Administrative Law & Regulatory Litigation

Our team of Administrative Law practitioners has the experience to help you and your business navigate the most challenging, complicated and adversarial regulatory problems at the federal, state, or local level.  Our depth of experience allows us to focus on working with government agencies to avoid problems before they arise at the agency level and, if problems do arise, remedy or minimize them quickly and efficiently.  In those situations in which it is necessary to turn to the courts to correct governmental action, our litigators have the experience and understanding to protect your interests through all phases of the litigation and appeals process.

Our team has a comprehensive understanding of the legal principles governing how agencies make rules and regulations and the processes they use to resolve disputes with businesses and individuals.  Such understanding is critical not only when representing a client in a proceeding before a government agency, but also when mounting a challenge to an adverse agency decision in court or defending a favorable agency decision against a challenge in court by others.  Our team’s depth of experience gives our clients the benefit of going to an administrative proceeding or court with lawyers who are knowledgeable about the industries and fields in which our clients do business, the substantive regulatory laws affecting our clients and a full understanding of the legal doctrines that apply to the agency decision-making process -- each of which is essential to success.

Court of Appeals Decision Regarding Standing in the Context of Challenges to Zoning Reclassifications, Although Purporting to Disavow Any Bright-Line Test, May Have Established One Nonetheless

Although few attorneys are likely to get excited over litigating an issue involving “standing,” this is often an important and outcome-determinative hurdle that challengers to a zoning reclassification must overcome. In early 2013, the Court of Appeals of Maryland, in Ray v. Mayor and City Council of Baltimore, re-examined and distilled the caselaw on this issue in the context of a decision by the Baltimore City Council’s approval of a Planned Unit Development (“PUD”) which would bring a Wal-Mart to Baltimore’s Remington and Charles Village neighborhoods. As explained below, Ray is a critically important opinion for zoning and land-use attorneys, because, although purporting to peg standing as an issue “that it is based on a fact-intensive, case-by-case analysis,” the Court of Appeals – intentionally or not – may have created a bright-line test for proximity that challengers to a zoning reclassification must pass.

Ninth Circuit Preemption Case Raises Questions about the Authority of State and Local Governments to Regulate Energy Efficiency through Building Codes

On June 25, 2012 -- while Constitutional Law wonks waited with bated breath for the Supreme Court’s decision on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which came just three days later -- the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit rendered an interesting opinion on the relationship between the U.S. government and the States, which basically went unnoticed.   

Double Jeopardy, Collateral Estoppel, and Res Judicata In Maryland Administrative Law

The doctrines of double jeopardy, collateral estoppel, and res judicata, "are different; they apply in different circumstances and they prevent different things."  Colandrea v. Wilde Lake Cmty. Assoc., Inc., 361 Md. 371, 390, 761 A.2d 899, 909 (2000).  Although they may not sleep in the same bed, they should at least be thought of as residing on the same floor in the dormitory, as collateral estoppel and res judicata are two "branches of a doctrine known as estoppel by judgment," Klein v. Whitehead, 40 Md. App. 1, 13, 389 A.2d 374, 381 (1978), and both res judicata and collateral estoppel are "two of the individual members of a larger doctrinal family, known collectively as the law of double jeopardy."2  Burkett v. State, 98 Md. App. 459, 463, 633 A.2d 902, 904 (1993) (internal citation omitted); see Crist v. Bretz, 437 U.S. 28 (1978) ("A primary purpose of [double jeopardy] is akin to that served by the doctrines of res judicata and collateral estoppel -- to preserve the finality of judgments.").  Further, collateral estoppel and res judicata are based on "the sound and obvious principle of judicial policy that a losing litigant deserves no rematch after a defeat fairly suffered . . . on an issue identical in substance to the one he subsequently seeks to raise."  Astoria Fed. Sav. and Loan Ass’n v. Solimino, 501 U.S. 104 (1991).  Because the policies underlying the three doctrines are similar, it is not uncommon for litigants to argue more than one of them concurrently.