Justia Construction Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Health Law
Mayor and City Council of Baltimore v. Azar
Baltimore filed suit against the Government, alleging that HHS's Final Rule, prohibiting physicians and other providers in Title X programs from referring patients for an abortion, even if that is the patient's wish, violates the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). The Final Rule, instead, requires them to refer the patient for prenatal care. Furthermore, the Final Rule requires entities receiving Title X funds, but offering abortion-related services pursuant to another source of funds, to physically separate their abortion-related services from the Title X services. After the district court issued a preliminary injunction enjoining the Government from implementing or enforcing the Final Rule because the Final Rule is likely not in accordance with law, the Government appealed. While the appeal of the preliminary injunction was pending and after discovery, the district court issued a permanent injunction on different grounds.The Fourth Circuit consolidated the appeals and a majority of the full court voted to hear both cases en banc. The court upheld the district court's grant of the permanent injunction on two grounds: first, the Final Rule was promulgated in an arbitrary and capricious manner because it failed to recognize and address the ethical concerns of literally every major medical organization in the country, and it arbitrarily estimated the cost of the physical separation of abortion services; and second, the Final Rule contravenes statutory provisions requiring nondirective counseling in Title X programs and prohibiting interference with physician/patient communications. Accordingly, because the court affirmed the permanent injunction in Case No. 20-1215, the appeal of the preliminary injunction in Case No. 19-1614 is moot and the court dismissed it. View "Mayor and City Council of Baltimore v. Azar" on Justia Law
Cutler v. HHS
Plaintiff filed suit challenging the religious exemption in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Pub. L. No. 111-148, 124 Stat. 119, as an unconstitutional establishment of religion. Plaintiff also argued that the Administration’s decision to temporarily suspend enforcement of some of the Act’s requirements for a transitional period deprived him of the equal protection of the laws. The district court granted the government's motion to dismiss and held that plaintiff lacked standing to bring either claim. The court agreed with the district court that plaintiff lacks standing to assert his equal protection claim because nothing in the transitional policy requires him to buy insurance. In this case, plaintiff's inability to maintain his old plan was the independent choice of his insurer. The court concluded, however, that plaintiff did have standing to bring his Establishment Clause challenge. On the merits, the court concluded that the claim fails because the qualifications for exemption are not drawn on sectarian lines. Rather, they simply sort out which faiths have a proven track record of adequately meeting the statutory goals. Moreover, the exemption promotes the Establishment Clause’s concerns by ensuring that those without religious objections do not bear the financial risk and price of care for those who exempt themselves from the tax. As configured by this specific statutory framework, that is an objective, non-sectarian basis for cabining the exemption’s reach. View "Cutler v. HHS" on Justia Law
Sec’y of Labor v. ConocoPhillips Bayway Ref.
The Secretary of Labor cited the refinery for nine "serious" violations of the asbestos in construction standard, which prescribes protective requirements based on measurable concentration of asbestos fibers to which employees are or may be exposed. The ALJ affirmed the violations and the classification. The Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission reduced the classification to "other than serious" under 29 U.S.C. 666, in part because the Secretary failed to present case-specific evidence of possible employee exposure to asbestos. The Third Circuit vacated and remanded for the citations to be affirmed as "serious." Precedent only requires that there could be exposure to asbestos that is substantially probable to lead to serious harm. Applying this standard, the violations were "serious;" there is no need for case-specific evidence. If the Secretary has shown violations of regulations involving Class II work and the presence of asbestos, the burden shifts to the employer to show that the violations were not "serious." View "Sec'y of Labor v. ConocoPhillips Bayway Ref." on Justia Law