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Supreme Court adds 3 business-related cases to 2009 docket

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website; JURIST news archive] on Monday granted certiorari [order list, PDF] in three cases. In Hamilton, Chapter 13 Trustee v. Lanning [docket; cert. petition, PDF], the Court limited its grant of certiorari to "[w]hether, in calculating the debtor's 'projected disposable income' during the plan period, the bankruptcy court may consider evidence suggesting that the debtor's income or expenses during that period are likely to be different from her income or expenses during the pre-filing period." The US Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit found [opinion, PDF] that a debtor's current monthly income is the appropriate income to use in this analysis.

The court also agreed to hear New Process Steel, L.P. v. National Labor Relations Board [docket; cert. petition, PDF]. The Court will consider whether the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) [official website] has the authority to decide cases where only two of the five-member board are present. Section 3(b) of the National Labor Relations Act [29 USC § 153(b)] provides that three members is enough to constitute a quorum of the NLRB. The US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit found [opinion, PDF] that the NLRB had acted appropriately and affirmed its decision in full. The US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] has urged the Court to uphold [JURIST report] all decisions by the two-member board.

In Levin, Tax Commissioner of Ohio v. Commerce Energy, Inc. [docket; cert. petition, PDF], the court will consider whether a challenge to state tax exemptions can occur in federal court when the suit does not involve the challengers own tax assessment, but rather others that are similarly situated. The court will review whether the Tax Injunction Act [28 USC § 1341] or comity principles bar federal court jurisdiction. The US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit reversed [opinion, PDF] the district court's decision, which granted a motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The court found that neither the Tax Injunction Act nor the general principles of comity barred the plaintiff's claim.

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