Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Matthew A. Goldstein, PLLC v. United States Department of State

United States Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit

March 14, 2017

Matthew A. Goldstein, PLLC, Appellant
v.
United States Department of State, et al., Appellees

          Argued November 21, 2016

         Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Columbia (No. 1:15-cv-00311)

          Matthew A. Goldstein argued the cause and filed the briefs for appellant.

          Katherine Twomey Allen, Attorney, U.S. Department of Justice, argued the cause for appellees. With her on the brief were Benjamin C. Mizer, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General, and H. Thomas Byron, III, Attorney.

          Before: Griffith, Srinivasan, and Millett, Circuit Judges.

          OPINION

          Griffith, Circuit Judge

         The plaintiff is a law firm that advises clients on U.S. law that regulates the international arms trade. Concerned that the State Department might enforce arms-control regulations against it in a way that would force disclosure of confidential client information, the law firm seeks declaratory and injunctive relief. The district court dismissed the action for lack of standing and ripeness. We affirm on the ground that the plaintiff lacks standing to bring a pre-enforcement challenge because it faces no credible threat of enforcement.

         I

         A

         The Department of State regulates international arms brokering under the Arms Export Control Act and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). In the interest of national security, the Act authorizes the President to designate various weapons and technologies as "defense articles" and to regulate their import and export. 22 U.S.C. § 2778(a)(1). All weapons or technologies so designated are placed on what is known as the United States Munitions List, see id., which currently includes items such as ballistic missiles, rockets, bombs, mines, tanks, and military submarines.

         The Act requires those who manufacture, import, or export these defense articles to register with the U.S. government, see id. § 2778(b)(1)(A)(i), according to procedures prescribed by the ITAR, see 22 C.F.R. §§ 120-130. The Act also requires that those seeking to finance, transport, or assist in the manufacturing, export, or import of defense articles-i.e., brokers-register with the State Department and obtain departmental approval before engaging in brokering activities. See 22 U.S.C. § 2778(b)(1)(A)(ii)(I)-(III).

         Part 129 of the ITAR governs these brokers. Before a person may be approved to engage in brokering activities, he must disclose to the State Department certain information, including the specific activity he intends to undertake; the name, nationality, address, and place of business of those involved; a description of the defense article at issue; the defense article's destination; and what the defense article will be used for. See 22 C.F.R. § 129.6(a)-(b). Registered brokers must also file annual reports with the State Department and maintain records related to their brokering activities. Id. §§ 129.10-11.

         As relevant here, in 2013 the State Department promulgated a rule to clarify that "brokering activities" include "[s]oliciting, promoting, negotiating, contracting for, arranging, or otherwise assisting in the purchase, sale, transfer, loan, or lease of a defense article or defense service, " id. § 129.2(b)(1)(ii), but exclude "activities by an attorney that do not extend beyond the provision of legal advice to clients, " id. § 129.2(b)(2)(iv). The preamble to the rule elaborates that "'legal advice' includes the provision of export compliance advice by an attorney to a client." Amendment to the International Traffic in Arms Regulations, 78 Fed. Reg. 52, 681, 52, 681 (Aug. 26, 2013). According to the State Department's website, legal advice that is not considered a brokering activity would also include

[a]dvising on the legality of a transaction, such as advising whether a transaction is ITAR compliant, tax rates or other laws may be preferential, drafting of contract terms where parties to the transaction have already been identified by the client, representing [a] client to a client-identified foreign party, conducting ITAR ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.