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Supreme Court agrees to hear ERISA case, rejects Boston College IRA research petition

The US Supreme Court [official website] granted certiorari in two new cases [order list, PDF] on Monday. In Heimeshoff v. Hartford Life & Accident Insurance Co. [questions presented, PDF; docket] the court will hear arguments the deadline for filing a complaint to challenge a denial of disability under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) [official website]. The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit upheld [opinion] a district court decision that dismissed Julie Heimeshoff's appeal of a denial of long term disability benefits.

The court also agreed to hear Sprint Communications Co. v. Jacobs [cert. petition, PDF; docket] over how to apply Younger v. Harris [opinion], which creates a duty for a federal court to delay proceedings while a similar state court proceeding is ongoing, in cases where state regulations affect telephone-via-Internet calls. The US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit ruled [opinion] that federal courts could abstain from hearing the case until state proceedings ended.

Finally, the court denied certiorari in Ed Moloney and Anthony McIntyre v. United States [docket], ending a temporary stay [JURIST report] granted in October that was preventing a subpoena from the British government [case materials]. The British government is now free to access research materials from Boston College [academic website] done for the Belfast Project [materials], an abandoned oral history of The Troubles [Guardian backgrounder], a period of violence in Northern Ireland between Protestant and Roman Catholic organizations. The research materials purportedly reveals the identities of former Irish Republican Army (IRA) members who participated in an unsolved murder. Ed Moloney and Anthony McIntyre stated in a press release [text] that: "The legal track has almost come to an end but the political campaign continues."

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