Appeal in Case Alleging that U.S. Military Enslaved Plaintiff, Plus Administrative, Criminal and Consumer Protection Matters

By FindLaw Staff on May 28, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Lichoulas v. FERC, No. 08-1373, involved a petition for review of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's (FERC) order terminating petitioner's license to operate a hydropower project attached to a historic six-story mill building in Lowell, Massachusetts.  The D.C. Circuit denied the petition, holding that 1) FERC's application of the implied surrender doctrine here was not arbitrary and capricious; the Commission examined the relevant data and articulated a satisfactory explanation for its action, including a rational connection between the facts found and the choice made; 2) even assuming arguendo that certain challenged contacts by FERC officials violated FERC regulations, there was no indication that they influenced the ultimate decision makers; and 3) petitioner did not identify any issue he could explore at an evidentiary hearing that could not be adequately addressed on the papers.

Kiyemba v. Obama, No. 08-5424, concerned habeas petitions challenging petitioners' detention at Guantanamo Bay.  On remand from the Supreme Court, the D.C. Circuit reinstated its previous opinion, holding that the statutory restrictions on funding for Guantanamo detainees to return to the U.S., which applied to all Guantanamo detainees, were not legislative punishments, and they deprived petitioners of no right they already possessed.

Nattah v. Bush, No. 08-5119, involved an action claiming that the U.S. military abducted plaintiff into slavery and forced him to serve on the front lines in Iraq.  The court of appeals partially affirmed the dismissal of the complaint, on the ground that the Virginia statute of limitations barred plaintiff's fraud claim.  However, the court vacated in part, holding that 1) sovereign immunity did not protect the Secretary of Defense from plaintiff's non-monetary claims; and 2) even assuming plaintiff was an at-will employee, defendant might nonetheless be obligated to provide promised benefits.

Shaw v. Marriott Int'l., Inc., No. 08-7142, involved an action under the District of Columbia consumer protection statute to challenge the pricing practices of Marriott's Russian hotels.  The court affirmed summary judgment for defendant in part, on the ground that the District of Columbia had an insufficient interest in the dispute for its law to apply.  However, the court reversed in part, on the ground that plaintiffs proffered evidence that Marriott was responsible for their loss because it exercised some control over the franchised hotels at issue, including capping the rates they charge for rooms.

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