Supreme Court takes international child custody, NFL antitrust cases

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website; JURIST news archive] on Monday granted certiorari [order list, PDF] in six cases. In Abbott v. Abbott [docket, cert. petition, PDF], the Court will consider whether a ne exeat clause, which prohibits one parent from removing a child from the country without the other parent's consent, confers a "right of custody" within the meaning of the Hague Convention on International Child Abduction [text]. The Hague Convention requires a country to return a child who has been "wrongfully removed" from his country of habitual residence. Under Art. 12, a "wrongful removal" is one that occurs "in breach of rights of custody." The US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit held [opinion, PDF] that ne exeat rights do not constitute "rights of custody" within the meaning of the Hague Convention.

In American Needle, Inc. v. NFL [docket; cert. petition, PDF], the Court will consider whether the NFL and its member teams are a single entity that is exempt from rule of reason claims under Section 1 of the Sherman Act [text]. The NFL teams reached an agreement with Reebok to license and sell consumer headwear and clothing with the respective teams' logos and not to grant licenses to Reebok's competitors for 10 years. The US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ruled [opinion, PDF] that the NFL and its member teams are a single entity under the Sherman Act.

In Weyhrauch v. United States [docket; cert. petition, PDF], the Court will consider whether a federal honest services mail fraud prosecution under 18 USC §§ 1341 and 1346 [texts] requires proof that the conduct at issue also violated an applicable state law. The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held [opinion, PDF] that no state law violation is required. The case involves former Alaska state representative Bruce Weyhrauch and whether he should have disclosed that he was seeking legal work from oil company Veco Corp. while he was voting on an oil tax.

In Jerman v. Carlisle, McNellie, Rini, Kramer & Ulrich LPA [docket; cert. petition, PDF], the Court will consider whether a debt collector's legal error qualifies for the bona fide error defense under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) [15 USC § 1692 text, PDF]. Petitioner Jerman filed an action challenging the debt collection practices of the Carlisle law firm, claiming that they violated the FDCPA when they used allegedly deceptive forms to notify her of a foreclosure on her home. Specifically, Jerman claims that defendants violated the FDCPA by representing to Jerman that her debt would be assumed valid unless she disputed the debt "in writing" even though the FDCPA does not require a written dispute. The US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled [opinion, PDF] that although the defendants violated the FDCPA by instructing Jerman that she must dispute the debt in writing, defendants qualified for the FDCPA bona fide error defense.

In Granite Rock Company v. International Brotherhood of Teamsters [docket; cert. petition, PDF], the Court will consider whether a federal court has jurisdiction to determine whether a collective bargaining agreement was formed when it is disputed whether any binding contract exists, but no party makes an independent challenge to the arbitration clause apart from claiming it is inoperative before the contract is established and whether Section 301(a) of the Labor Management Relations Act (LMRA) [text], which generally preempts otherwise available state law causes of action, provides a cause of action against an international union that is not a direct signatory to the collective bargaining agreement, but effectively displaces its signatory local union and causes a strike breaching a collective bargaining agreement for its own benefit. The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed [opinion, PDF] the district court's dismissal of a claim against the International Brotherhood of Teamsters for tortious interference with a collective bargaining agreement between Granite Rock and Local Union 287.

In Conkright v. Frommert [docket; cert. petition, PDF], the Court will consider whether a district court has no obligation to defer to an Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) [text] plan administrator's reasonable interpretation of the terms of the plan if the plan administrator arrived at its interpretation outside the context of an administrative claim for benefits and whether a district court has "allowable discretion" to adopt any "reasonable" interpretation of the terms of an ERISA plan when the plan interpretation issue arises in the course of calculating additional benefits due under the plan as a result of an ERISA violation. The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled [opinion, PDF] that a district court is under no obligation to defer to an ERISA plan administrator's interpretation and that a district court does have "allowable discretion" to adopt any "reasonable" interpretation of the terms of the plan.

 

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