Category Archives: General Litigation & Trial Practice

Virginia Supreme Court Suspends All Evictions For Rent Nonpayment Until September 7, 2020

A narrowly divided Court, in an order signed by Justice Mims, suspended all writs of eviction pursuant to unlawful detainer actions in Virginia, effective August 10, 2020, and continuing through September 7, 2020. The four-justice majority noted that the ongoing public health emergency limited the ability of tenants to avail themselves of the court system, and the Governor’s request for ... Read More

SCOTUS Opinion: Narrow Majority Finds Indian Reservation Over Much of Oklahoma

In McGirt v. Oklahoma, a member of the Seminole Nation was prosecuted in Oklahoma state court of serious sexual offenses and sentenced to 1,000 years plus life in prison. He argued that the state court lacked jurisdiction because under the Major Crimes Act, only federal courts had jurisdiction over crimes committed by an Indian on “Indian country,” and he argued ... Read More

SCOTUS Opinion: Court Sets Forth Standard For Congress To Subpoena President Trump’s Financial Records

Three different House committees issued subpoenas to President Trump’s accountant and two banks seeking information about his finances and his businesses. Trump fought the subpoenas, arguing that the subpoenas violated the separation of powers and were not linked to a valid legislative purpose, but he did not claim executive privilege. The DC and Second Circuits both declined to stop the ... Read More

SCOTUS Opinion: Court Expands the Breadth of the “Ministerial Exception” to the First Amendment

In prior cases, the Court had held that the First Amendment’s Religious Clauses prevented the courts from adjudicating employment discrimination claims between a church and certain employees, which was dubbed the “ministerial exception.” In Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey-Berru, two elementary school teachers at Roman Catholic churches brought employment discrimination claims against their churches. In both cases, the ... Read More

SCOTUS Opinion: Court Upholds Birth Control Exclusion for Religious Organizations Under ACA

While the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act required employers to provide coverage for contraceptives, the Government issued rules exempting religious employers from that mandate. After subsequent rulings by the Supreme Court on claims that the rules violated the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment, the Government issued new rules expanding the exemption ... Read More

SCOTUS Opinion: Court Strikes Down Faithless Electors

Instead of voting directly for presidential candidates, voters actually vote for electors appointed by each State, who then vote for the presidential candidate preferred by the voters. In 2016, however, three electors in the State of Washington pledged to vote according to what the voters preferred, but then violated that pledge and refused to vote for Hillary Clinton as they ... Read More

SCOTUS Opinion: Government Collections Robocalls Violate the First Amendment

The 1991 Telephone Consumer Protection Act originally barred practically all robocalls to cell phones, but in 2015 Congress carved out an exception to allow robocalls solely for the purpose of collecting a debt owed to the Government. Certain political groups filed suit arguing that that exception violated the First Amendment, and thus the entire robocall ban should be invalidated. The ... Read More

SCOTUS: States Cannot Exclude Religious Schools From Tuition Programs

Montana created a program that granted tax credits to organizations that awarded scholarships for private school tuition. Because Montana’s Constitution expressly prohibits “appropriation or payment” to sectarian schools—a “no-aid clause”—the State issued a rule prohibiting the scholarships from being used toward religious schools. Three mothers who wanted to use the scholarships to send their children to a Christian private school ... Read More

SCOTUS Opinion: Court Declines to Extend First Amendment Protections to Foreign Corporate Affiliates

The United States Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Act was enacted in 2003 as a foreign aid program focused on global health. Congress dedicated billions of dollars in funding to the Act, but required that organizations could only receive funds if they had a “policy explicitly opposing prostitution and sex trafficking.” In Agency for Int’l Development v. Alliance for ... Read More

SCOTUS Opinion: Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Is Removable At Will

To ensure that consumer debt products were safe and transparent, Congress created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which had power to investigate and seek relief on behalf of consumers, among other Executive Branch powers. Unlike other independent agencies, the Bureau was led by a single Director, appointed by the President with advice and consent of the Senate for a five-year ... Read More

SCOTUS Opinion: Narrow Majority Strikes Down Louisiana Abortion Law

The Louisiana law at issue in June Medical Services, LLC v. Russo was practically identical to the Texas law the Court struck down in Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt, 579 U.S. ___ (2016), which required abortion providers to hold active admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of where they perform abortions. Since that time, however, one member of ... Read More

SCOTUS Opinion: Court Upholds Limit on Habeas Corpus Review of Immigration Claim

An immigrant subject to expedited removal can argue for asylum based on a “credible fear of persecution” if they are returned to their country of origin, under the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act. However, the Act states that federal courts may not review a determination that an immigrant seeking asylum lacks such fear, pursuant to a writ of ... Read More

SCOTUS Opinion: Disgorgement Is An Equitable Remedy Available To The SEC

The Securities Exchange Act of 1934 permits the Securities and Exchange Commission to seek civil penalties and “equitable relief” in civil suits against those who violate securities laws. In the prior case of Kokesh v. SEC, 581 U.S. ___ (2017), the Court held that disgorgement was a “penalty” under the applicable statute of limitations for SEC enforcement actions, but declined ... Read More

SCOTUS Decision: Court Preserves DACA Program… For Now

The case of Department of Homeland Security v. Regents of the University of California concerned the Trump administration’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program initiated by the Obama administration. DACA was created in 2012 to allow certain children who enter the United States illegally to apply for a two-year forbearance of removal. Approximately 700,000 people had ... Read More

SCOTUS Opinion: Failure to Elicit Abusive Childhood Constituted Ineffective Assistance of Counsel

In order to prove ineffective assistance of counsel under Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668 (1984), a defendant must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that his counsel’s representation fell below an objective standard of reasonableness, and there was a reasonable probability that the result of the proceedings would have been different but for counsel’s deficient performance. In Andrus ... Read More

SCOTUS Opinion: New Gas Pipeline Under Appalachian Trail Allowed To Proceed

In U.S. Forest Service v. Cowpasture River Preservation Association, the issue was whether the U.S. Forest Service had the authority to grant a right-of-way easement about 600 feet underneath a portion of the Appalachian Trail for the construction of a new natural gas pipeline. The Leasing Act gave the Forest Service authority to grant easements over lands that it administrated, ... Read More

SCOTUS Opinion: Gay and Transgender Employees Are Protected Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act

Bostock v. Clayton County consisted of several cases in which a long-time employee was terminated solely for being gay or transgender. Those employees sued under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which makes it unlawful to fire an employee “because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin,” arguing that employment discrimination on account of ... Read More

SCOTUS Opinion: Beneficiaries Receiving Full Benefits Have No Standing To Challenge ERISA Plan Governance

U.S. Bank maintains a retirement plan for its employees. Two of those beneficiaries, who had retired, were entitled to a fixed payment each month, and received every such payment. Regardless, they sued their former employer under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, arguing that the plan had been mismanaged and should be re-payed about $750 million. The Eighth ... Read More

SCOTUS Opinion: Court Declines to Suspend COVID-19 Restrictions on Church Worship in California

The Governor of California issued an executive order to limit the spread of COVID-19, which in part limited attendance at places of worship to 25% of building capacity or 100 people, whichever is less. Several churches challenged that order, and asked the courts to enter an injunction staying its effect during the course of the litigation due to its First ... Read More

SCOTUS Opinion: Court Refines Defense Preclusion Doctrine In Trademark Suit

Lucky Brand Dungarees, Inc. sells clothing using trademarks involving the word “Lucky.” Marcel Fashions Group, Inc. received a federal trademark for “Get Lucky,” and used that to sell their own clothing line. Inevitably, decades of litigation ensued between the two groups as they each defended their respective “Lucky” turf. In the first round of litigation, the parties signed a settlement ... Read More

SCOTUS Opinion: Court Curtails Ninth Circuit’s Digression from Issues Presented By the Parties

Evelyn Sineneng-Smith was convicted of violating 8 U.S.C. sec. 1324(a)(1)(A)(iv) for “encouraging or inducing an alien to come to, enter, or reside in the United States, knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that such . . . is or will be in violation of the law,” and of sec. 1324(a)(1)(B)(i) for doing so “for the purpose of commercial ... Read More

SCOTUS Opinion: Controversial Bridge Lane Closures by Gov. Christie’s Campaign Not Fraud

When the mayor of Fort Lee, N.J. refused to support Gov. Chris Christie’s 2013 re-election campaign, the campaign decided to punish the mayor by shutting down two of the three lanes on the George Washington Bridge that were reserved for Fort Lee commuters into New York under the guise of a “traffic study.” That resulted in four days of gridlock ... Read More

OSHA Issues General and Industry-Specific Guidance For Operating During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency

As businesses look to adapt their workplaces to provide for safer operation during this public health emergency, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has released industry-specific guidance to help the construction, manufacturing, package delivery, and retail industries protect their workers and customers from the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). The guidance builds on OSHA’s previously issued 10 Steps All Workplaces Can ... 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

The Best Lawyers in America 2020

Jackson & Campbell, P.C. is pleased to announce a number of our Directors have been named to The Best Lawyers in America© 2020 Edition. Congratulations to: Arthur D. Burger, Ethics and Professional Responsibility Law David H. Cox, Real Estate Law, Real Estate Litigation William E. Davis, Trusts and Estates, Trusts ... Read More

DC Circuit Applies Discovery Rule To Erroneous Land Surveys Of Commercial Land

The case of Commonwealth Land Title Insurance Company v. KCI Technologies, Inc., concerns a title insurance company’s suit against two surveyors whose surveys failed to find a 12-inch encroachment on a parcel of commercial real property. Before purchasing the property, ICG 16th Street Associates commissioned a land survey that found no encroachment. The next year, it purchased the property ... Read More

Congratulations to our Attorneys and Practice Groups

Jackson & Campbell, P.C. is proud to announce our 2019 Super Lawyers. Please join us in celebrating Nathan J. Bresee, Richard W. Bryan, Arthur D. Burger, David H. Cox, William E. Davis, Christopher P. Ferragamo, Robert N. Kelly, James N. Markels, Nicholas S. McConnell, and Brian W. Thompson; and ... Read More

Justice Kennedy Announces His Retirement

After 30 years as an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy announced his retirement effective July 31, 2018. In a letter to President Trump, Kennedy wrote: “For a member of the legal profession it is the highest of honor to serve on this court. Please permit me by this letter to express my profound gratitude ... Read More

Court Rejects Overly Strict Standard Used By Special Master In State Dispute Over Water Rights

In an original proceeding brought by Florida against Georgia in a dispute over water apportionment from an interstate river basin, the Court referred the matter to a Special Master for evidentiary proceedings. Florida, as the downstream state, argued that Georgia was using more than its fair share of the water from the basin, thereby harming wildlife in Florida. Ultimately the ... Read More

First Amendment Forbids Mandatory Union Fees From Public Sector Unions

Illinois permits public employees to unionize, and Mark Janus was a state employee whose unit was represented by a public-sector union that engaged in collective bargaining on behalf of its members. The union required that Janus pay a union fee, but he objected since he opposed many of the collective bargaining positions the union took. In the previous case of ... Read More