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

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Municipal ordinances banning coal combustion residuals from landfills were preempted by Puerto Rico Environmental Quality Board’s approval of the disposal. AES Puerto Rico, a coal-fired power plant owner, claimed that two municipal (Humacao and Peñuelas) ordinances banning the approved handling of "coal combustion residuals" (CCRs) were preempted by federal and Commonwealth law and violated various provisions of the federal and Puerto Rico constitutions. The Puerto Rico Environmental Quality Board (EQB) had authorized disposal of coal ash at the El Coquí and Peñuelas Valley landfills within those municipalities. The district court granted summary judgment for the municipalities on AES's federal claims and declined to exercise jurisdiction over the Commonwealth claims. The First Circuit reversed, holding that the local ordinances may not be enforced to the extent they directly conflict with Commonwealth law as promulgated by the EQB. View "AES Puerto Rico, L.P. v. Trujillo-Panisse" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs were property owners who privately leased units in Worcester, Massachusetts to students from the College of the Holy Cross. Plaintiffs brought suit alleging that the City of Worcester engaged in a scheme, through its zoning and code enforcement officials and entities, to selectively enforce the Worcester Zoning Ordinance and state Lodging House Act in order to pressure Holy Cross to make voluntary payments in lieu of property taxes to Worcester. The district court granted the City’s motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim. The First Circuit affirmed, holding that the district court properly dismissed Plaintiffs’ claims for the reasons stated in the district court’s opinion. View "College Hill Props., LLC v. City of Worcester" on Justia Law

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Appellants sought permission from the Town of Rome Planning Board to build a wireless communications tower. The Planning Board voted to deny Appellants’ application. Appellants subsequently filed suit alleging various claims under the Telecommunications Act of 1996 (TCA), the Due Process Clause, and Maine law. The TCA provides relief to those who are denied permission to build telecommunications facilities at the state or local level through “final action.” The district court dismissed the majority of the TCA claims without prejudice because Appellants had not appealed to the Board of Appeals at the time they filed their TCA claims and also dismissed Appellants’ due process challenges. The First Circuit affirmed, holding (1) the district court correctly dismissed Appellants’ TCA claims, as the Planning Board’s decision did not mark the end of the administrative process and thus was not a “final action” for TCA purposes; and (2) Appellants’ federal constitutional due process claims were without merit. View "Global Tower Assets LLC v. Town of Rome" on Justia Law