that aligns with the student’s gender identity. The Fourth Circuit has become the first...more

Spotlight on Mississippi: Supreme Court Rules Against Department of Revenue's Claimed Entitlement to Deference

The Mississippi Supreme Court recently declined to give deference to the findings of the Department of Revenue in Miss. Dept. of Revenue v. Hotel and Restaurant Supply because the Department's findings were contrary to the...more

Analysis of Recent Cases Reveals What Justice Garland Could Mean for Employers

Amid a swarm of controversy created by Senate Republicans’ vow to stonewall a hearing or vote on any Supreme Court nominee during this election year, President Obama has nominated Merrick Garland, chief judge of the U.S....more

A Quick Look at Merrick Garland's Labor and Employment Record

On March 15, 2016, President Barack Obama nominated Chief Judge Merrick Garland of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court of the United States created...more

Big Surprise for Big River Steel

Think only environmental groups challenge permits? Think again. Big River Steel, LLC (BRS) proposed to construct a steel mill in northeast Arkansas and needed an air permit to operate it. The state issued the permit in...more

"Delaware Supreme Court Clarifies Earlier Rulings, Chancery Court Stakes Out New Positions"

Delaware courts tackled a number of issues of importance in 2015. The Delaware Supreme Court clarified prior inconsistent case law by reiterating that deference must be given to decisions made by disinterested directors. It...more

PTAB Trial Standard Of Review Requires Affirmance Despite Contrary Evidence

In Merck & Cie v. Gnosis S.p.A., the Federal Circuit affirmed the decision of the USPTO Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) that held the challenged claims obvious in an Inter Partes Review (IPR) proceeding. Although the...more

Federal Circuit Backs PTAB Decision Curtailing A Party's Use Of "Supplemental" Information

In Redline Detection v. Star Envirotech, the Federal Circuit confirmed that the PTAB can decline to consider timely filed “supplemental” information from a petitioner (after filing its petition) pursuant to 37 C.F.R. §...more

New Patent Claim Construction Review Standard

In early 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court changed the standard of review for patent claim construction with its decision in Teva Pharmaceuticals USA v. Sandoz Inc., 135 S. Ct. 831 (2015) (Teva I). Previously, the U.S. Court of...more

Merck & Cie v. Gnosis S.P.A. (Fed. Cir. 2015)

As she has done many times before (and so many times that she has been unfairly characterized as a scold on the Federal Circuit), Judge Lorraine Newman dissented from the panel majority decision affirming an obviousness...more

Maine court interprets wind energy law

Maine's highest court has issued an opinion interpreting Maine's laws governing wind energy project development. The opinion is noteworthy for its analysis of two areas of Maine wind energy law -- those designed to expedite...more

New Challenges for CEQA Review of Development Projects After California Supreme Court Invalidates Greenhouse Gas Analysis and...

In a 5-2 ruling that poses significant hurdles for developers addressing greenhouse gas (GHG) compliance and protected species mitigation under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), the California Supreme Court...more

Standard of Review in Discipline Matter

Professional Conduct Committee of the Saskatchewan College of Paramedics v. Bodnarchuk, 2015 SKCA 81, reinstating a decision of the College Discipline Committee. A paramedic was disciplined by a Discipline Committee of...more

Eighth Circuit Rejects OSHA’s Attempt to Expand the Scope of its Machine Guarding Standard

In a review of an Occupational Safety & Health Review Commission (OSHRC) decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit ruled this week to vacate a $490,000 penalty for failure to employ machine guards to prevent...more

Supreme Court Affirms Constitutionality of Administrative Monetary Penalty

In its decision in Guindon v. Canada (Guindon), released earlier this month, the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) considered the constitutionality of an administrative monetary penalty, or “AMP” provision. The SCC’s decision,...more

#AliceStorm: July is Hot, Hot, Hot…and Versata is Not, Not, Not

Part I: #AliceStorm and Versata - July invokes images of hot days, cool nights, and fireworks. When it comes to #Alicestorm, the fireworks are happening in the courts, with the Federal Circuit lighting up the sky....more

It's Unanimous! EEOC Conciliation Is Subject To Judicial Review

The Supreme Court last week rejected the EEOC’s longstanding position that pre-suit conciliation efforts are shielded from judicial review of any kind. Holding that “a court may review whether the EEOC satisfied its statutory...more

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