United States District Court, W.D. Tennessee, Eastern Division
ORDER GRANTING RESPONDENTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY
THOMAS ANDERSON CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
action for injunctive relief and a declaratory judgment,
Petitioners John Woods, M.D., and Tom McDonald, M.D., seek to
prevent Respondents from enforcing 21 C.F.R. §
1301.76(a) against them with respect to their current or
future employment as physicians with access to controlled
substances. Petitioners decry what they claim to be
Respondents' arbitrary enforcement. But in doing so,
Petitioners force a confrontation with a fundamental
principle of our Constitution's separation of powers-this
Court's very authority to resolve the case before it.
Unlike the Supreme Court, the jurisdiction of the inferior
federal courts consists solely of that which Congress grants.
And of that which Congress gives, Congress may take away.
Respondents direct the Court to a provision of the Controlled
Substances Act that they believe strips the Court of
jurisdiction over this action. The Court agrees.
the Court are the parties' motions for summary judgment
(ECF Nos. 33 & 42-1). The parties have thoroughly briefed
the issues in responses (ECF Nos. 42 & 46), replies (ECF
Nos. 47 & 48), and even in a separate motion (ECF Nos. 38
& 45), making the instant Motions ripe for decision. For
the reasons set forth below, Respondents' Cross Motion
for Summary Judgment is GRANTED. This action
is hereby DISMISSED for want of jurisdiction
but without prejudice. Accordingly, all pending motions are
DENIED as moot.
following facts are undisputed by the parties. See
Woods and McDonald's Statement of Material Facts, Feb.
15, 2017, ECF No. 34; Resp'ts' Resp. to
Pet'rs' Statement of Material Facts, Mar. 15, 2017,
ECF No. 42-2. Petitioners are both licensed physicians
employed by the Henderson County Community Hospital
(“HCCH”) in Lexington, Tennessee. In order to
prescribe and handle controlled substances, a physician must
obtain a registration from the Drug Enforcement
Administration (“DEA”). Both Petitioners
voluntarily surrendered their DEA registrations while
undergoing inpatient treatment for addiction and substance
abuse-Woods in 2011 and McDonald at some point before 2002.
Since 2013 and 2002 respectively, however, Woods and McDonald
have had full prescribing authority. During the approximately
14 years that McDonald has had such authority, he has
reapplied for and been granted DEA registration five times.
their Second Amended Complaint, Petitioners allege the
following facts that Respondents lack sufficient information
to either admit or deny. See Second Am. Compl., Dec.
2, 2016, ECF No. 22; Answer, Feb. 24, 2017, ECF No. 36. Woods
and McDonald are the only two hospitalists at HCCH. McDonald
has been working at HCCH since 2002, though he was a staff
doctor for the vast majority of that time. Woods has been
working at HCCH as a hospitalist since April 2015.
his involvement with the DEA began, Woods has attempted to
keep the DEA informed of his employment. Prior to beginning
his work at HCCH, Woods informed the DEA that he would be
working at HCCH. Also before his employment began at HCCH,
Woods spoke with a DEA agent about his recordkeeping
responsibilities at HCCH in light of his agreement with the
DEA. The DEA agent confirmed that Woods did not have to
submit prescriptions written for inpatient treatment. Thus,
the DEA knew that Woods would be working at HCCH.
November 10, 2016, the DEA was on-site at HCCH, and an agent
informed Dr. Woods that he believed that, pursuant to 21
C.F.R. § 1301.76(a), Woods must have a waiver from the
DEA in order to work at HCCH. The agent later confirmed this
belief, called Woods, and told him that HCCH must have a
waiver from the DEA in order for Woods to work at HCCH. The
agent told Woods that he could not work at HCCH while the
waiver was applied for and processed. Woods was suddenly and
unexpectedly out of work. Before the agent's
conversations with Woods on that day, the DEA had never told
Woods that he needed a waiver to work at HCCH. The DEA agent
also called HCCH that day and told HCCH that it must have a
waiver for Woods to work at HCCH and Woods could not work
until the DEA granted a waiver. The DEA agent further
informed HCCH that it must apply for a waiver for any other
physician who had surrendered his or her DEA registration for
cause. The agent instructed HCCH that any such physician
could not work until the DEA granted a waiver. HCCH
identified McDonald as the only other physician working at
HCCH that met this criterion. HCCH then informed both Woods
and McDonald that they could not work again until the DEA
granted a waiver. This was also the first time that McDonald
had heard of the waiver requirement.
granted HCCH waivers for both Woods and McDonald on January
18, 2017. Decl. of Kerry R. Hamilton, at 1, Apr. 12, 2017,
ECF No. 48-2.
filed their initial Complaint requesting a temporary
restraining order (“TRO”) and a preliminary
injunction (ECF No. 1) on November 10, 2016, and an Amended
Complaint (ECF No. 2) the following day. The Court issued a
TRO on November 15, 2016, preventing Respondents from
enforcing 21 C.F.R. § 1301.76(a) against Petitioners and
thereby precluding them from performing their duties as
physician-hospitalists at the HCCH. Order Adopting R & R
and Granting Pls.' Motion for TRO Enjoining the U.S.
D.O.J. and U.S. D.E.A. from Enforcing 21 C.F.R. §
1301.76(a) Against John Woods, M.D., and Tom McDonald, M.D.,
Nov. 15, 2016, ECF No. 13. On December 6, 2016, the Court
held a hearing regarding Petitioners' request for a
preliminary injunction. Min. Entry, Dec. 16, 2016, ECF No.
30; see Motion for Prelim. Inj., Nov. 23, 2016, ECF
No. 18. At the hearing, Respondents consented to entry of a
preliminary injunction allowing the uninterrupted work of
Petitioners during the litigation of this case. Min. Entry,
ECF No. 30. In the order that followed, the Court found that
all four factors used in analyzing a preliminary injunction
issue swung in Petitioners' favor, including likelihood
of success on the merits. Prelim. Inj., Dec. 12, 2016, ECF
No. 32. Accordingly, the Court issued an injunction. Order
Granting Motion for Prelim. Inj., Dec. 6, 2016, ECF No. 31;
Prelim. Inj., ECF No. 32.
the filing of the Second Amended Complaint on December 2,
2016, Petitioners request a declaratory judgment holding that
enforcement of 21 C.F.R. § 1301.76(a) against them is
barred for three reasons: (1) enforcement would violate the
doctrine of laches, (2) enforcement would be arbitrary and
capricious under section 706(2)(A) of the Administrative
Procedures Act (“APA”), and (3) enforcement would
constitute an impermissible, retroactive application of
Respondents' interpretation of section 1301.76(a).
See 28 U.S.C. §§ 2201, 2202. Petitioners
also request a permanent injunction prohibiting Respondents
from enforcing section § 1301.76(a) against them at HCCH
or any other future employment. Second Am. Compl., at 16, ECF
No. 22. Petitioners' Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No.
33) makes the above arguments and others, while
Respondents' joint Response and Cross-Motion (ECF No. 42)
raises the issues of subject-matter jurisdiction, standing,
and sovereign immunity, in addition to responding to
STANDARD OF LAW
judgment is proper where the pleadings, depositions, answers
to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the
affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to
any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a
judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56. When deciding a
motion for summary judgment, the Court must review all the
evidence and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the
nonmovant. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio
Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986). In reviewing a motion
for summary judgment, the Court views the evidence in the
light most favorable to the nonmoving party, and it
“may not make credibility determinations or weigh the
evidence.” Laster v. City of Kalamazoo, 746
F.3d 714, 726 (6th Cir. 2014). When the motion is supported
by documentary proof such as depositions and affidavits, the
nonmoving party may not rest on his pleadings but, rather,
must present some “specific facts showing that there is
a genuine issue for trial.” Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 324 (1986); Eastham v.
Chesapeake Appalachia, L.L.C., 754 F.3d 356, 360 (6th
Cir. 2014). These facts must be more than a scintilla of
evidence and must meet the standard of whether a reasonable
juror could find by a preponderance of the evidence that the
nonmoving party is entitled to a verdict in his favor.
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 252
(1986). “The standards . . . for summary judgment do
not change when, as here, ‘both parties seek to resolve
[the] case through the vehicle of cross-motions for summary
judgment.'” Craig v. Bridges Bros. Trucking
LLC, 823 F.3d 382, 387 (6th Cir. 2016) (quoting Taft
Broad. Co. v. United States, 929 F.2d 240, 248 (6th Cir.
Statements of Undisputed Material Facts
beginning its analysis, the Court finds it necessary to
address a procedural issuerelated to the statements of undisputed
material facts that must accompany summary judgment motions.
Local Rule 56.1 provides that “any motion for summary
judgment made pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 56 shall be
accompanied by a separate, concise statement of the material
facts as to which the moving party contends there is no
genuine issue for trial.” W.D. Tenn. R. 56.1(a). This
includes cross-motions. Petitioners correctly point out that
Respondents' cross-motion failed to include a statement
of undisputed material facts. They urge the Court to deny
Respondents' cross-motion ...