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Petitions to Watch | Conference of 5.28.09

This edition of “Petitions to Watch” features cases up for consideration at the Justices’ private conference on May 28. As always, the list contains the petitions on the Court’s paid docket that Tom has deemed to have a reasonable chance of being granted. To access previous editions of Petitions to Watch, visit our archives on SCOTUSwiki.

Docket: 08-853
Title: Zessar v. Keith
Issue: Whether a plaintiff’s achievement of summary judgment on the merits is a sufficient “alteration of legal relationship” to entitle the plaintiff to “prevailing party” status, and attorneys fees, under the Civil Rights Attorneys Fees Awards Act of 1976, despite the defendants’ subsequently mooting the case by enacting corrective legislation?

Docket: 08-964
Title:  Bilski v. Doll
Issue: Whether a “process” must be tied to a particular machine or apparatus, or transform a particular article into a different state or thing (“machine-or-transformation” test), to be eligible for patenting under 35 U.S.C. § 101 and whether the “machine-or-transformation” test for patent eligibility, contradicts Congressional intent that patents protect “method[s] of doing business” in 35 U.S.C. § 273.

Docket: 08-1085
Title: Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority v. Cooper
Issue: Whether an entity created by a State enjoys sovereign immunity under the Eleventh Amendment where the entity (i) is authorized by State statute to “exercise the public powers” of the State “as an agency and instrumentality thereof,” (ii) is recognized by its enabling act and the State Supreme Court as enjoying sovereign immunity under State law, and (iii) is receiving substantial annual subsidies from the State to fund the entity’s public mission?

Docket: 08-1191
Title: Morrison v. National Australia Bank Ltd., et al.
Issue: Whether the antifraud provisions of the United States securities laws extend to transnational frauds where: (a) the foreign-based parent company conducted substantial business in the United States and (b)the claims arose from an accounting fraud perpetrated by American citizens at the parent company’s Florida based subsidiary, and whether subject matter jurisdiction extends to transnational fraud-on-the-market claims.