CA9: Intervenors show no standing to challenge admin. SDT to Oregon Prescription Drug Monitoring Program

Intervenors showed no Art. III standing to challenge the DEA’s administrative subpoenas to the Oregon Prescription Drug Monitoring Program. Art. III standing requires that they show independent standing to sue. Oregon Prescription Drug Monitoring Program v. United States Drug Enforcement Adm., 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 11292 (9th Cir. June 26, 2017). Summary by the court:

The panel reversed the district court’s order that the United States Drug Enforcement Administration’s use of administrative subpoenas issued against Oregon’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program violated intervenors’ privacy interests; held that the intervenors lacked Article III standing to seek relief different from that sought by Oregon; and held that the federal administrative subpoena statute, 21 U.S.C. § 876, preempted Oregon’s statutory court order requirement, Or. Rev. Stat. § 431A.865.

After the DEA issued two administrative subpoenas to the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, Oregon brought a declaratory judgment action, seeking a declaration that it could not be compelled to disclose an individual’s health information to the DEA unless ordered by a federal court. Intervenors, who consisted of the ACLU Foundation of Oregon and five individuals, brought a claim distinct from Oregon’s, namely that the DEA’s use of administrative subpoenas violated intervenors’ asserted Fourth Amendment rights in certain private health information. The district court granted the motion to intervene, and held that the DEA’s use of administrative remedies constituted a Fourth Amendment violation.

The panel held that the intervenors must establish independent standing because they sought relief different from that sought by Oregon, the plaintiff. Specifically, the panel held that Oregon’s basis for relief rested on a state-law procedural argument, whereas, intervenors’ claim for relief was founded on the Fourth Amendment and its requirement of probable cause. The panel concluded that the intervenors did not establish independent Article III standing, and therefore, they lacked standing to bring their Fourth Amendment claim and their related Administrative Procedure Act claim.

The panel rejected Oregon’s claim that its statutory requirement for a court order in all cases in which a subpoena was issued did not conflict with federal law. The panel held that the Oregon statute stood as an obstacle to the full implementation of the federal Controlled Substances Act, and consequently the two provisions were in positive conflict, and Or. Rev. Stat. § 431A.865 was preempted by 21 U.S.C. § 876.

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