Petitions We’re Watching

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Petitions Relisted for the Next Conference

Docket Case Page Issue(s)
13-1505 Freidus v. ING Groep N.V. Whether, for purposes of a claim under Section 11 of the Securities Act of 1933, a plaintiff must plead that a statement of opinion not only contains false statements of material facts or omits material facts required to make the statements in the registration statement not misleading, but also that the speaker actually knew that the statements were false or misleading, even though the Court has held, in Ernst & Ernst v. Hochfelder, that under § 11 “the issuer of the securities is held absolutely liable,” without regard to fault.
13-1318 Johnson v. City of Shelby (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.
13-1433 Brumfield v. Cain (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.
14-212 Carroll v. Carman (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.
14-1 AEP Energy Services v. Heartland Regional Medical Center (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 Kalamazoo County Road Commission v. Deleon 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.

Petitions for Conference of 10.31.2014

Docket Case Page Issue(s)
22o142 Florida v. Georgia Whether Florida is entitled to equitable apportionment of the waters of the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin and appropriate injunctive relief against Georgia to sustain an adequate flow of fresh water into the Apalachicola Region. CVSG: 09/18/2014.
14-191 Ryan v. Hurles (1) Whether, under this Court's decision in Martinez v. Ryan, post-conviction counsel's ineffectiveness can provide cause to excuse the procedural default of an ineffective-assistance-of-appellate-counsel claim, or whether Martinez v. Ryan is limited to excusing only the default of a claim of ineffective assistance of trial counsel; and (2) whether, under the Anti-terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA), a state-court adjudication of a judicial-bias claim is per se unreasonable under 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d)(2) merely because the allegedly biased judge rules on the claim based on facts within her knowledge without first conducting an evidentiary hearing, or whether a federal court must grant AEDPA deference to the judge's determination when the evidence in the state-court record supports it.
14-114 King v. Burwell Whether the Internal Revenue Service may permissibly promulgate regulations to extend tax-credit subsidies to coverage purchased through Exchanges established by the federal government under section 1321 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
14-110 Dean Foods Company v. Food Lion, LLC Whether, in antitrust or other cases in which the plaintiff must prove causation in fact as an element of the claim, a plaintiff must produce evidence of causation to defeat a motion for summary judgment, or whether a court may instead presume causation at summary judgment and permit the case to proceed to trial based on that presumption.
14-95 Glebe v. Frost Whether Herring v. New York clearly establishes that a limitation on closing argument is structural error, as the Ninth Circuit held here, or, whether, as many other courts have held, Herring allows the possibility that such a limitation is subject to harmless error review.
14-77 Kolon Industries, Incorporated v. E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Company Whether, under 28 U.S.C. § 455(b), the federal recusal statute, a federal judge is relieved of his mandatory statutory duty of self-disqualification simply because neither party filed a timely motion to disqualify the judge.
14-71 Diacetyl Plaintiffs v. Aaroma Holdings, LLC (1) Whether the Third Circuit erred in concluding, contrary to the decisions of this Court and the law in the Second, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, and Eleventh Circuits, that a trustee in bankruptcy can settle the tort claims of those injured by a company that filed for bankruptcy when the debtor company could neither bring the claim at the commencement of the bankruptcy nor was injured in any way by the underlying allegations; and (2) whether the Third Circuit erred in concluding, contrary to the law in the First, Ninth, and Federal Circuits, that a claim is general and belongs to the estate simply because other claimants could take advantage of a finding of successor liability, rather than finding it is specific and can go forward because it is unique to these plaintiffs.
14-56 City of Newport Beach, California v. Pacific Shores Properties, LLC Whether a disparate-treatment claim under the Fair Housing Act, 42 U.S.C. § 3601 et seq., and the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq., that challenges a facially nondiscriminatory law on the ground that the law nevertheless intentionally discriminates on the basis of disability can prevail absent proof of discriminatory effects.
13-1520 The Episcopal Church v. The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth (1) Whether the First Amendment or Jones v. Wolf requires courts to enforce express trusts recited in general-church governing documents (as some jurisdictions hold), or whether such a trust is enforceable only when it would otherwise comply with state law (as others hold); (2) whether retroactive application of the neutral-principles approach infringes free-exercise rights; and (3) whether the neutral-principles approach endorsed in Jones remains a constitutionally viable means of resolving church-property disputes, especially in light of Hosanna-Tabor v. EEOC.
13-1162 Purdue Pharma L.P. v. U.S. ex rel. May (1) Whether the False Claims Act’s pre-2010 “public-disclosure bar,” 31 U.S.C. § 3730(e)(4) (2009), prohibits claims that are “substantially similar” to prior public disclosures, or instead bars a claim only if the plaintiff’s knowledge “actually derives” from prior disclosures; (2) whether the False Claims Act’s “first-to-file” bar, 31 U.S.C. § 3730(b)(5), precludes a later-filed action that is based on the same facts as an earlier-filed action only so long as the earlier case is still pending; and (3) whether the Wartime Suspension of Limitations Act, 18 U.S.C. § 3287, suspends the limitations period for civil claims, such as a False Claims Act claim brought by a private party.

Petitions for Conference of 11.07.2014

Docket Case Page Issue(s)
14-163 Bank of America, N.A. v. Toledo-Cardona Whether, under Section 506(d) of the Bankruptcy Code, which provides that “[t]o the extent that a lien secures a claim against the debtor that is not an allowed secured claim, such lien is void,” a chapter 7 debtor may “strip off” a junior mortgage lien in its entirety when the outstanding debt owed to a senior lienholder exceeds the current value of the collateral.
14-152 Sexton v. Panel Processing Whether section 510 of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), 29 U.S.C. § 1140, prohibits retaliation against an employee who makes unsolicited complaints to management regarding possible ERISA violations.
14-144 Walker v. Texas Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans (1) Whether the messages and images that appear on state-issued specialty license plates qualify as government speech immune from any requirement of viewpoint neutrality; and (2) whether Texas engaged in “viewpoint discrimination” by rejecting the license-plate design proposed by the Sons of Confederate Veterans, when Texas has not issued any license plate that portrays the confederacy or the confederate battle flag in a negative or critical light.
14-123 BP Exploration & Production Inc. v. Lake Eugenie Land & Development Whether the court of appeals erred in holding – in conflict with the Second, Seventh, Eighth, and D.C. Circuits – that district courts can, consistent with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23 and Article III of the Constitution, certify classes that include numerous members who have not suffered any injury caused by the defendant.
14-62 Anthem Prescription Management, LLC v. Beeman and Pharmacy Services, dba Beemans Pharmacy Whether a law is subject to heightened scrutiny under the First Amendment when it compels a company to engage in speech with its clients for a purpose other than preventing consumer deception.
13-1421 Bank of America, N.A. v. Caulkett Whether, under Section 506(d) of the Bankruptcy Code, which provides that “[t]o the extent that a lien secures a claim against the debtor that is not an allowed secured claim, such lien is void,” a chapter 7 debtor may “strip off” a junior mortgage lien in its entirety when the outstanding debt owed to a senior lienholder exceeds the current value of the collateral.

Petitions for Conference of 11.14.2014

Docket Case Page Issue(s)
14-47 Utility Air Regulatory Group v. Environmental Protection Agency Whether, under a statutory directive to regulate residual public health risks from electric utility steam generating units (EGUs) hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) emissions only as “appropriate and necessary,” the Administrator (i) may regulate EGU HAP emissions that pose no hazard to public health, and (ii) may (or must as a Chevron Step One matter) ignore costs in determining “appropriate” regulation because more narrowly drawn decisional standards in the same statute require (or preclude) the Administrator from considering costs.
14-19 Teo v. Securities and Exchange Commission Whether a court in a Securities and Exchange Commission civil enforcement action can order defendants to disgorge profits that were not attributable to their violations of the securities laws but were instead earned as a result of an intervening event unrelated to those violations.
13-1412 City and County of San Francisco, California v. Sheehan (1) Whether Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act requires law enforcement officers to provide accommodations to an armed, violent, and mentally ill suspect in the course of bringing the suspect into custody; and (2) whether it was clearly established that even where an exception to the warrant requirement applied, an entry into a residence could be unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment by reason of the anticipated resistance of an armed and violent suspect within.

Petitions for Conference of 11.25.2014

Docket Case Page Issue(s)
14-197 Illinois v. Davis Whether Miller v. Alabama -- which held that a state may not sentence a juvenile homicide offender to life imprisonment without parole without first providing a process for the sentencer to consider the offender's youth and attendant characteristics -- announced a new substantive rule which applies retroactively to a conviction that was final before Miller was decided.
14-116 Bullard v. Hyde Park Savings Bank Whether an order denying confirmation of a bankruptcy plan is appealable.
13-1044 Cisco Systems v. Commil USA, LLC Whether, and in what circumstances, the Seventh Amendment permits a court to order a partial retrial of induced patent infringement without also retrying the related question of patent invalidity. CVSG: 10/16/2014.
13-896 Commil USA, LLC v. Cisco Systems (1) Whether the Federal Circuit erred in holding that a defendant's belief that a patent is invalid is a defense to induced infringement under 35 U.S.C. § 271(b); and (2) whether the Federal Circuit erred in holding that Global-Tech Appliances, Inc. v. SEB S.A. required retrial on the issue of intent under 35 U.S.C. § 271(b) where the jury (A) found the defendant had actual knowledge of the patent and (B) was instructed that “[i]nducing third-party infringement cannot occur unintentionally.” CVSG: 10/16/2014.

Petitions Not Set for Conference

Docket Case Page Issue(s)
14-220 Roman Catholic Church of the Diocese of Baton Rouge v. Mayeux Whether a court can pivot liability for a priest's failure to report certain communications to public authorities on the court's own determination of whether those communications constitute “confession per se,” or whether it must respect the church's own view that such communications are confessional and absolutely protected from disclosure by the priest on penalty of automatic excommunication.
14-212 Carroll v. Carman (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.
14-209 Illinois v. Cummings Whether the Fourth Amendment permits a police officer to request a driver to produce his license during a lawfully-initiated traffic stop but after reasonable suspicion or probable cause has dissipated, where the officer's conduct is reasonable under the totality of circumstances and the stop is not unreasonably prolonged.
14-200 NACS, fka National Association of Convenience Stores v. Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System Whether the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System’s regulation establishing a maximum allowable debit card interchange fee, 12 C.F.R. § 235.3, unlawfully permits banks to recover costs forbidden by the governing statute, 15 U.S.C. § 1693o-2(a)(4)(B).
14-165 Hoyle v. U.S. Whether, when the Federal Sentencing Guidelines calculate a person's offense level based on prior convictions that are expressly excluded under the relevant federal statute, the statute or the Guidelines control.
14-93 HealthBridge Management, LLC v. Kreisberg (1) Whether a companion authorization issued by the general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board in conjunction with an order from the Board itself, purporting to possess a quorum and take the same action on its own behalf, suffices to authorize a section 10(j) proceeding commenced while the Board itself lacked a quorum to authorize it; and (2) whether the familiar four-factor test for preliminary injunctive relief articulated in Winter v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc. applies to preliminary injunctive relief sought in a petition under section 10(j) of the National Labor Relations Act, as a majority of circuits have held, or whether an entirely different and profoundly deferential standard applies, as the courts below held.
14-59 Schultz v. Wescom (1) Whether the Ninth Circuit erred when it held - in conflict with the First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth, and Tenth Circuits, but in accord with the Seventh Circuit - that a district court's order striking or refusing to consider a qualified immunity motion is not subject to interlocutory appeal, even when it subjects a public official to unlimited discovery for the duration of a lawsuit; and (2) whether petitioners are entitled to qualified immunity.
14-29 Whitman v. U.S. (1) Whether, in a prosecution for insider trading under § 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act, 15 U.S.C. § 78j(b), the relevant inside information must have been a “significant factor” in the defendant's decision to buy or sell, or whether -- as the court below held -- mere “knowing possession” of inside information suffices for a criminal conviction; (2) whether, in a prosecution for insider trading under § 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act, 15 U.S.C. § 78j(b), the “fiduciary duty” element must be proved under well-established principles of state law, or whether -- as the court below held -- courts may define and impose the applicable fiduciary duty as a matter of federal common law; and (3) whether exculpatory testimony given by a witness during a deposition in a closely related federal enforcement proceeding is admissible under Federal Rule of Evidence 804(b) in a subsequent criminal trial when the witness is unavailable, or whether -- as the court below held -- such testimony may be excluded merely because it was given in a civil rather than criminal proceeding.
13-1512 Hammond v. U.S. (1) Whether and under what circumstances the Eighth Amendment authorizes a district court to impose a sentence less than the statutory mandatory minimum; and (2) whether a criminal defendant's waiver of appeal rights made in an agreement to resolve a case prohibits an appeal by the government.
13-1504 Pregnancy Care Center of New York v. City of New York (1) Whether compelling a noncommercial pro-life speaker to declare it lacks a medical license passes strict scrutiny; and (2) whether a compelled speech law is unconstitutionally vague if the city can deem speakers as needing to comply, because of their “appearance,” without any ability for the speaker to know whether it must comply.
13-1416 Gordon v. Bank of America, N.A. Whether an order denying confirmation of a bankruptcy plan is appealable.
13-1227 Crews v. Farina Whether a habeas court may evade the highly deferential standard of review in the habeas statute by characterizing its legal and policy differences with the state court as unreasonable factual determinations and grant the writ on the basis of ineffectiveness of appellate counsel when the state court held that the cross-examination of the mitigation witness was not fundamental error under state law.

Calls for the Views of the Solicitor General

Docket Case Page Issue(s)
13-1547 Ridley School District v. M. R., as Parents of E. R., a Minor Whether operation of a “stay-put” provision in 20 U.S.C. § 1415(j) – which requires that a child whose educational program under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act is under dispute to remain in his or her then-current placement while statutory “proceedings” to resolve the dispute are pending – terminates upon entry of a final judgment by a state or federal trial court in favor of the school district, as the D.C. and Sixth Circuits have held, or whether it continues until completion of any subsequent appeal of that judgment, as the Third and Ninth Circuits have held.
13-1496 Dollar General Corporation v. Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians Whether Indian tribal courts have jurisdiction to adjudicate civil tort claims against nonmembers, including as a means of regulating the conduct of nonmembers who enter into consensual relationships with a tribe or its members.
13-1467 Aetna Life Insurance Company v. Kobold Whether the Federal Employees Health Benefits Act (FEHBA), which expressly “preempt[s] any State or local law” that would prevent enforcement of “[t]he terms of any contract” under FEHBA that “relate to the nature, provision, or extent of coverage or benefits (including payments with respect to benefits),” preempts state laws precluding carriers that administer FEHBA plans from seeking reimbursement or subrogation pursuant to the terms of FEHBA contracts.
13-1379 Athena Cosmetics v. Allergan Whether, under Buckman Co. v. Plaintiffs’ Legal Committee, the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act impliedly preempts a private state-law claim for unfair competition premised on a party’s purported failure to obtain Food and Drug Administration approval, where the Food and Drug Administration itself has not imposed any such requirement.
13-1361 Samantar v. Yousef 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.
13-1339 Spokeo v. Robins Whether Congress may confer Article III standing upon a plaintiff who suffers no concrete harm, and who therefore could not otherwise invoke the jurisdiction of a federal court, by authorizing a private right of action based on a bare violation of a federal statute.
13-1305 Coventry Health Care of Missouri v. Nevils Whether the Federal Employees Health Benefits Act (FEHBA), which governs the federal government’s provision of health benefits to millions of federal employees and their dependents, preempts state laws precluding carriers that administer FEHBA plans from seeking subrogation as required by their contracts with the Office of Personnel Management.
13-1241 KBR, Incorporated v. Metzgar (1) Whether the political question doctrine bars state-law tort claims against a battlefield support contractor operating in an active war zone when adjudication of those claims would necessarily require examining sensitive military judgments; (2) whether the Federal Tort Claim Act's “combatant-activities exception,” 28 U.S.C. § 2680(j), preempts state-law tort claims against a battlefield support contractor that arise out of the U.S. military's combatant activities in a theater of combat; and (3) whether the doctrine of derivative sovereign immunity bars state-law tort claims against a private contractor performing delegated public functions where the government would be immune from suit if it performed the same functions.
13-1067 OBB Personenverkehr AG v. Sachs (1) Whether, for purposes of determining when an entity is an “agent” of a “foreign state” under the first clause of the commercial activity exception of the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1605(a)(2), the express definition of “agency” in the FSIA, the factors set forth in First National City Bank v. Banco Para el Comercio Exterior de Cuba, or common law principles of agency, control; and (2) whether, under the first clause of the commercial activity exception of the FSIA, 28 U.S.C. § 1605(a)(2), a tort claim for personal injuries suffered in connection with travel outside of the United States is “based upon” the allegedly tortious conduct occurring outside of the United States or the preceding sale of the ticket in the United States for the travel entirely outside the United States.
13-956 Teva Pharmaceuticals USA v. Superior Court of California, Orange County Whether the California Court of Appeal erred when it deepened an acknowledged circuit split and held—contrary to this Court's decisions in Buckman Co. v. Plaintiffs’ Legal Committee and PLIVA, Inc. v. Mensing; the decisions of the Fifth and Eleventh Circuits in Morris v. PLIVA, Inc. and Guarino v. Wyeth, LLC; and the plain language of the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (“FDCA”)—that federal law does not preempt state tort claims predicated on allegations that a generic drug manufacturer violated the FDCA by failing to immediately implement or otherwise disseminate notice of labeling changes that the United States Food and Drug Administration had approved for use on a generic drug product's brand-name equivalent.
13-852 Federal National Mortgage Association v. Sundquist Whether a state can restrict a national bank’s exercise of its fiduciary powers in connection with real property in that state if the bank is authorized to act as a fiduciary by the Comptroller of the Currency and not prohibited from doing so by the (different) state in which the bank is “located” under 12 U.S.C. § 92a and 12 C.F.R. § 9.7. CVSG: 10/07/2014.
13-817 Kellogg Brown & Root Services v. Harris (1) Whether the political question doctrine bars state-law tort claims against a battlefield support contractor operating in an active war zone when adjudication of those claims would necessarily require examining sensitive military judgments; (2) whether the Federal Tort Claims Act's “combatant-activities exception,” 28 U.S.C. § 2680(j), preempts state-law tort claims against a battlefield support contractor that arise out of the U.S. military's combatant activities in a theater of combat.
13-720 Kimble v. Marvel Enterprises Whether this Court should overrule Brulotte v. Thys Co., which held that “a patentee’s use of a royalty agreement that projects beyond the expiration date of the patent is unlawful per se.”

Petitions Held for Another Conference

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