10.20.2005

Tenth Circuit Sticks to Its Position on a Standard of Review Issue

Here's circuit split commentary from the Tenth Circuit in Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance v. Bureau of Land Management, 425 F.3d 735 (10th Cir. Sep. 8, 2005):

The circuits are split over the standard of review of decisions whether to recognize the primary jurisdiction of an administrative agency. This Court, like the Fourth and District of Columbia circuits, reviews decisions regarding primary jurisdiction under an abuse of discretion standard. Marshall v. El Paso Natural Gas Co., 874 F.2d 1373, 1377 (10th Cir.1989); Brumark Corp. v. Samson Res. Corp., 57 F.3d 941, 947-948 (10th Cir.1995). Accord, Nat'l Tel. Coop. Ass'n v. Exxon Mobil Corp. 244 F.3d 153, 156 (D.C.Cir.2001); Envtl. Tech. Council v. Sierra Club 98 F.3d 774, 789 (4th Cir.1996). Other circuits review such decisions de novo. E.g., Access Telecomms. v. Southwestern Bell Tel. Co., 137 F.3d 605, 608 (8th Cir.1998) (reviewing the primary jurisdiction issue de novo without deciding the question); Newspaper Guild of Salem v. Ottaway Newspapers, Inc., 79 F.3d 1273, 1283 (1st Cir.1996); National Communications Ass'n v. Am. Tel. & Tel. Co., 46 F.3d 220, 222 (2d Cir.1995); Int'l Bhd. of Teamsters v. Am. Delivery Ser. Co., 50 F.3d 770, 773 (9th Cir.1995). We adhere to this circuit's standard of review, while noting that any error of law is presumptively an abuse of discretion and questions of law are reviewed de novo.

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