On November 12, the Federalist Society will host a panel discussion entitled, “Ten Years of the Roberts Court,” as part of its national convention in Washington, D.C. Speakers will include Michael Carvin, Jan Crawford, Steven Duffield, and Michael Paulsen; Judge Carlos Bea will be the moderator. More information, as well as access to a live stream of the event, is available on the Federalist Society’s blog.
The only argument this Monday was an Employee Retirement Income Security Act case, Montanile v Board of Trustees of the National Elevator Industry Health Benefit Plan. The case involves a commonplace fact situation. After a driver is injured in an automobile accident, the driver’s insurer (in this case an ERISA plan) pays the driver’s medical expenses. If the driver successfully sues the other driver, does the driver have to reimburse the insurer for medical expenses? The reason that such a mundane question is difficult is that ERISA provides a detailed set of remedies for ERISA plans and generally preempts all other remedies. This means that the plan can’t recover unless the remedy it seeks is included in the ERISA list. In this context, the Court has held in earlier cases that ERISA provides “equitable” remedies but not “legal” remedies.
Yesterday’s oral arguments dominated today’s coverage of and commentary on the Court. Coverage of the class action case Tyson Foods v. Bouaphakeo comes from Lyle Denniston for this blog, with other coverage coming from Jess Bravin of The Wall Street Journal, Greg Stohr of Bloomberg News, Tony Mauro in The National Law Journal (subscription or registration required), and Richard Wolf of USA Today. Mauro also reports for the Supreme Court Brief (subscription required) that, during the oral argument, “Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg threw a veritable lifeboat to veteran advocate David Frederick, answering in detail another justice’s questions so Frederick did not have to.” And commentary comes from Daniel Fisher of Forbes, who observes that a “highly anticipated showdown over the standards for establishing a class action proved disappointing as U.S. Supreme Court justices argued more about the peculiarities of the case than broader questions of whether lawyers can bundle disparate plaintiffs together into a single class.” Continue reading »
In 2012, Sila Luis was indicted on charges that she had defrauded Medicare by paying illegal kickbacks and billing the federal government for services that the employees of her home health care agency had not actually provided. Yesterday her case was in the U.S. Supreme Court, where she hoped to convince the Justices that a court order freezing all of her assets, including those unrelated to her alleged crimes, violated her Sixth Amendment right to hire and pay the lawyer of her choice to defend her. Luis’s attorney, Howard Srebnick, didn’t seem to be making much headway with his arguments during his first stint at the lectern, but – as it turned out – neither did Deputy Solicitor General Michael Dreeben, who argued on behalf of the federal government. Both sides faced tough questions from the Justices, particularly with regard to the limits of their respective proposed rules, and by the time Chief Justice John Roberts concluded the hour of oral arguments, the case appeared to be too close to call. Continue reading »
The Supreme Court on Tuesday named Eugene E. Siler, Jr., a senior judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, to serve as Special Master in the dispute between Mississippi, Tennessee, and Memphis over the right to pump water from an underground source claimed by Mississippi. Siler lives in London, Kentucky. The appointment order is here.
Because Mississippi v. Tennessee is an original case, the Court is acting as a trial court. Siler will gather evidence in the case and recommend a ruling to the Court. There is no timetable for him to do so.
In its Conference of November 13, 2015, the Court will consider petitions seeking review of issues such as whether Texas’s standard for determining if a capital defendant meets the definition of intellectual disability violates the Eighth Amendment, what type of analysis governs the extraterritorial application of the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition on unjustified deadly force, and whether the ban on “assault weapons” in Highland Park, Illinois, violates the Second Amendment.
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.
In what could be a race against the judicial clock, the Obama administration said Tuesday that it will ask the Supreme Court to let it begin enforcing its program to spare more than four million undocumented immigrants from being deported. If the legal filings are not sent in quickly, and the case is not put on an expedited schedule, the Court may not have time to decide it during the current Term.
If the case were to be put off until the next Term, it almost certainly would not be decided until after the 2016 presidential election, and the fate of the program may well be affected by who next occupies the White House.
On Monday night, a divided panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit blocked enforcement of the law — as a federal trial judge had done last February — but the appeals court went even further than that judge had, finding that President Barack Obama would ultimately be found to have no legal authority to adopt the deferred deportation scheme announced one year ago.
A high-stakes case on what pay workers in an Iowa slaughterhouse have earned reached the Supreme Court as the latest major test of class-action claims by groups of individuals, but the controlling legal rule for such cases all but vanished from the scene. Instead, the Justices appeared determined on Tuesday to revive — and maybe extend — a 1946 precedent, and that could spell legal woe for the packing company, Tyson Foods, Inc.
With Justices Anthony Kennedy and Elena Kagan leading the way, the Court appeared to be turning away from any ruling on how courts should try class claims under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23. Instead, the case of Tyson Foods v. Bouaphakeo seemed likely to be resolved on a question of the kind of proof that can support a routine claim for overtime pay.
Today the Court will hear oral arguments in two cases. First up is the class action case Tyson Foods v. Bouaphakeo, which Lyle Denniston previewed for this blog. Other coverage comes from Alexander Gray and Michael Levy for Cornell’s Legal Information Institute.
The second case is Luis v. United States, in which the Court will consider whether a court can freeze a criminal defendant’s “untainted” assets when the defendant’s “tainted” assets have been spent or cannot be located. I previewed the case for this blog, with other coverage coming from Jenna Howarth and Sonia Gupta of Cornell’s Legal Information Institute.