Category Archives: Court Case

SCOTUS Opinion: Court Enforces The “American Rule” Of Costs Against The Patent And Trademark Office

The Patent Act provides that when an applicant for a patent brings suit against the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) when the Office rejects the applicant’s patent, the applicant must pay “[a]ll the expenses of the proceedings.” In Peter v. Nantkwest, Inc., a patent applicant sued the PTO under the Act when the PTO denied its application for a... Read More >

SCOTUS Opinion: Court Rejects Discovery Rule For Fair Debt Collection Practices Act Claims

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act requires that claims be brought “within one year from the date on which the violation occurs.” In Rotkiske v. Klemm, a debt collector filed suit against Kevin Rotkiske, served him where he no longer lived, and obtained a default judgment against him in 2009. Rotkiske learned of the judgment in 2014, and sued... Read More >

December Real Estate Update | Rae Lee Davis v. J. Garnett Davis, Jr.

On December 5, 2019, the Supreme Court of Virginia issued an opinion invalidating three gift deeds executed and delivered in 2013. The decision is significant in that evidence outside of the recorded documents – and, presumptively, outside of the review of any title examiner – was relied upon by the Court in reaching its decision. In Rae Lee Davis v. J... Read More >

Virginia Supreme Court Adopts Partial Subordination Rule

The case of Futuri Real Estate, Inc. v. Atlantic Trustee Services, LLC involved a question of first impression in Virginia regarding what should happen when a first-priority position lien subordinates itself to a third-priority position lien. Under the complete subordination rule, the first-priority position lien becomes junior to the other two liens on the property, the second-priority lien moves... Read More >

SCOTUS Opinion: Court Remands Alaska Political Contribution Limits Case For Closer Review

The first opinion handed down by the Court in its 2019 Term concerned Alaska’s law limiting contributions to candidates or election-oriented groups to $500 per year. The Ninth Circuit upheld the law, but the Court, in a per curiam decision in Thompson v. Hebdon, reversed and remanded. The Court noted that the Ninth Circuit chose not to apply the... Read More >

Is the Lender’s Title Policy Coverage Triggered in the Underlying Battle Between the Lender and the Homeowners Association in a Super-Priority Lien State?

In Wells Fargo Bank, NA, as Trustee v. Fidelity National Insurance Company, Case No. 3:19-cv-00241-MMD-WGC in the United States District Court for the District of Nevada (decided October 29, 2019), the trial court was recently confronted with an issue which has been brewing over the past several years in those states that provide Homeowners Association (HOA)/condominium liens with a super-priority... Read More >

Maryland Real Estate Update | October 2019

On September 27, 2019, the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland issued an opinion reversing a judgment against Security Title Guarantee Corp. of Baltimore. The decision is significant not merely for what the Court held, but for what claims were not raised by the property owners. In Lawrence R. Carver, Jr. v. RBS Citizens, N.A., Nancy and Lawrence Carver purchased multiple... Read More >

Virginia Real Estate Update | September 2019

On August 22, 2019, the Supreme Court of Virginia issued an opinion denying a developer’s claim of vested rights in a dedicated road. In Loch Levan Land L.P. v. Board of Supervisors of Henrico County, the Court affirmed the Circuit Court’s judgment and brought major disruptions to plans for development of 1,089 acres of land located only a few miles... Read More >

Supreme Court of Virginia Holds That Insurer is Entitled to Equitable Contribution From Another Covering Insurer and that Consent to Settlement Conditions Are Waived by Denial of Coverage on Other Grounds

In a decision issued on July 18, 2019, the Supreme Court of Virginia vacated a judgment entered in favor of a liability insurer seeking contribution against another liability insurer and remanded the case to the trial court on the grounds that the complaint had stated a claim for equitable contribution. Nationwide Mut. Fire Ins. Co. v. Erie Ins. Exchange, 829... Read More >

Changes in Legal Landscape That Could Impact Medical Malpractice Risks | August 2019

In researching and reviewing recent legal developments in the medical malpractice field, Jackson & Campbell, P.C. has identified recent changes in the law and the legal landscape that could impact medical malpractice claims and the risk associated with such cases. Below highlights some of these issues. Impact of Increase in Successful Challenges to Caps on Non-Economic Damages Louisiana (October 2016): Supreme... Read More >

Virginia and Washington, D.C. Real Estate Update | July 2019

The District of Columbia Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court of Virginia have recently issued decisions which are significant for those in the real estate industry. Washington, D.C. On July 11, 2019, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals issued its decision in Margaret Williams v. James Kennedy regarding intra-owner transfers within the context of the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act... Read More >

D.C. Court of Appeals Affirms Establishment of a Public Easement by Prescription Against a Tax Sale Purchaser Who Tried to Close Off an Alleyway

In Zere v. District of Columbia, the D.C. Court of Appeals restated the elements for a prescriptive easement in the District, with a particular focus on the element of adversity, by affirming a grant of summary judgment. Mr. Zere, an experienced tax sale purchaser, separately acquired five of six lots that formed a private alley. Mr. Zere then attempted to... Read More >

SCOTUS Opinion: Police May Take Blood Test Of Unconscious Driver Without Warrant Under Exigent Circumstances Doctrine

After Gerald Mitchell was arrested for driving while intoxicated, his breath test came out three times over the legal limit. He then became unconscious. Wisconsin law presumed that an unconscious person consents to a blood test, so the police took him to a hospital where a blood test revealed his BAC well over the legal limit. During his prosecution, Mitchell... Read More >

SCOTUS Opinion: Court Decides That Federal Courts Cannot Address Partisan Gerrymandering Claims

The case of Rucho v. Common Cause combined two different gerrymandering claims: one from North Carolina where the claim was that the redistricting plan hurt Democrats, one from Maryland which claimed that the plan hurt Republicans. In both cases, the district courts ruled that the plans violated the Constitution. The Court, in a 5-4 opinion by Chief Justice Roberts,... Read More >

SCOTUS Opinion: Court Blocks The Citizenship Question From The 2020 Census Questionnaire For Now

The Constitution requires a census to be taken every 10 years, and Congress delegated that task to the Secretary of Commerce. In 2018, the Secretary announced that he would reinstate a citizenship question on the 2020 census questionnaire, a question that had been included in almost every census up through 2000. Opposition to the question claimed that the question would... Read More >

SCOTUS Opinion: State Residency Requirement For Liquor Store Licenses Struck Down

Tennessee law required that to get a license to sell alcohol, the seller had to first be a Tennessee resident for two years. The state agency tasked with enforcing the law declined to do so after the state’s attorney general opined that the law violated the Commerce Clause of the Constitution. When two non-resident businesses applied for licenses, a... Read More >

SCOTUS Opinion: Auer Deference To An Agency’s Interpretation Of Its Own Regulations Survives, Barely

In Kisor v. Wilke, the underlying case concerned a Vietnam War veteran’s quest for disability benefits. The Department of Veterans Affairs interpreted its internal rule to deny the veteran benefits going back to when he first applied. The Federal Circuit affirmed the determination using Auer deference, established by the Court in Auer v. Robbins, 519 U.S. 452 (1997),... Read More >

SCOTUS Opinion: Court Strikes Supervised Release Statute That Permitted Additional Prison Time Without A Jury Determination

In United States v. Haymond, Andre Haymond was found guilty by a jury of possessing child pornography, a crime that permitted a prison term of zero to 10 years. After serving his term and while on supervised release, Haymond was found with what appeared to be images of child pornography on his devices. Under 18 U.S.C. sec. 3583(k), a... Read More >

SCOTUS Opinion: Court Strikes Down Violent Felony Residual Clause As Vague

Under 18 U.S.C. sec. 924(c)(3)(B), a defendant may receive a longer prison sentence for using a firearm in connection with a felony “that by its nature, involves a substantial risk that physical force against the person or property of another may be used in the course of committing the offense.” In prior cases, the Supreme Court struck down residual... Read More >

SCOTUS Opinion: Court Clarifies What “Confidential” Information is not Subject to a Freedom of Information Act Request

In Food Marketing Institute v. Argus Leader Media, a newspaper filed a request under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to the Department of Agriculture requesting information about retail stores who participate in the national food stamp program. The Department declined to provide store-level data on the basis that it was “confidential” and thus precluded from disclosure under... Read More >

SCOTUS Opinion: Court Strikes Down Law Against Immoral or Scandalous Trademarks

The Lanham Act prohibits registration of any trademark that contains “immoral[] or scandalous matter.” In Iancu v. Brunetti, an applicant sought to trademark FUCT (pronounced F-U-C-T), but was denied by the Patent and Trademark Office. The applicant appealed, arguing that the Act’s restriction violated the First Amendment. The Federal Circuit struck down the restriction as unconstitutional. The Court,... Read More >

SCOTUS Opinion: Seamen Are Not Entitled To Punitive Damages Under Claims Of Unseaworthiness

In Dutra Group v. Batterton, a sailor was injured when a hatch blew open. He sued the vessel’s owner claiming unseaworthiness, seeking compensatory and punitive damages. The owner moved to strike the punitive damages claim, which was denied by the district court and affirmed by the Ninth Circuit. The Court, in a 6-3 opinion by Justice Alito, reversed and... Read More >

SCOTUS Opinion: Court Vacates Murder Conviction Under Batson Challenge

In Flowers v. Mississippi, Curtis Flowers, a black man, was tried six times for allegedly murdering four people in a small town furniture store. The first three times, he was sentenced to death but the convictions were overturned. The fourth and fifth trials ended in mistrials. Throughout those trials, the prosecution used their peremptory strikes to remove all black... Read More >

SCOTUS Opinion: Under Due Process Clause, State Cannot Tax Foreign Trust Solely Because A Beneficiary Resides In the State

A family trust was created in New York state, with the trustee also located in New York, to distribute assets to the children of the trust creator under the trustee’s sole discretion. One of those children moved to North Carolina. The trustee then divided the trust into three separate trusts, one for each child, retaining full power and discretion over... Read More >

SCOTUS Opinion: Government Must Prove Immigrant Had Knowledge Of Unlawful Residence For Gun Possession Conviction

Under 18 U.S.C. sec. 922(a)(2), it is illegal for an immigrant “illegally or unlawfully in the United States” to possess firearms and “knowingly violates” that prohibition. In Rehaif v. United States, an immigrant entered the country on a nonimmigration student visa, but was dismissed for poor grades, making his further residence unlawful. He then went to a firing... Read More >

SCOTUS Opinion: Court Permits Fifth Amendment Takings Claim Without First Seeking Compensation Under State Law

In the prior case of Williamson County Regional Planning Commission v. Hamilton Bank of Johnson City, 473 U.S. 172 (1985), the Court ruled that before a property owner could bring a federal action against a state under the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment, the owner had to first seek just compensation under state law in state court... Read More >

SCOTUS Opinion: Court Upholds Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act Against Delegation Challenge

The Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act required all convicted sex offenders to register with the government. For those offenders convicted of a sex offense before the Act was enacted, the Act authorized the Attorney General to “specify the applicability” of the Act’s registration requirements and prescribe rules therefore. The Attorney General issued a rule applying the Act’s requirements... Read More >

SCOTUS Opinion: Court Treats Fabrication Of Evidence Claim As Malicious Prosecution For Statute Of Limitations Purposes

In McDonough v. Smith, a commissioner of a county board of elections in New York was indicted by the district attorney for forging absentee ballots. The district attorney used fabricated evidence to secure a grand jury indictment, and used fabricated testimony at trial. After a mistrial, the commissioner was ultimately acquitted on all charges. Just under three years later,... Read More >

SCOTUS Opinion: Court Permits The Bladensburg Peace Cross To Remain Standing

The Bladensburg Peace Cross was erected in 1925 on public land as a tribute to the lives of 49 soldiers from the local area who died in World War I. Certain atheistic groups filed suit in federal court, arguing that the cross violated the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause. The district court dismissed the case under the tests set forth in... Read More >

SCOTUS Opinion: Court Requires More Information Before Resolving “Junk Faxes” Case

The Telephone Consumer Protection Act prohibits “unsolicited advertisements.” The Federal Communications Commission issued an order in 2006 interpreting that term to “include any offer of a free good or service.” However, under the Hobbs Act, the federal courts of appeals have the exclusive jurisdiction to enjoin, set a side, suspend . . ., or to determine the validity... Read More >