Robbins v. Reagan, Nos. 85-5864

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
Writing for the CourtBefore ROBINSON, Chief Judge, and WALD and BORK; PER CURIAM; BORK
Citation780 F.2d 37,250 U.S. App. D.C. 375
PartiesRobert ROBBINS, et al., Appellants v. Ronald REAGAN, et al. Robert ROBBINS, et al. v. Ronald REAGAN, et al., Appellants.
Decision Date10 December 1985
Docket NumberNos. 85-5864,85-5943

Page 37

780 F.2d 37
250 U.S.App.D.C. 375
Robert ROBBINS, et al., Appellants
v.
Ronald REAGAN, et al.
Robert ROBBINS, et al.
v.
Ronald REAGAN, et al., Appellants.
Nos. 85-5864, 85-5943.
United States Court of Appeals,
District of Columbia Circuit.
Argued Sept. 26, 1985.
Decided Dec. 10, 1985.

Page 38

Appeals from the United States District Court for the District of Columbia (Civil Action No. 85-01963).

Peter J. Nickles, with whom K. Gregory Tucker and Florence W. Roisman, Washington, D.C., were on brief, for appellants in No. 85-5864 and cross-appellees in No. 85-5943.

Edith S. Marshall, Asst. U.S. Atty., with whom Joseph E. diGenova, U.S. Atty., Royce C. Lamberth and R. Craig Lawrence, Asst. U.S. Attys., Darrel J. Grinstead, Asst. Gen. Counsel, and Ellen Dickstein Kominers, Atty., Dept. of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C., were on brief, for appellees in No. 85-5864 and cross-appellants in No. 85-5943. Michael J. Ryan, Asst. U.S. Atty., Washington, D.C., also entered an appearance for Reagan, et al.

Before ROBINSON, Chief Judge, and WALD and BORK, Circuit Judges.

Page 39

Opinion for the Court PER CURIAM.

Opinion concurring in the judgment in part and dissenting in part filed by Circuit Judge BORK.

PER CURIAM:

This appeal is part of the ongoing controversy surrounding the tragic and growing problem of homelessness in the District of Columbia. At issue is the decision by the federal government, through the Department of Health and Human Services ("HHS"), to close a federally-owned building at Second and D Streets, N.W., which appellant, the Community for Creative Non-Violence ("CCNV"), has operated as a shelter for the homeless since January 15, 1984. 1 The federal government had committed itself in November of 1984 to convert the facility into a model shelter. This litigation ensued when CCNV and the federal government were unable to reach agreement on the extent of repairs necessary to fulfill this commitment.

Appellants seek reversal of the District Court's grant of appellees' motion for summary judgment on appellants' claim that the decision to close the shelter was arbitrary and capricious and thus violative of the Administrative Procedure Act ("APA"), 5 U.S.C. Sec. 701 et seq. (1982). Appellants also challenge the dismissal of their promissory estoppel claim that the government is precluded from reversing its pledge to build a model shelter. Appellees contend that the District Court lacked jurisdiction to consider these claims, that the APA claims are nonreviewable, and that the District Court exceeded its authority in requiring appellees to assist in locating adequate alternative shelter for the Second and D Streets residents.

We affirm the result reached by the District Court except to the extent that the court imposed requirements on the appellees that go beyond resolution of the present dispute.

I. BACKGROUND

The current controversy began in December 1983 when CCNV petitioned the Department of Health and Human Services' Federal Task Force on the Homeless to allow CCNV to utilize the then-vacant building at Second and D Streets, N.W., as a temporary shelter for the homeless. The General Services Administration ("GSA"), which owns the building, issued a permit to HHS allowing use of the building as a shelter. HHS then issued a three-month license to the District of Columbia government, which assigned the license to CCNV. The shelter opened on January 15, 1984.

CCNV subsequently requested that the shelter be kept open on a permanent basis. GSA indefinitely extended HHS' license. HHS offered to extend the District's license as well, but the District government refused the offer. Thereafter, HHS informally allowed CCNV to continue operation of the shelter.

CCNV then commenced efforts to secure funds to renovate the building. The Chairman of the Federal Task Force, Dr. Harvey R. Vieth, refused CCNV's request for federal funds, maintaining that homelessness was the responsibility of local governments and that requests for renovation or support services should be directed to the District government. Plaintiff Mitch Snyder responded by commencing a fast on September 15, 1984.

After 50 days, CCNV and HHS reached an apparent agreement--renovations would be completed at federal expense. Margaret M. Heckler, then Secretary of HHS, informed appellants that President Reagan had requested that HHS transform the facility "into a model physical shelter structure to house the homeless in the District of Columbia." 2 Secretary Heckler outlined

Page 40

seven specific renovation goals. 3 HHS officials later determined that funding for the shelter project would be drawn from monies appropriated for the Community Services Block Grant Act. 4

Emergency repairs were completed between December 1984 and February 1985 at a cost of approximately $90,000. However, the cooperation induced by Snyder's fast was short-lived. Disagreement regarding the scope of the federal commitment became apparent when CCNV submitted its renovation plan to the government. The GSA estimated that the CCNV proposal would cost $10 million. 5 HHS officials insisted they had never agreed to any renovation beyond the seven specific goals Secretary Heckler had announced--renovation that the government projected as costing $2.7 million. HHS formally authorized the $2.7 million expenditure on May 30, 1985. CCNV was provided with the government's renovation plan after threatening to abandon responsibility for the operation of the shelter.

CCNV subsequently protested the alleged inadequacy of the government's renovation plan and filed suit in the District Court on June 17, 1985. The original complaint sought to compel the defendants to perform all the renovation work CCNV believed was necessary to create a model shelter. CCNV demanded that the government take over operation of the shelter if it was not willing to renovate on this basis. Complaint paragraphs 1, 28, Robbins v. Reagan, Civ. No. 85-1963 (D.D.C.) (filed June 17, 1985), reproduced in Supplemental Joint Appendix 4, 13.

On June 21, 1985, Dr. Vieth announced that the government intended to close the shelter. Three reasons for the decision were announced: the deteriorated condition of the building, CCNV's refusal to cooperate with the GSA renovation plan and the absence of an organization willing to assume responsibility for operation of the shelter. Appellants sought and were granted a temporary restraining order barring appellees from posting notices of the future closing in the shelter. On June 26, appellants filed an amended complaint challenging the government's decision. Appellees then filed a motion to dismiss or, in the alternative, for summary judgment. After briefing and argument of the motion, the District Court remanded the matter to HHS, directing the agency to conduct notice and comment proceedings and to present a reasoned analysis for its decision. On July 26, the District Court issued a temporary restraining order, enjoining closure of the shelter pending completion of the remand proceedings and any subsequent review in the District Court.

On July 31, after analyzing the comments filed with HHS, Dr. Vieth recommended to Charles D. Baker, Undersecretary of HHS, that the shelter be closed but that the closure be delayed until August 31, 1985, "in order to permit the Task Force to exhaust all reasonable efforts to

Page 41

make alternative shelter arrangements." Dr. Vieth suggested that the $2.7 million be utilized in the relocation effort. J.App. 24-25. Undersecretary Baker adopted these recommendations and emphasized that:

the most crucial step that must be taken ... is to bring to successful conclusion [the Task Force's] efforts with the government of the District of Columbia and local shelter providers to assist them in finalizing plans already discussed with them to identify and make ready for occupancy alternative shelter arrangements for the residents of the shelter at 425 Second Street, N.W.

Id. at 110.

On August 19, 1985, 616 F.Supp. 1280, the District Court issued its opinion dismissing or granting summary judgment for appellees on all of appellants' claims. 6 In an order accompanying the opinion, the District Court authorized the government to "reclaim the shelter" provided that the government had first "devise[d] appropriate interim and long range plans to eliminate homelessness in the Nation's Capital...." 7

On August 20, 1985, this court denied appellants' emergency motion for expedited appeal without prejudice to appellants' right, if the District Court denied a stay pending appeal, to move for expedited consideration of such a stay in this court. The District Court then denied appellants' motion for stay pending appeal and on August 26, 1985, appellants moved this court for a stay pending appeal and for an emergency argument. Argument was heard on August 29, 1985, and the next day this court issued a per curiam order denying the motion and expediting the appeal. The denial was based on "appellees' in-court representation that they interpret the District Court order as preventing the federal government from reclaiming the building and closing the shelter until appellees have made specific arrangements for suitable alternatives for 'each and every person' who is currently utilizing the shelter." Robbins v. Reagan, No. 85-5864 (D.C.Cir. Aug. 30, 1985) (order).

During the pendency of this appeal, the government continued its efforts to locate alternatives to the Second and D Streets shelter. The government ultimately awarded $3.7 million to the D.C. Coalition for the Homeless to assist in the renovation and operation of two shelter facilities. A 600-bed, temporary men's shelter has been established in Anacostia. A 60-bed shelter for women is now operating on Florida Avenue, N.W. While opened amidst considerable controversy, these facilities are providing much needed food, health care and shelter at a time of critical need.

...

To continue reading

Request your trial
121 practice notes
  • Evangelical Lutheran Church in America v. Immigration and Naturalization Service, Civil Action 02-01297 (HHK) (D. D.C. 10/30/2003), Civil Action 02-01297 (HHK).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. United States District Court (Columbia)
    • October 30, 2003
    ...claim that the term "extraordinary circumstances" is so vague as to be unreviewable.6 See Bartlett, 816 F.2d at 699; Robbins v. Regan, 780 F.2d 37, 45 (D.C. Cir. 1985) ("The mere fact that a statute grants broad discretion to an agency does not render the agency's decisions completely nonre......
  • Berg v. Commander, Fifth Coast Guard Dist., Civ. A. No. 3:92CV193.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Virginia)
    • January 20, 1993
    ...review unless a statute expressly precludes review. Id. Accord Parola v. Weinberger, 848 F.2d 956, 958 (9th Cir.1988); Robbins v. Reagan, 780 F.2d 37, 42 (D.C.Cir.1985). See also 4 K. Davis, Administrative Law Treatise § 23:3, pp. 128-29 (2d ed. 1983) ("A case brought by a plaintiff who see......
  • Wilder v. Prokop, No. 84-2540
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (10th Circuit)
    • May 10, 1988
    ...Fry Brothers Corporation v. Department of Housing and Urban Development, 614 F.2d 732, 733 (10th Cir.1980); see also Robbins v. Reagan, 780 F.2d 37, 42, 43 (D.C.Cir.1985) (district court power exists under 28 U.S.C. Sec. 1331 to review any agency action under the APA, absent a preclusion-of......
  • Texas v. United States, No. 15–40238.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • November 9, 2015
    ...v. Richardson, 480 F.2d 1159, 1161–62 (D.C.Cir.1973) (en banc) (per curiam).109 Perales, 903 F.2d at 1051 (quoting Robbins v. Reagan, 780 F.2d 37, 45 (D.C.Cir.1985) (per curiam)).110 See infra part VII.111 "An alien who has been granted deferred action, an act of administrative convenience ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
121 cases
  • Evangelical Lutheran Church in America v. Immigration and Naturalization Service, Civil Action 02-01297 (HHK) (D. D.C. 10/30/2003), Civil Action 02-01297 (HHK).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. United States District Court (Columbia)
    • October 30, 2003
    ...claim that the term "extraordinary circumstances" is so vague as to be unreviewable.6 See Bartlett, 816 F.2d at 699; Robbins v. Regan, 780 F.2d 37, 45 (D.C. Cir. 1985) ("The mere fact that a statute grants broad discretion to an agency does not render the agency's decisions completely nonre......
  • Berg v. Commander, Fifth Coast Guard Dist., Civ. A. No. 3:92CV193.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Virginia)
    • January 20, 1993
    ...review unless a statute expressly precludes review. Id. Accord Parola v. Weinberger, 848 F.2d 956, 958 (9th Cir.1988); Robbins v. Reagan, 780 F.2d 37, 42 (D.C.Cir.1985). See also 4 K. Davis, Administrative Law Treatise § 23:3, pp. 128-29 (2d ed. 1983) ("A case brought by a plaintiff who see......
  • Wilder v. Prokop, No. 84-2540
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (10th Circuit)
    • May 10, 1988
    ...Fry Brothers Corporation v. Department of Housing and Urban Development, 614 F.2d 732, 733 (10th Cir.1980); see also Robbins v. Reagan, 780 F.2d 37, 42, 43 (D.C.Cir.1985) (district court power exists under 28 U.S.C. Sec. 1331 to review any agency action under the APA, absent a preclusion-of......
  • Texas v. United States, No. 15–40238.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (5th Circuit)
    • November 9, 2015
    ...v. Richardson, 480 F.2d 1159, 1161–62 (D.C.Cir.1973) (en banc) (per curiam).109 Perales, 903 F.2d at 1051 (quoting Robbins v. Reagan, 780 F.2d 37, 45 (D.C.Cir.1985) (per curiam)).110 See infra part VII.111 "An alien who has been granted deferred action, an act of administrative convenience ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT