The US Supreme Court [official website] granted four new cases [order list, PDF] Monday. In Bullock v. Bank Champaign, N.A. [docket; cert. petition, PDF] the court will look at what degree of misconduct by a trustee will disqualify a debt made by the trustee from discharge under the Bankruptcy Code [11 USC § 523(a)(4)]. In this case, Randy Curtis-Bullock was the trustee of his father's trust and breached his fiduciary duty and received a judgment against him. Judgments are normally dischargeable in a bankruptcy, and Curtis-Bullock attempted to file Chapter 7 to liquidate his debt. However, the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit found such a debt was not dischargeable [opinion] since it was created by a trustee acting improperly, although in this case they found he had acted negligently, not maliciously.
In Trevino v. Thaler [docket; questions presented, PDF] the court will again consider a defense counsel not putting forward mitigating factors in defense of his/her client. The court has limited the grant to question one, and will analyze under last term's decision in Martinez v. Ryan [JURIST report]. The US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit found [opinion] that Carlos Trevino was not entitled to habeas corpus relief.
In PPL Corp. and Subsidiaries v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue [docket; cert. petition, PDF], the court will look at how to analyze foreign taxes. PPL Corporation is attempting to qualify for a foreign tax credit for paying a "windfall tax" in the United Kingdom, where they own a 25 percent stake in a utilities company. The US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit found [opinion] the "windfall tax" did not apply under 26 USC § 901(b) of the Tax Code, because it is "income, war profits, [or] excess profits." PPL Corporation is now asking the Supreme Court to review how foreign taxes are considered by US courts: "[should] courts ... employ a formalistic approach that looks solely at the form of the foreign tax statute and ignores how the tax actually operates, or should employ a substance-based approach that considers factors such as the practical operation and intended effect of the foreign tax."
Finally, in McQuiggin v. Perkins [docket; cert. petition, PDF] the court will consider if "actual innocence" is an exception to not pursuing a timely habeas claim under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 (AEDPA) [text]. The US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit found [opinion] that actual innocence does toll statute of limitations: "Given the Supreme Court's rich jurisprudence protecting the rights of the wrongfully incarcerated, petitioners who seek equitable tolling based on actual innocence should not be treated in the same way as those seeking equitable tolling because of ineffective assistance of counsel, confusion of filing requirements, or other important, but less compelling reasons."