Supreme Court adds 7 cases to 2011 docket
Supreme Court adds 7 cases to 2011 docket
Photo source or description

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] on Monday granted certiorari [order list, PDF] in eight cases, consolidating two for oral arguments. In Filarsky v. Delia [docket; cert. petition, PDF], the court will consider whether a lawyer retained to work with government employees in conducting an internal affairs investigation is precluded from asserting qualified immunity solely because of his status as a “private” lawyer rather than a government employee. Firefighter Nicholas Delia brought suit against the city of Rialto, the Rialto Fire Department, several city officials and a private attorney, Steve Filarsky, for violating his constitutional rights during an internal affairs investigation. The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled [opinion, PDF] that Delia’s rights were violated but that the officials were entitled to qualified immunity because the right was not clearly established. The Ninth Circuit also found that the private attorney was not entitled to qualified immunity.

In Vartelas v. Holder [docket; cert. petition], the court will determine whether Rosenberg v. Fleuti [opinion text], should be applied to plaintiff Panagis Vartelas instead of current immigration law that repeals the law settled in Fleuti. Rosenberg v. Fleuti held that a permanent legal resident can make “innocent, casual, and brief” trips abroad without being denied reentry. But this interpreted law was changed by 8 USC § 1101(a)(13)(C)(v) [text], which holds that a permanent resident can be denied reentry if he has committed a crime of “moral turpitude” in the past. Vartelas pleaded guilty to a crime before the law was ratified and then left the US briefly and was denied reentry. The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held [opinion text] that Vartelas was not entitled to immigration review and the law could be applied retroactively and supersedes the Fleuti doctrine.

In Roberts v. Sea-Land Services [docket; cert. petition], the court will clarify when the period for compensation is under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act [text], which goes into effect after a worker is disabled on the job. The calculation for compensation is based on several factors, including the national average wage. Dana Roberts was disabled from a period between 2002 and 2005, but her claim was not adjudicated until 2007. She is arguing that the national average wage should be used from 2007, when the award was first decided, as opposed to 2002, when she was injured. The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled [opinion, PDF] that Roberts misinterpreted the phrase “those newly awarded compensation during such period” and held that her compensation should be calculated based on the 2002 national average.

In Taniguchi v. Kan Pacific Saipan, Ltd. [docket; cert. petition, PDF], the court will decide if translating written documents is enough to be considered an “interpreter” under 28 USC § 1920 [text] for matters of compensation. The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit determined [opinion, PDF] that translating documents is acting as an interpreter under the law.

In Holder v. Gutierrez [docket; cert. petition, PDF] and Holder v. Sawyers [docket; cert. petition, PDF], the court will be considering questions on illegal immigrants who reside with lawful immigrants. Essentially, both cases concern whether the alien children of legal residents can have their parents’ years in the country imputed to them for the purposes of obtaining citizenship. The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held in Gutierrez and in Sawyers [opinions, PDF] that the Board of Immigration must review their deportation orders and consider their parents’ years in lawful residence as well as if, as minors, they were residing with their legal immigrant parents.

In Wood v. Milyard [docket; cert. petition], the court will determine if the prosecution raising a statute of limitations argument in response to plaintiff’s appeal is an error. Further, specific to this case, if the state’s assurance to the plaintiff that they would not raise a statute of limitations argument is enough to bind them to not be able to raise it later in proceedings. The US Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit ruling [opinion text] barred Patrick Wood’s petition for writ of habeas corpus based on its timeliness.

Finally, in US v. Home Concrete & Supply [docket; cert. petition, PDF], the court will look at what can activate an “extended six-year assessment” period for taxes. The case questions if an understatement of gross income attributable to an overstatement of property assets can trigger this period. A Department of Treasury regulation holds that it does, and the court will also examine if this regulation should have judicial deference. The US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled [opinion, PDF] that the assessment should not have been initiated, and that the Department of Treasury’s regulation was not holding.