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In re Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico

United States Court of Appeals, First Circuit

June 24, 2019

IN RE: THE FINANCIAL OVERSIGHT AND MANAGEMENT BOARD FOR PUERTO RICO, as representative for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico; THE FINANCIAL OVERSIGHT AND MANAGEMENT BOARD FOR PUERTO RICO, as representative for the Puerto Rico Highways and Transportation Authority, Debtors.
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PUERTO RICO, through the Secretary of Justice; FINANCIAL OVERSIGHT AND MANAGEMENT BOARD; PUERTO RICO FISCAL AGENCY AND FINANCIAL ADVISORY AUTHORITY, through the Secretary of Justice; PUERTO RICO HIGHWAYS AND TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY, through the Secretary of Justice; RICARDO ROSSELLO NEVARES, through the Secretary of Justice; RAUL MALDONADO GAUTIER, through the Secretary of Justice; JOSE IVAN MARRERO-ROSADO; JOSE B. CARRION, III; CHRISTIAN SOBRINO VEGA; ANDREW G. BIGGS; CARLOS M. GARCIA; ARTHUR J. GONZALEZ; JOSE R. GONZALEZ; ANA J. MATOSANTOS; DAVID A. SKEEL, JR.; ELIAS SANCHEZ, Defendants, Appellees, AMBAC ASSURANCE CORPORATION, Plaintiff, Appellant, OFFICIAL COMMITTEE OF UNSECURED CREDITORS, Intervenor, JOHN DOES 1-12, Defendants.

          APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF PUERTO RICO Hon. Laura Taylor Swain, U.S. District Judge [*]

          Atara Miller, with whom Dennis F. Dunne, Andrew M. Leblanc, Grant F. Mainland, Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP, Roberto A. Cámara-Fuertes, and Ferraiouli LLC were on brief, for appellant.

          Mark C. Ellenberg, Howard R. Hawkins, Jr., Lary Stromfeld, Ellen V. Holloman, Gillian Groarke Burns, Thomas J. Curtin, Casey Servais, Cadwalder, Wickersham & Taft LLP, Heriberto Burgos Pérez, Ricardo F. Casellas-Sánchez, Diana Pérez-Seda, Casellas Alcover & Burgos, Maria E. Picó, Rexach & Picó, CSP, Martin A. Sosland, Jason W. Callen, and Butler Snow LLP on brief for Assured Guaranty Corporation, Assured Guaranty Municipal Corporation, and Financial Guaranty Insurance Company, amici curiae.

          Vincent Levy, Daniel M. Sullivan, Margot Hoppin, Evan H. Stein, and Holwell Shuster & Goldberg LLP on brief for Professor John W. Ely, Jr., amicus curiae.

          Bruce R. Zirinsky and Zirinsky Law Partners LLC on brief for Representative Rob Bishop, amicus curiae.

          Martin J. Bienenstock, with whom Stephen L. Ratner, Mark D. Harris, Michael A. Firestein, Lary Alan Rappaport, Timothy W. Mungovan, John E. Roberts, Proskauer Rose LLP, Hermann D. Bauer-Alvarez, and O'Neill & Borges LLC were on brief, for appellee Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico.

          Peter M. Friedman, with whom Isaías Sánchez-Báez, Solicitor General of Puerto Rico, Carlos Lugo-Fiol, John J. Rapisardi, Elizabeth L. McKeen, Ashley M. Pavel, O'Melveny & Myers LLP, Luis Marini, and Marini Pietrantoni Muñoz, LLC were on brief, for appellees the Puerto Rico Fiscal Agency and Financial Advisory Authority, Christian Sobrino Vega, Ricardo Rosselló Nevares, Raul Maldonado Gautier, and Jose Ivan Marrero Rosado.

          Paul S. Samson, Riemer & Braunstein LLP, Gregory E. Garman, Erick T. Gjerdingen, and Garman Turner Gordon LLP on brief for Congressman Raúl Grijalva, ranking member of the House Committee on Natural Resources, and Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez, member of the House Committee on Natural Resources, amici curiae.

          Luc A. Despins, with whom Nicholas A. Bassett, Paul Hastings LLP, Juan J. Casillas Ayala, and Casillas, Santiago & Torres LLC were on brief, for the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors of All Puerto Rico Title III Debtors (Other than COFINA).

          Before Torruella, Lipez, and Kayatta, Circuit Judges.

          KAYATTA, CIRCUIT JUDGE.

         Ambac is a financial guaranty insurer and individual holder of Puerto Rico Highways and Transportation Authority (HTA) bonds. In this Title III adversary proceeding arising within HTA's debt-adjustment proceedings pursuant to the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA), Ambac brings constitutional and statutory challenges to measures the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico has taken to block payments to holders of HTA bonds. Because the Title III court lacks the authority to grant the declaratory and injunctive relief that Ambac seeks, we affirm the dismissal of Ambac's claims.

         I.

         Because this appeal comes before us from the dismissal of Ambac's constitutional and statutory claims, "we take as true the facts presented in [Ambac's] complaint and draw all reasonable inferences in [its] favor." Maloyv. ...


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