Litigation > Administrative and Regulatory Litigation

Working in a complex regulatory and business landscape, marked by frequent changes in agency rules, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP lawyers represent clients in actions against the government based on far-reaching industry and litigation experience. An in-depth understanding of the legal principles, policy implications and practical issues affecting agency conduct is critical when navigating these complex issues. The legal constraints on government action do not depend solely on the specific agency at issue, but also on general principles of administrative law under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). We represent clients before federal and state administrative agencies, and appear before federal courts in regulatory litigation. We advocate for our clients in the agency decision-making process, with an eye toward making strategic arguments to set up successful court litigation if required.

We regularly represent clients in disputing regulatory rulemaking and adjudication in areas as diverse as health care and life sciences, energy regulation, labor and employment, international trade, communications and government contracts.

Our deep knowledge of these regulatory areas and administrative practice allows us to craft effective arguments to influence agency action and, where necessary, challenge agency decision-making. Akin Gump lawyers have a strong track record of success with regard to federal regulatory challenges. The strength of our regulatory team is enhanced by our Supreme Court and appellate lawyers, who possess administrative law experience across regulatory areas. Collectively, our team has decades of federal agency experience, with members having served as officials and lawyers in federal government agencies, including the departments of Health and Human Services (HHS), Defense, Interior and Transportation; Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC); Federal Communications Commission (FCC); Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC); and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Our lawyers have also worked with these agencies while in senior positions at the White House and in the Department of Justice.

Representative Engagements

The representative experience of our lawyers includes:

  • Allina Health Services v. Price, 2017 WL 3137996 (D.C. Cir. July 25, 2017): obtained first-ever decision that the Medicare Act requires notice-and-comment rulemaking for the agency to change a payment requirement even if the APA would not require it
  • Yazzie/The Hopi Tribe v. EPA, No. 14-73100, 14-73055 (9th Cir. 2017): successfully argued in consolidated appeals as intervenor in defense of EPA final rule regulating emissions from Navajo Generation Station
  • Friedman v. FAA, 841 F.3d 537 (D.C. Cir. 2016): successfully argued that the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) failure to either issue or deny a first-class medical certificate for a pilot constituted final agency action that the FAA was required to explain on remand
  • FiberTower Spectrum Holdings, LLC v. FCC, 782 F.3d 692 (D.C. Cir. 2015): successfully challenged the FCC denial of 689 wireless spectrum licenses; the court held that the FCC’s determination that FiberTower did not satisfy the “substantial service” requirement for renewal rested on an erroneous factual premise and thus was arbitrary and capricious
  • Allina Health Services v. Sebelius, 746 F.3d 1102 (D.C. Cir. 2014): invalidated a 2004 HHS payment rule; the agency failed to give adequate notice of a significant payment policy change and the final rule was not a “logical outgrowth” of the proposed rule
  • Gila River Indian Community v. United States, 729 F.3d 1139 (9th Cir. 2013): successfully challenged the Secretary of the Interior’s decision to take land held by the Tohono O’odham Nation into trust; under Chevron, the Secretary misinterpreted the language of the Gila Bend Act to be unambiguous
  • Cape Cod Hospital v. Sebelius, 630 F.3d 203 (D.C. Cir. 2011): successfully challenged 2007 and 2008 Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) rules as violative of the statutory rural-floor budget-neutrality provision; the court held that CMS failed to provide a reasoned response to comments submitted during rulemaking proceedings
  • Citation Oil & Gas Corp. v. United States Dep’t of Interior, 448 F. App’x 441 (5th Cir. 2011): challenged a decision of the Interior Board of Land Appeals, which affirmed an order of the Minerals Management Service, requiring Citation to pay royalties on leases in accordance with federal law
  • Catholic Health Initiatives v. Sebelius, 617 F.3d 490 (D.C. Cir. 2010): represented a Catholic hospital chain in the first and only federal court suit setting aside a long-standing Medicare program manual provision governing reimbursement for costs of offshore captive insurance
  • United Technologies Corp. v. U.S. Dep’t of Defense, 601 F.3d 557 (D.C. Cir. 2010): successfully challenged a Defense decision to release documents as arbitrary and capricious in a reverse-FOIA case
  • Baystate Medical Center v. Leavitt, 5454 F.Supp.2d 20, amended, 587 F. Supp.2d 37 (D.D.C. March 31, 2008): secured favorable decisions in the first cases ever decided by the Provider Reimbursement Review Board and federal district court requiring the correction of systemic errors in the calculation of the Medicare/SSI fractions that determine DSH payments to hospitals
  • Port of Seattle, Wash. v. FERC, 499 F.3d 1016 (9th Cir. 2007): successfully appealed on behalf of petitioner-intervenor City of Seattle (among others); the court held that FERC abused its discretion in denying potential refund relief for transactions involving energy during the 2000 and 2001 energy crisis in the western United States
  • In re Medicare Reimbursement Litigation, 414 F.3d 7 (D.C. Cir. 2005): successfully obtained declaratory judgment in novel mandamus claims requiring the Secretary of HHS to reopen final payment decisions.