Category Archives: Court Case

Client Alert: District Court of the District of Columbia Denies Traditional Legal Defenses Raised by Title Companies

On May 22, 2020, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia issued an important decision denying an early motion to dismiss against a title company for its actions preceding a troubled transaction. The decision is significant in that the District Court denied each of the traditional legal defenses typically raised by title companies at such an early ... Read More

Client Alert: The Supreme Court of Ohio Ruling in Lubrizol Advanced Materials, Inc. v. National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh

The Supreme Court of Ohio agreed to accept the matter of Lubrizol Advanced Materials, Inc. v. National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, Pa., Case No. 1:17-cv-01782-DAP (N.D. Ohio) on certified question as to whether an insured is permitted to seek full and complete indemnity under a single policy providing coverage for “those sums” when the property damage occurred over ... 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

Health Law Practice Group Privileged to Serve MedStar Washington Hospital Center

Earlier this month, Jackson & Campbell, P.C.'s Health Law Practice Group obtained a defense verdict in a malpractice case alleging that a patient suffered permanent nerve damage during a lower left wisdom tooth extraction. She alleged the surgical technique and procedure choice were improper and denied giving her informed consent to the procedure. After a six day trial, the ... Read More

SCOTUS Opinion: Court Strictly Interprets “Actual Knowledge” For ERISA Limitations Period

Under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, a person with “actual knowledge” of an alleged fiduciary breach by the administrator of a pension plan must file suit within three years of gaining such knowledge—otherwise, a six-year limitations period applies. In Intel Corp. Investment Policy Committee v. Sulyma, Intel argued that its former employee filed such a claim ... Read More

SCOTUS Opinion: Criminal Defendant Preserves Appellate Claim by Arguing for Lesser Sentence

Under Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 51(b), a criminal defendant wishing to “preserve a claim of error” for appeal must inform the trial judge “of the action the party wishes the court to take, or the party’s objection to the court’s action and the grounds for that objection.” In Holguin-Hernandez v. United States, when prosecutors sought a sentence of ... Read More

SCOTUS Opinion: Court Rejects Comparison of State Offenses to Generic Offenses for Armed Career Criminal Act Enhancement

The Armed Career Criminal Act mandates a 15-year sentence for defendants that have prior convictions for a “serious drug offense” that “involve[es] manufacturing, distributing, or possessing with intent to manufacture or distribute, a controlled substance.” Eddie Lee Shular had six prior Florida convictions for selling and possessing cocaine with intent to sell. The federal trial court deemed those to be ... Read More

February Real Estate Update | Gan v. Van Buren Street Methodist Church

On February 13, 2020, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals issued an opinion which expressly declined to follow a troubling earlier decision regarding tacking in the context of adverse possession. The decision is significant because the Court clarified the confusing and contradictory prior decision, which muddied the adverse possession waters in Washington, D.C. In Gan v. Van Buren Street Methodist ... Read More

SCOTUS Opinion: Court Permits Appellate Review of Added Mitigating Factor in Death Penalty Case

After James McKinney was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder, the trial court sentenced him to death upon the finding that he had two aggravating circumstances for each such murder. Twenty years later, a narrowly divided en banc Ninth Circuit reversed upon habeas review, holding that the state courts had not properly considered McKinney's post-traumatic stress disorder as a ... Read More

SCOTUS Opinion: Court Strikes Down The “Bob Richards Rule”

The IRS allows affiliated corporations to file a group tax return. When the IRS issues a tax return to the group as a whole, federal law does not describe how to allocate the funds. The Ninth Circuit created a rule for that when it decided In re Bob Richards Chrysler-Plymouth Corp., 473 F.2d 262 (1973). The "Bob Richards Rule" mandated ... Read More

SCOTUS Opinion: Court Declines To Extend Bivens To Allow Suit Against Border Agent For Shooting

U.S. Border Patrol agent Jesus Mesa, Jr. shot 15 year-old Sergio Adrian Hernandez Guereca while Mesa was on U.S. land, and Hernandez had run back across onto Mexican soil. Hernandez's family sued Mesa under Bivens v. Six Unknown Federal Narcotics Agents, 403 U.S. 388 (1971), which permits damages claims against federal agents even though no federal statute authorized the claim ... Read More

SCOTUS Opinion: Court Enforces Removal Jurisdiction In Vacating Orders Against The Catholic Church

The case of Roman Catholic Archdiocese of San Yuan, Puerto Rico v. Feliciano concerned complaints filed by employees of Catholic schools in Puerto Rico alleging wrongful termination of their pension plan. Initially, the Puerto Rico trial court determined that the Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church in Puerto Rico was the proper entity that owed obligations to the plan, and ... Read More

Davis v. Echo Valley Condominium Association, 945 F.3d 483 (6th Circuit Court, December 19, 2019)

In a recent case before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, the court heard a matter involving the intersection between fair housing law and community association governance. In this case, Phyllis Davis purchased a second-floor unit in a four-unit condominium building within the Echo Valley Condominium Association in Farmington Hills, Michigan. Davis suffers from asthma and chemical ... Read More

SCOTUS Opinion: ERISA Case Remanded To Consider Alternative Arguments

Retirement Plans Committee of IBM v. Jander concerned a claim by Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) plan beneficiaries that the fiduciaries in control breached their duty of prudence on the basis of insider information. The standard for stating such a claim had been previously set forth by the Court in Fifth Third Bancorp v. Dudenhoeffer, ... Read More

SCOTUS Opinion: Denial Of Request For Relief From Automatic Bankruptcy Stay Is A Final, Appealable Order

After Ritzen Group, Inc. sued Jackson Masonry, LLC over a contract, Jackson filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which immediately halted Ritzen’s litigation. Ritzen moved the bankruptcy court for relief from the automatic stay, which was denied. Ritzen then filed a proof of claim, which was eventually disallowed. Ritzen then opted to file a notice of appeal of the bankruptcy court’s ... Read More

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

October Real Estate Update | Lawrence R. Carver, Jr. v. RBS Citizens, N.A.

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

September Real Estate Update | Loch Levan Land L.P. v. Board of Supervisors of Henrico County

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

July Real Estate Update | Margaret Williams v. James Kennedy | Jane Robinson, Trustee v. Nels Nordquist

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