Month: March 2020

SCOTUS Opinion: “Safe-Berth” Clause In Maritime Contract Creates A Warranty of Safety

In Citgo Asphalt Refining Company v. Frescati Shipping Company, a punctured hull in a tanker caused a huge oil spill, which the owner of the tanker and the United States then paid millions to clean up. Those parties then sued the groups who chartered the tanker to recover those costs under a clause in the maritime contract that required the... Read More >

Client Alert: The Impact of COVID-19 on Commercial Leases – Force Majeure and Curtailed Court Operations

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the ability of many businesses to satisfy payment and other obligations under leases and other contracts.  As tenant income has precipitously dropped over the past few weeks, often as a result of government mandated closures or restrictions on operations, landlords and tenants are taking a hard look at “force majeure” provisions in leases.  First and... Read More >

Client Alert: Important Decisions Limiting a Carrier’s Duty to Defend

In difficult times, it is good to see courts continuing with their dockets and issuing favorable decisions for the industry.  On March 23, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia issued a very important decision limiting a carrier’s duty to defend. In Security Title Guarantee Corp. of Baltimore v. 915 Decatur St NW, LLC,... Read More >

Client Alert: Internal Revenue Service Suspends Certain Collection Actions

On March 25, 2020, the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) introduced its “People First Initiative” in which it will suspend certain tax collection activities currently ongoing and limit the number of new collection actions.  These limitations will run initially from April 1, 2020, through July 15, 2020.  The implication from the IRS is that the July 15th end date... Read More >

Client Alert: Order of the Governor of the State of Maryland, Number 20-03-23-01

Governor Hogan issued an order on March 23 updating his office’s order of March 19 prohibiting large gatherings and closing certain facilities and non-essential businesses.  The amended order urges Marylanders to stay home and asks employers to adopt work-from-home policies.  It is not, however, a shelter-in-place order. The amended order provides a non-exhaustive list of essential businesses that are not required... Read More >

SCOTUS Opinion: Courts May Consider Whether Deadline To Contest A Removal Order Has Been Equitably Tolled

When the Government has ordered that an immigrant be removed from the country for committing certain crimes, the Immigration and Nationality Act allows judicial review only on “constitutional claims or questions of law.” In Guerrero-Lasprilla v. Barr, two such immigrants sought appellate review of their removal orders based on whether their motions to reopen their removal proceedings were untimely or... Read More >

SCOTUS Opinion: Civil Rights Plaintiffs Must Prove But-For Causation

For years, Entertainment Studios Network, an African-American owned company, sought to have Comcast Corp. carry its channels. Comcast refused and ESN sued, alleging racial discrimination under 42 U.S.C. § 1981. ESN alleged that Comcast’s legitimate business reasons for refusing to carry ESN channels were pretextual. The district court dismissed the complaint, holding that ESN had failed to allege but-for causation... Read More >

SCOTUS Opinion: States Need Not Have Insanity Defense Based on Moral Understanding

Kansas permits defendants to raise an insanity defense based on whether the defendant “lacked the culpable mental state required as an element of the offense charged.” James Kahler, who was charged with capital murder for killing four family members, argued that he should have been able to raise an insanity defense based on whether he had a mental illness that... Read More >

SCOTUS Opinion: States Immune from Copyright Claims

When North Carolina published a photographer’s copyrighted work recording operations to recover a shipwreck off of its coast, the photographer sued under the Copyright Remedy and Classification Act of 1990. The district court held that the Act abrogated State sovereign immunity from such claims, but the Fourth Circuit reversed, holding that the decision in Florida Prepaid Postsecondary Ed. Expense Bd... Read More >

SCOTUS Opinion: Appellate Courts Must Review Late-Raised Arguments For Plain Error

Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 52(b) provides that where a criminal defendant fails to raise an argument in the district court, the appellate court can review the issue for plain error. The Fifth Circuit, as opposed to other circuits, had the practice of refusing to review factual matters not raised before the district court. In Davis v. United States, a... Read More >

Families First Coronavirus Response Act

On March 18, 2020, the 118th Congress of the United States signed into law the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which will go into effect on April 2, 2020. The primary details of this newly enacted law are as follows: EMERGENCY FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE EXPANSION ACT (Section 3101) Applies to employers with fewer than 500 employees, but more than 25... Read More >

Jackson & Campbell Coronavirus/COVID-19 Updates

At Jackson & Campbell, P.C. dependability is the cornerstone of our successful attorney-client relationships. Underlying our dependability is the care we have for our clients and their legal needs. We are sharing this message to assure you that we are keeping up with the rapidly changing news regarding the health and safety concerns surrounding the COVID-19 virus. One of the biggest... Read More >

The Council of the District of Columbia Approves Emergency Bill Expanding Foreclosure Protections

On March 3, 2020, the Council of the District of Columbia approved an emergency bill amending certain portions of the Housing Finance Agency Act to extend the Agency’s Reverse Mortgage Insurance and Tax Payment Program (ReMIT). ReMIT is a pilot program crafted to address seniors facing foreclosure on a reverse mortgage by providing subsidy payments (up to $25,000) to help... Read More >

SCOTUS Opinion: No Pre-emption for States to Use Federal Immigration Information to Enforce State Identity Theft Law

Under federal law, employers must verify, through an I-9 form, that they have “verified” that each new employee “is not an unauthorized alien.” In Kansas v. Garcia, three persons who were living in the United States illegally used the same false Social Security number on their I-9 forms, as well as their tax withholding forms, and were prosecuted under... Read More >