This week is Court Week at the Federal Circuit, with hearings starting tomorrow and extending to next Monday. As the court previously announced, some of this week’s arguments will take place in Philadelphia. Regardless of where the arguments take place—Philadelphia or Washington D.C.—the Federal Circuit is providing access to live audio of each panel scheduled for argument via the Federal Circuit’s YouTube channel. In total, the court will convene thirteen panels to consider 65 cases. Of these 65 cases, the court will hear oral arguments in 45. And of these argued cases, three cases attracted amicus briefs. Here’s what you need to know about these three cases.
Secretary of Defense v. Raytheon Co.
As explained in our argument preview, this is a government contract case in which the Secretary of Defense appeals a decision of the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals. This appeal relates to Raytheon’s compliance with Federal Acquisition Regulations regarding whether lobbying costs and acquisition and divesture costs may be passed on to the government.
In its opening brief, the Secretary argues that “Raytheon did not comply with the FAR” because “Raytheon relied on corporate polices that do not conform to the plain language of the controlling regulations.” Moreover, the Secretary contends, “[e]qually unacceptable are the specific corporate policies under which Raytheon instructed the lobbyists and [acquisition and divesture] team to not even report the entirety of the time they spent engaged in the unallowable activities that they were hired to perform.”
In response, Raytheon argues that “the Board neither erred nor clearly erred” in its ruling that “the Government failed to prove that Raytheon sought reimbursement for any unallowable costs.” Further, Raytheon asserts that “time spent on lobbying activities” were “accurately recorded” while “unallowable costs associated with those lobbying activities” were “identified and excluded.”
This case attracted an amicus brief in support of Raytheon from The National Association of Manufacturers and Aerospace Industries Association.
Daniel Volk will argue for the Secretary of Defense.
John Chesley will argue for Raytheon.
This argument is scheduled to take place tomorrow, Tuesday, November 1, in the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law – Martin G. McGuinn Ceremonial Courtroom at 10:00 A.M. Eastern.
Ideker Farms, Inc. v. United States
As explained in our argument preview, this case concerns the federal government’s liability for taking private property. Specifically, in this case, the Federal Circuit will review the conclusion of the Court of Federal Claims that the government’s action was the cause-in-fact of flooding damage and that, as a result, a taking-by-flooding occurred. The government appeals the CFC’s judgment, while Ideker Farms cross-appeals.
In its principal brief, the United States argues “[t]he CFC erred by applying the wrong legal standard for proving causation in a takings case.” Further, the government argues, “the CFC committed several errors when evaluating the factors that the Supreme Court . . . has held courts must consider when determining whether a taking-by-flooding has occurred.” Finally, it contends, “the CFC erred in determining the date of the taking,” which resulted in “the CFC’s failure to hold Plaintiffs claims time-barred and also in an incorrect valuation date used to calculate the amount of compensation owed to Plaintiffs.”
Ideker Farms, in its principal and response brief, first argues “[t]he CFC correctly concluded that the government caused the flooding on plaintiffs’ properties.” It also argues “the CFC’s ruling does not require the government to act as a universal insurer against flooding.” As for its cross appeal, Ideker Farms asserts that the “CFC erred in refusing to award damages for crop losses caused by the . . . flooding while the taking was stabilizing” and “also erred in rejecting plaintiffs’ takings claims with respect to the severe flooding on their properties in 2011.”
This case attracted four amicus briefs from The American Farm Bureau Federation, The Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America, The Cato Institute and Mountain States Legal Foundation, and The Buckeye Institute, all in favor of Ideker Farms.
A former Solicitor General of the United States, Donald Verrilli, will argue for Ideker Farms.
Brian Toth will argue for the United States.
This argument is also scheduled to take place tomorrow, Tuesday, November 1, in the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law – Martin G. McGuinn Ceremonial Courtroom at 10:00 A.M. Eastern.
Behrens v. United States
As explained in our argument preview, this case concerns a claim the federal government was liable for taking land for public use through the National Trails System Act. Specifically, in this case, the Federal Circuit will review the determination by the Court of Federal Claims that the plaintiffs were not entitled to compensation because the scope of the easement in question was broad enough to encompass railbanking and the construction of a hiking and biking trail.
In their opening brief, the Behrens argue “[t]he CFC’s ruling on [the] scope [of the easements] was error[eous] because it is contrary to Missouri’s voluntary grant statute, numerous precedents from several Missouri courts and the Eighth Circuit interpreting Missouri law, and basic property law that an easement, by definition, has to be for a particular purpose.” The Behrens also advance an alternative argument based on abandonment that the CFC declined to address.
In response, the United States argues that Missouri’s statute governing voluntary grants “does not restrict property acquired by voluntary grant to use for railroad construction, maintenance, and operations only.” As to the Behrens alternative argument, the government asserts “[t]he CFC did not abuse its discretion in declining to consider Plaintiffs’ alternative takings theory . . . [because] [p]laintiffs deliberately chose not to pursue their alternative theory in their motion.”
This case attracted two amicus briefs from Professor James W. Ely, Jr. and The Missouri Farm Bureau Federation, both in favor of the Behrens.
Thomas Stewart will argue for the Behrens
John Smeltzer will argue for the United States.
This argument is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, November 2, in the Temple University Beasley School of Law – Duane Morris LLP Moot Courtroom at 10:00 A.M. Eastern.