Supreme Court adds 8 cases to docket
Supreme Court adds 8 cases to docket
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[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] on Tuesday added eight new cases [order list, PDF] to its docket for the upcoming term. In Harris v. Quinn [docket; cert. petition, PDF] the court will determine whether a state can “compel personal care providers to accept and financially support a private organization as their exclusive representative to petition the state for greater reimbursements from its Medicaid programs.” The US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit held [opinion] that “a collective bargaining agreement that requires Medicaid home-care personal assistants to pay a fee to a union representative [does not] violate the First Amendment.” The court also ruled, “we lack jurisdiction to consider the claims of plaintiffs who have opted not to be in the union. Because they are not presently subject to mandatory fair share fees, their claims are not ripe.”

In Highmark v. Allcare Management Systems [docket; cert. petition, PDF] the court will rule on attorney’s fees under the Patent Act. The Patent Act provides for attorney’s fees in “exceptional cases” under 35 USC § 285 [text]. The question before the court is, “[w]hether a district court’s exceptional-case finding under 35 USC § 285, based on its judgment that a suit is objectively baseless, is entitled to deference.” The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit held [opinion] that there was, “no clear error in the trial court’s exceptional case determination.”

Octane Fitness v. Icon Health and Fitness [docket; cert. petition, PDF] also has to do with attorney’s fees under the Patent Act. The court has been asked to decide whether, “the Federal Circuit’s promulgation [opinion] of a rigid and exclusive two-part test for determining whether a case is ‘exceptional’ under 35 USC § 285 improperly appropriate[s] a district court’s discretionary authority to award attorney fees to prevailing accused infringers in contravention of statutory intent and this Court’s precedent, thereby raising the standard for accused infringers (but not patentees) to recoup fees and encouraging patent plaintiffs to bring spurious patent cases to cause competitive harm or coerce unwarranted settlements from defendants.”

In Brandt Irrevocable Trust v. United States [docket; cert. petition, PDF] the court will rule on the General Railroad Right-of-Way Act of 1875 (1875 Act). The court ruled in Great Northern Ry. Co. v. United States (1942) [opinion] that rights-of-way are easements and not limited fees with an implied reversionary interest. The question now before the court is, “[d]id the United States retain an implied reversionary interest in 1875 Act rights-of-way after the underlying lands were patented into private ownership?” The US Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit ruled that it did, creating a circuit split.

In Petrella v. MGM [docket; cert. petition, PDF] the court will determine, “[w]hether the nonstatutory defense of laches [Nolo definition] is available without restriction to bar all remedies for civil copyright claims filed within the three-year statute of limitations prescribed by Congress, 17 USC § 507(b) [text].” There is a circuit split on the issue, with the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has adopted a presumption [opinion] in favor of applying laches to continuing copyright infringements.

In United States v. Castleman [docket; cert. petition, PDF] the court has been asked to determine, “[w]hether respondent’s Tennessee conviction for misdemeanor domestic assault by intentionally or knowingly causing bodily injury to the mother of his child qualifies as a conviction for a ‘misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.'” 18 USC § 922(g)(9) [text] makes it a crime for any person convicted of a “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence” to possess a firearm. The phrase “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence” is defined to include any federal, state or tribal misdemeanor offense, committed by a person with a specified domestic relationship to the victim, that “has, as an element, the use or attempted use of physical force, or the threatened use of a deadly weapon.” The US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled [opinion] that the conviction does not qualify as a “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.”

In United States v. Quality Stores [docket; cert. petition, PDF] the court will decide, “[w]hether severance payments made to employees whose employment was involuntarily terminated are taxable under the Federal Insurance Contributions Act [26 USC § 3101 et seq].” The Sixth Circuit held [opinion] that such payments are not taxable.

In Navarette v. California [docket] the court will decide whether police, after getting an anonymous tip about drunken or reckless driving, must actually observe that kind of misconduct before they may stop a vehicle.