At its Conference on October 10, 2014, the Court will consider petitions seeking review of issues such as specific personal jurisdiction over a nationwide conspiracy to manipulate the price of natural gas, proof of causation in a prosecution for insider trading, and the application of the Confrontation Clause to evidence introduced to establish eligibility for the death penalty.

This edition of “Petitions to watch” features petitions raising issues that Tom has determined to have a reasonable chance of being granted, although we post them here without consideration of whether they present appropriate vehicles in which to decide those issues.  Our policy is to include and disclose all cases in which Goldstein & Russell, P.C., whose attorneys contribute to this blog in various capacities, represents either a party or an amicus in the case, with the exception of the rare cases in which Goldstein & Russell represents the respondent(s) but does not appear on the briefs in the case.

14-106

Issue(s): Whether federal due process requires state-court judges, in reviewing jury-awarded punitive damages for constitutional excessiveness, to: (1) use de novo review to set punitive damages at the level they find appropriate, without viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the verdict, based on Cooper Industries, Inc. v. Leatherman Tool Group, Inc., as courts in at least seven states (including the court below) hold; or, instead, (2) use the rational-factfinder test of Jackson v. Virginia viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the verdict and upholding the maximum amount a rational jury could award on the record so viewed (measured by the relevant legal guideposts), based on Honda Motor Co. v. Oberg, as courts in at least five states hold.

14-1

Issue(s): (1) Whether due process permits a court to exercise specific personal jurisdiction over non-consenting, out-of-state defendants based on the plaintiffs’ bare allegation that the defendants engaged in a nationwide conspiracy outside the forum that had an intended effect inside the forum (as well as presumably in every other state); and (2) whether due process permits a court to exercise specific personal jurisdiction over non-consenting, out-of-state defendants when the defendants’ limited forum conduct bears no causal relationship to the plaintiffs’ claim.

13-1516

Issue(s): Whether it is an “adverse employment action” for a discrimination claim, or a “materially adverse action” for a retaliation claim, when an employer grants an employee’s request for a job transfer.

13-1315

Issue(s): Whether the Confrontation Clause applies to evidence offered by the prosecution to prove statutory aggravating circumstances that establish a defendant's eligibility for the death penalty.

13-1309

Issue(s): Whether, when the district court disposes of a motion for a new trial while an appeal is pending in the court of appeals, a defendant must file a second notice of appeal in order for the court of appeals to have jurisdiction to consider the issue that was before the district court in the motion for a new trial.

 

Relists

14-212

Issue(s): (1) Whether, when a police officer approaches a residence to conduct a “knock and talk,” the Fourth Amendment requires the officer to go to the “front door” even where it reasonably appears that some other entrance is also customarily used by visitors; and (2) whether the court of appeals erred in holding that such a rule was “clearly established” for purposes of qualified immunity.

13-1487
Disclosure: John Elwood, a regular contributor to this blog, is among the counsel to the petitioner in this case.

Issue(s): Whether a felony conviction, which makes it unlawful for the defendant to possess a firearm, prevents a court under Rule 41(g) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure or under general equity principles from ordering that the government (1) transfer non-contraband firearms to an unrelated third party to whom the defendant has sold all his property interests; or (2) sell the firearms for the benefit of the defendant.

13-1479

Issue(s): Whether, where one of the claims submitted to a jury is set aside after trial, a court must vacate the jury's general verdict, or may apply a “harmless error” exception.

13-1433

Issue(s): (1) Whether a state court that considers the evidence presented at a petitioner’s penalty phase proceeding as determinative of the petitioner’s claim of mental retardation under Atkins v. Virginia has based its decision on an unreasonable determination of facts under 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d)(2); and (2) whether a state court that denies funding to an indigent petitioner who has no other means of obtaining evidence of his mental retardation has denied petitioner his “opportunity to be heard,” contrary to Atkins and Ford v. Wainwright and his constitutional right to be provided with the “basic tools” for an adequate defense, contrary to Ake v. Oklahoma.

13-1428

Issue(s): Whether a state court's rejection of a claim of federal constitutional error on the ground that any error, if one occurred, was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt is an “adjudicat[ion] on the merits” within the meaning of 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d), so that a federal court may set aside the resulting final state conviction only if the defendant can satisfy the restrictive standards imposed by that provision; and (2) whether the court of appeals properly applied the standard articulated in Brecht v. Abrahamson.

13-1361

Issue(s): Whether a foreign official’s common-law immunity for acts performed on behalf of a foreign state is abrogated by plaintiffs’ allegations that those official acts violate jus cogens norms of international law. CVSG: 1/30/2015.

13-1318

Issue(s): (1) Whether a federal complaint is subject to dismissal when it fails to cite the statute authorizing the cause of action; (2) whether the lower federal courts have authority to create pleading requirements for complaints when those requirements are not contained in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure; and (3) whether a federal complaint should be dismissed when it alleges the elements of a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claim, but does not cite 42 U.S.C. § 1983.

13-1313

Issue(s): Whether the Commerce Clause allows California to impose a complete ban on the sale of wholesome, USDA-approved poultry products from other States and countries - in this case, foie gras - based solely on the agricultural methods used by out-of-state farmers who raise their animals entirely beyond California's borders.

13-1274

Issue(s): Whether a party should be required to demonstrate prejudice after the opposing party waived its contractual right to arbitrate by participating in litigation, in order for such waiver to be binding and irrevocable under Section 3 of the Federal Arbitration Act; (2) whether, if prejudice is required, what constitutes sufficient “prejudice” in order to find “waiver;” and (3) whether state law contractual defenses to enforcement of an arbitration agreement preserved under Section 2 of the Act, such as defenses of waiver or estoppel, provide a defense to an application for either a stay under Section 3 of the Act or an order compelling arbitration under Section 4.

13-1175
Disclosure: Goldstein & Russell, P.C., whose attorneys contribute to this blog in various capacities, is among the counsel to the respondents in this case.

Issue(s): (1) Whether facial challenges to ordinances and statutes are permitted under the Fourth Amendment; and (2) whether a hotel has an expectation of privacy under the Fourth Amendment in a hotel guest registry where the guest-supplied information is mandated by law and an ordinance authorizes the police to inspect the registry, and if so, whether the ordinance is facially unconstitutional under the Fourth Amendment unless it expressly provides for pre-compliance judicial review before the police can inspect the registry.

Posted in Cases in the Pipeline, Featured

Recommended Citation: Maureen Johnston, Petitions to watch | Conference of October 10, SCOTUSblog (Oct. 8, 2014, 12:00 PM), http://www.scotusblog.com/2014/10/petitions-to-watch-conference-of-october-10/