Richard Menkes v. US Dept. of Homeland Security, et al, No. 09-5372 (D.C. Cir. 2011)Annotate this Case
Appellant filed suit against the United States Department of Homeland Security, the Coast Guard, and the Assistant Commandant of the Coast Guard (collectively "the Government") challenging the Coast Guard's determination to terminate his appointment as an unaffiliated, independent pilot. At issue was whether the Government's action violated the Administrative Procedures Act ("APA"), 5 U.S.C. 706(2)(A), as well as appellant's First Amendment and Fifth Amendment rights. The court held that the Coast Guard's interpretation of the term "voluntary association" in the Great Lakes Pilotage Act ("GLPA"), 46 U.S.C. 9304(a), easily survived review under Chevron. The court also held that appellant's First Amendment claim appeared to be precluded by the Second Circuit's judgment and failed on the merits. The court further held that the Coast Guard did not act arbitrarily and capriciously in determining that appellant's dispatch as an independent pilot expired after the 2003 navigation season. The court also rejected appellant's Fifth Amendment due process claim where he had no constitutionally protected entitlement to continued dispatch by the Coast Guard. Finally, the court held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying appellant's request for extra-record discovery.