Articles Posted in U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit

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This case involves the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and City's efforts to build a new bridge across the North Fork St. Lucie River. Section 4(f) of the Department of Transportation Act, 49 U.S.C. 303(c), allows the Secretary of Transportation to approve projects that use section 4(f) lands only if the agency first determines that there is no feasible and prudent alternative to using that land. Plaintiff filed suit claiming that the FHWA abused its discretion in not selecting their proffered alternative that, when built with a spliced-beam construction, would avoid all use of section 4(f) lands. The FHWA concluded that the spliced-beam construction would be "imprudent" because it would cause significantly greater harm to non–section 4(f) wetland areas, as well as "severe social impacts." The court concluded that FHWA was thorough and careful in its analysis and thoughtful in its determination, and the court could discern neither an arbitrary or capricious action nor an abuse of discretion. In this case, the FHWA made its calculus carefully, giving thoughtful consideration to a wide variety of factors, and it worked with many agencies, even those that once opposed the project, to develop remediation plans that mitigate harms to the affected areas. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Conservation Alliance of St. Lucie County v. U.S. Department of Transportation" on Justia Law

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In 2005, the County adopted the Lauren Book Child Safety Ordinance, Fla., Code of Ordinances ch. 21, art. XVII, which imposes a residency restriction on “sexual offenders” and “sexual predators.” The Ordinance prohibits a person who has been convicted of any one of several enumerated sexual offenses involving a victim under sixteen years of age from “resid[ing] within 2,500 feet of any school.” Plaintiffs filed suit challenging the constitutionality of the County’s residency restriction. The district court dismissed the ex post facto challenge. Plaintiffs argue that they pleaded sufficient facts to state a claim that the residency restriction is so punitive in effect as to violate the ex post facto clauses of the federal and Florida Constitutions. The court concluded that Doe #1 and Doe #3 have alleged plausible ex post facto challenges to the residency restriction where they alleged that they are homeless and that their homelessness resulted directly from the County’s residency restriction “severely restricting available, affordable housing options.” Accordingly, the court affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded for further proceedings. View "John Doe #1 v. Miami-Dade County" on Justia Law