Month: December 2020

Client Alert: Key Provisions in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021

The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (“CAA 2021") was passed by Congress on December 21, 2020 and signed into law by the President on December 27, 2020.  A few highlights of the new law include the following: Small businesses with fewer than 300 employees which can establish a 25% or more drop in gross receipts during the 1st, ... Read More

Client Alert: Congressional Ban on Anonymous Shell Companies in the U.S. Has Huge Implications for Businesses and Financial Institutions

While businesses across the country have been eagerly planning, preparing, and waiting for Congress to pass the latest coronavirus relief package, less attention was paid to the Corporate Transparency Act (CTA), which sailed through the House and Senate in early December.  The CTA was part of the National Defense Authorization Act which the President recently vetoed; however, the House voted ... Read More

SCOTUS Opinion: Court Defers Action On Census Case

In July, President Trump ordered that the 2020 census tabulate unlawful immigrants separately from other residents so that he would have the discretion to exclude unlawful immigrants from being counted for the basis of determining the apportionment of House seats for each state. Several states challenged that order, and a three-judge district court panel enjoined operation of the order due ... Read More

SCOTUS Opinion: Religious School Denied Relief From Governor’s Closure Order

On November 18, the Governor of Kentucky issued an order closing all K-12 schools through the start of the holiday break, December 18, with schools reopening on January 4, due to the ongoing pandemic. In Danville Christian Academy, Inc. v. Beshear, a religious school sued and sought a preliminary injunction against that order as applied to religious schools. The district ... Read More

SCOTUS Opinion: New Mexico Receives Credit For Evaporated Water Under River Contract With Texas

In 1949, Texas and New Mexico entered into the Pecos River Compact under which the states would share in the water flowing through the Pecos River – essentially, New Mexico agreed to “deliver” a certain amount of water to Texas by that river. In 2014, a tropical storm hit the area, and to avoid flooding Texas asked New Mexico to ... Read More

SCOTUS Opinion: Court Reinforces High Standard For Ineffective Assistance Of Counsel

The case of Shinn v. Keyer featured another death row inmate seeking to overturn his conviction through a federal habeas challenge under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996. Keyer alleged that his counsel was ineffective because he failed to present enough evidence of mitigation at sentencing, although Keyer himself had obstructed efforts of his counsel to develop ... Read More

SCOTUS Opinion: Court Unanimously Rejects Texas’ Last Gasp Attempt To Undo Election

After various efforts by the Trump campaign to reverse the election results in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin through state court lawsuits had failed, Texas filed a motion seeking leave to file its own lawsuit in the U.S. Supreme Court alleging that the same deficiencies alleged by the Trump campaign in the failed suits caused Texas to suffer injury in ... Read More

SCOTUS Opinion: Court Upholds Arkansas Pharmacy Law Against ERISA Challenge

In 2015, Arkansas passed a law requiring pharmacy benefit managers, as intermediaries between pharmacies and prescription-drug plans, to reimburse pharmacies for drugs at a price equal to or higher than the pharmacy’s wholesale price, allowed pharmacies an administrative appeal procedure on those prices, and other items meant to keep drug prices low. Some of the managers sued, arguing that the ... Read More

SCOTUS Opinion: Court Preserves Rape Convictions Against Military Servicemembers

Originally, the Uniform Code of Military Justice mandated that a rape conviction could be punishable by death. Under that Code, penalties punishable by death could be brought at any time, while all other offenses had to be brought within five years. In United States v. Briggs, three servicemembers were convicted of rape, but after their convictions the Court ruled in ... Read More

SCOTUS Opinion: Political Independent Lacks Standing To Challenge Delaware Political Balance Law

  Delaware’s Constitution requires that no more than a bare majority of judges in any of its courts be from the same political party (the “bare majority requirement”). It also states that the remaining members of three of those courts must be from “the other major political party” (the “major party requirement”). In Carney v. Adams, a registered political independent sued, ... Read More

SCOTUS Opinion: Religious Freedom Act Permits Claimants To Seek Monetary Damages Against Federal Agents Personally

  The Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 permits people to seek “appropriate relief” when their religious exercise has been unlawfully burdened by the federal government. In Tanzin v. Tanvir, three practicing Muslims sued certain FBI agents who placed them on the No Fly List after they refused to act as informants against their religious communities, seeking monetary damages under the ... Read More

Client Alert: PennyMac Holdings, LLC v. First American Title Insurance Company

Recognizing that Maryland appellate courts have not previously issued a published opinion as to either whether a closing protection letter constitutes a policy of title insurance or when claims against a closing protection letter accrues for statute of limitations purposes, the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland has issued a decision clarifying these, and other, areas of the law. In PennyMac ... Read More

SCOTUS Opinion: Court Enjoins New York Restrictions on Religious Gatherings

  In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order limiting public gatherings in color-coded zones. In a red zone, religious services were limited to ten people, while in orange zones the gatherings could total 25 attendees. In Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn, New York v. Cuomo, certain religious institutions challenged that order as violating ... Read More