Appellate Litigation Clinic client prevails in federal agency

May 9, 2011Duke Law News

The U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has granted relief to Appellate Litigation Clinic client Luigi Boniface. The clinic had persuaded the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to remand his case to TSA for an administrative proceeding so he could prove he's not a security threat. The agency has now ruled that Boniface is not security threat and thus may regain his occupational license.

Boniface is a commercial truck driver who had a license to haul hazardous materials. In 2008, using recently enacted PATRIOT Act regulations, TSA took away the license based on his conviction for an offense he committed in 1975, more than three decades earlier. Boniface petitioned the D.C. Circuit for review, and the Court appointed Sean Andrussier, co-director of the Appellate Litigation Clinic, to support Boniface. Under Andrussier's supervision, a team of clinic students — Sam Burness, Kristin Collins Cope, Lisa Hoppenjans, and Meghan Ferguson, all 2010 graduates of the Law School — worked on the appeal. Ferguson argued the case before a D.C. Circuit panel consisting of Judges Douglas Ginsburg, Judith Rogers, and Janice Rogers Brown.

In July 2010 the court issued its decision agreeing with the clinic that TSA acted arbitrarily and capriciously, and remanding the matter to the agency so Boniface could prove he's not a security threat. That evidentiary proceeding just concluded, with the agency finding in favor of Boniface. Andrussier represented him pro bono in that proceeding.

"None of this would have been possible without the ingenuity and dedication of our clinic students, said Andrussier, who added that "Mr. Boniface is thrilled and amazed by the work our students have done on his behalf."
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