Category Archives: News

SCOTUS Opinion: Court Preserves Indian Treaty Hunting Rights

In 1868, the United States and the Crow Tribe entered into a treaty in which the U.S. got most of the Tribe’s land in modern-day Montana and Wyoming, in exchange for hunting rights in unoccupied land. In Herrera v. Wyoming, Tribe member Clayvin Herrera was charged with off-season hunting in the Bighorn National Forest, and Wyoming’s appellate courts affirmed... Read More >

SCOTUS Opinion: Trademark Rights Survive Contract Rejection In Bankruptcy

Under bankruptcy law, a debtor may reject any executory contract, being a contract where performance remains due on both sides. In Mission Product Holdings, Inc. v. Tempnology, LLC, Tempnology entered into an executory contract giving Mission a license to use its trademarks. Tempnology then filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and asked the Bankruptcy Court to allow it to reject... Read More >

SCOTUS Opinion: Court Permits iPhone Customers To Make Monopoly Claim Against Apple For App Store

Since 2008, Apple Inc. has established its App Store as the only lawful location that iPhone users could purchase apps for their devices. In Apple, Inc. v. Pepper, some of those iPhone customers sued Apple, alleging that it was using illegal monopolistic practices to overcharge them for the apps. At the initial stage of the litigation, Apple moved to... Read More >

SCOTUS Opinion: States Are Immune From Private Suits Filed In Other States

Gilbert Hyatt made millions from a technology patent he developed while living in California. Prior to receiving the patent, he moved to Nevada, which has no income tax. The Franchise Tax Board of California thought his move was a sham, and began auditing him. Hyatt sued the Board in Nevada, claiming that the Board had committed numerous torts during its... Read More >

SCOTUS Opinion: Court Expands Limitations Period For Qui Tam Actions

Under the False Claims Act, a qui tam civil action must be brought either within six years of the alleged statutory violation, or three years after the U.S. official charged with responsibility to act knew or should have known the relevant facts, but not more than 10 years after the violation, whichever is later. The issue in Cochise Consultancy,... Read More >

Virginia Supreme Court: Collateral Source Rule Can Apply To Contract Cases

In Dominion Resources, Inc. v. Alstom Power, Inc., the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut certified the following question to the Virginia Supreme Court: “Does Virginia law apply the collateral source rule to a breach of contract action where the plaintiff has been reimbursed by an insurer for the full amount it seeks in damages from the... Read More >

SCOTUS Opinion: Federal Tort Claims Act Does Not Shield The Tennessee Valley Authority From Tort Suits

Congress created the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) as a wholly owned public corporation of the United States to promote the economic development of the Tennessee Valley, and established that it could “sue and be sued in its corporate name.” One day, TVA workers were raising a power line that had fallen into the Tennessee River when Gary Thacker speedily drove... Read More >

Maryland Real Estate Update: April 2019

On April 19, 2019, Judge Messitte of the United States District Court for the District of Maryland issued an unpublished opinion in Elm Cabin John, LLC v. United Bank that is certainly noteworthy for real estate practitioners. In this matter, Ms. Nancy Long owned three parcels in Montgomery County. As an individual in her 80s during the subject transactions, she is... 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 >

SCOTUS Opinion: Ambiguous Arbitration Provision Not Sufficient To Compel Class Arbitration

In a 2010 case, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a court could not compel class arbitration under the Federal Arbitration Act when the agreement was silent on that issue, since class arbitration was fundamentally different from “traditional individualized arbitration.” In Lamps Plus, Inc. v. Varela, the arbitration provision did not expressly state that the parties agreed to... 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 >

Changes to Paid Leave Policy Go into Effect for District of Columbia Employers

Employers in Washington, D.C. have been waiting for the Universal Paid Leave Amendments Act of 2016 (the Act) to go into effect. Much to the chagrin of many small employers, that time is here. The Act creates a mandatory, employer-funded, paid leave program, which provides up to eight weeks of paid leave to covered employees working in the District of Columbia... Read More >

SCOTUS Opinion: Refusal To Produce Vocational Data Not Preclusive Of Effect On Worker’s Social Security Claim

In Biestek v. Berryhill, Michael Biestek applied for Social Security disability benefits, claiming he could no longer work due to physical and mental ailments. His case was heard by an administrative law judge (ALJ), who analyzed whether there was other work Biestek might be able to perform. The Social Security Administration offered the testimony of a vocational expert as... Read More >

SCOTUS Opinion: Court Rejects As-Applied Challenge To Execution By Pentobarbital

After being convicted of murder in Missouri, Russell Bucklew was set to be executed through the lethal injection of the sedative pentobarbital. He raised an as-applied challenge, arguing that he suffered from a medical condition that would result in extreme pain if he received the pentobarbital. Bucklew suggested that he be executed through nitrogen hypoxia instead, which had never been... Read More >

SCOTUS Opinion: Supreme Court Broadens SEC’s Ability To Punish Disseminators Of False Information

In Lorenzo v. SEC, Lorenzo disseminated false information that his boss provided to him, and which he knew was false, regarding the value of a company pursuant to a debenture offering. The SEC charged him with having violated Rule 10b-5 of the Securities and Exchange Commission, which makes it unlawful to (a) “employ any device, scheme, or artifice to... Read More >

SCOTUS Opinion: Foreign States Must Be Served On Home Soil With Process

To gain personal jurisdiction over a foreign sovereign under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, service of process must be accomplished, among other options, “by any form of mail requiring a signed receipt, to be addressed and dispatched . . . to the head of the ministry of foreign affairs of the foreign state concerned.” 28 U.S.C. sec. 1608(a)(3). In... Read More >

SCOTUS Opinion: National Park Service Cannot Regulate Navigable Waters

For decades, John Sturgeon drove a hovercraft on the Nation River to get to a moose hunting ground in Alaska. A portion of that river ran through the Yukon-Charley Preserve, which was a designated a conservation unit under the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act. The Act designated as public lands only and being part of such a unit... Read More >

Decisions, March 2019, Volume 5, Issue 2

Christopher P. Ferragamo, a Director in Jackson & Campbell, P.C.'s Insurance Coverage Practice Group, prepares a bi-monthly newsletter that addresses healthcare issues and healthcare coverage issues called Decisions. Read the latest issue here. Please see below for prior issues of Decisions: January 2019 - Volume 5, Issue 1 November 2018 - Volume 4, Issue 6 September 2018 - Volume... Read More >

SCOTUS Opinion: Google Class Action Settlement In Danger Of Losing Standing

When a person enters search terms on Google, and then selects a web page that comes up in the search results, Google sends the host of the web page the search terms the person used to locate the page. Certain plaintiffs filed suit as a class, arguing that Google’s practice violated the Stored Communications Act. The parties settled, with... Read More >

SCOTUS Opinion: Entity Conducting Non-judicial Foreclosure Not A Debt Collector Under Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

After Dennis Obduskey went into default on his mortgage that was secured against his home, the lender hired the law firm of McCarthy & Holthus, LLP to conduct a non-judicial foreclosure of the property. The firm sent Obduskey a notice of its intent to so act, and Obduskey requested that the firm provide him with verification of the debt as... Read More >

SCOTUS Opinion: Manufacturers Have Duty To Warn Sailors Of Products That Require Asbestos Parts

In Air & Liquid System Corp. v. DeVries, a company manufactured equipment for three Navy ships that, as shipped, contained no asbestos, but required asbestos insulation or parts to work as intended. The Navy added the asbestos parts later when the equipment was installed on the ships. The equipment was put into use, releasing asbestos into the... Read More >

SCOTUS Opinion: Fractured Court Upholds 1855 Indian Treaty Against State Gasoline Tax

A company owned by the Yakama Nation Indian tribe transported gasoline from Oregon to the tribe’s land in the State of Washington, using the public highways. Washington sought to tax those imports. The Yakama Nation objected, citing to an 1855 treaty with the federal government granting the Nation the right to use the public highways. The Washington state courts held... Read More >

SCOTUS Opinion: Court Rejects Narrow Reading Of Immigration Detention Statute

Federal immigration law provides that certain criminal aliens may be detained by the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security and not released until a determination on deportation is made. The statute in question, 8 U.S.C. § 1226(c)(1), directs the Secretary to arrest the alien “when the alien is released” from jail, and Section 1226(c)(2) mandates that the Secretary keep... Read More >

Court Upholds Validity of Foreclosure Sale in Light of Debtor’s Failure to Seek a Stay Pending Appeal

A recent decision issued by the Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia underscores the importance for both debtors and creditors to be especially cognizant of procedural rules when dealing with a property subject to foreclosure. In re: Bobbie Upasna Vardan involved a property that had been affected by four bankruptcies filed by the debtor or members of her... Read More >

Health Law Practice Group Precludes Untimely Lawsuit

The Health Law Practice Group had a pro se plaintiff’s lawsuit dismissed in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia (Rigsby, J.) for lack of pre-suit notice and a limitations bar. The plaintiff noted a timely appeal, which Jackson & Campbell, P.C. successfully defended. In Waugh v. MedStar Georgetown Univ. Hosp., No. CAM-7381-17 (D.C. Mar. 14, 2019),... Read More >

Department of Labor Proposes New Overtime Rules

Employers will recall during the Obama administration that the salary threshold for determining overtime eligibility under the Fair Labor Standards Act was changed from $23,660 per year to $47,476.00 per year. Many employers modified their own employment policies to meet the new standard despite the federal regulations never being implemented due to a successful court challenge. The Trump administration has... Read More >

Maryland Real Estate Update | March 2019

The Court of Appeals of Maryland issued two recent decisions impacting landlord/tenant issues. Cushman & Wakefield of Maryland, Inc. v. DRV Greentec, LLC In Cushman & Wakefield of Maryland, Inc. v. DRV Greentec, LLC, filed on March 4, 2019, the Court of Appeals held that a commercial broker could not enforce an obligation to pay a commission against an owner’s assignee. In... Read More >

SCOTUS Opinion: No Copyright Infringement Suit Until A Copyright Is Registered

In Fourth Estate Public Benefit Corp. v. Wall-Street.com, LLC, Fourth Estate licensed works to a news website. The parties cancelled the licensing agreement, but the website did not remove the works. Fourth Estate sued for copyright infringement under the Copyright Act, but its lawsuit was dismissed because Fourth Estate had only applied to register the works—the Register of... Read More >

SCOTUS Opinion: Lost Wages Awarded Under Railroad Retirement Tax Act Are Compensation Subject To IRS Taxation

Michael Loos was injured while working for BNSF Railway Company. He sued his employer, and after trial was awarded $85,000 in pain and suffering, $11,212.78 in medical expenses, and $30,000 in lost wages as a result of him not being able to work from the injury. BNSF then argued that the lost wages award was “compensation . . . for... Read More >

SCOTUS Opinion: Copyright Act’s Award Of Costs Limited To Those Available Under Typical Bill Of Costs

Oracle accused Rimini Street, Inc. of violating various copyrights, and won at trial. Under the Copyright Act, the district court awarded Oracle $12.8 million in litigation expenses under the Act. The district court acknowledged that it was awarding Oracle costs that were not within the six designated categories set forth under 28 U.S.C. secs. 1821 and 1920,... Read More >