Opinions from 2017

Hernandez v. Mesa
Docket Number: 15-118
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: June 26, 2017

Justia Opinion Summary: In 2010, a U.S. Border Patrol agent standing on U.S. soil shot and killed Hernandez, an unarmed 15-year-old Mexican national, standing on Mexican soil. Hernandez had been playing a game that involved running up the emban...

Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Inc. v. Comer
Docket Number: 15-577
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: June 26, 2017

Justia Opinion Summary: Trinity Lutheran Child Learning Center, operating on church property, sought to replace its playground’s gravel surface by participating in Missouri’s Scrap Tire Program, which offers grants to qualifying nonprofit organ...

Trump. v. International Refugee Assistance Project
Docket Number: 16-1436
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: June 26, 2017

Justia Opinion Summary: In January 2017, President Trump signed executive order EO-1, "Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry," suspending, for 90 days, entry of foreign nationals from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Y...

California Public Employees’ Retirement System v. ANZ Securities, Inc.
Docket Number: 16-373
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: June 26, 2017

Justia Opinion Summary: In 2007-2008, Lehman Brothers raised capital through public securities offerings. Petitioner, the largest public pension fund in the country, purchased some of those securities. A 2008 putative class action claimed that...

Davila v. Davis
Docket Number: 16-6219
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: June 26, 2017

Justia Opinion Summary: In petitioner’s state capital murder trial, the court overruled counsel’s objection to a proposed jury and submitted the instruction to the jury, which convicted petitioner. Appellate counsel did not challenge the jury...

Pavan v. Smith
Docket Number: 16-992
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: June 26, 2017

Justia Opinion Summary: Married same-sex couples conceived children through anonymous sperm donation. Their babies were born in Arkansas in 2015. Each couple completed paperwork listing both female spouses as parents. The Department of Health...

Murr v. Wisconsin
Docket Number: 15-214
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: June 23, 2017

Justia Opinion Summary: The St. Croix River, part of the boundary between Wisconsin and Minnesota, is protected under federal, state, and local law. State and local regulations prevent the use or sale of adjacent riverside lots under common own...

Lee v. United States
Docket Number: 16-327
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: June 23, 2017

Justia Opinion Summary: Lee moved to the U.S. from South Korea with his parents when he was 13. For 35 years he never returned to South Korea, nor did he become a U.S. citizen. He is a lawful permanent resident. In 2008, Lee admitted possessing...

Perry v. Merit Systems Protection Board
Docket Number: 16-399
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: June 23, 2017

Justia Opinion Summary: Under the Civil Service Reform Act, the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) has the power to review certain personnel actions against federal employees. If an employee asserts rights under the CSRA only, MSPB decisions...

Turner v. United States
Docket Number: 15-1503
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: June 22, 2017

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendants were indicted for the kidnapping, robbery, and murder of Catherine Fuller. The prosecution argued that Fuller was attacked by a large group, producing the testimony of two men who confessed to participating in...

Weaver v. Massachusetts
Docket Number: 16-240
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: June 22, 2017

Justia Opinion Summary: When petitioner was tried, the Massachusetts courtroom could not accommodate all potential jurors. During jury selection, a court officer excluded any member of the public who was not a potential juror, including petitio...

Maslenjak v. United States
Docket Number: 16-309
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: June 22, 2017

Justia Opinion Summary: Maslenjak is an ethnic Serb who resided in Bosnia during the civil war. In 1998, she and her family sought refugee status in the U.S.. Interviewed under oath, Maslenjak explained that the family feared persecution: Musli...

Packingham v. North Carolina
Docket Number: 15-1194
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: June 19, 2017

Justia Opinion Summary: North Carolina law made it a felony for a registered sex offender “to access a commercial social networking Web site where the sex offender knows that the site permits minor children to become members or to create or mai...

Matal v. Tam
Docket Number: 15-1293
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: June 19, 2017

Justia Opinion Summary: The rock group “The Slants,” chose that name to dilute the term’s denigrating force as a derogatory term for Asians. The Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) denied an application for registration of the name under 15 U.S.C...

Ziglar v. Abbasi
Docket Number: 15-1358
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: June 19, 2017

Justia Opinion Summary: Following the September 11 terrorist attacks, the government ordered the detention of hundreds of illegal aliens. Plaintiffs, subsequently removed from the U.S., filed a putative class action against Executive Officials...

Jenkins v. Hutton
Docket Number: 16-1116
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: June 19, 2017

Justia Opinion Summary: Hutton accused Mitchell and Simmons of stealing a sewing machine in which he had hidden $750. On September 16, 1985, Hutton drove the two around, pointing a gun. Hutton recovered the machine. Simmons survived two gunshot...

Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court of California
Docket Number: 16-466
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: June 19, 2017

Justia Opinion Summary: Plaintiffs, most of whom are not California residents, sued BMS in California state court, alleging that the pharmaceutical company’s drug Plavix had damaged their health. BMS is incorporated in Delaware and headquartere...

McWilliams v. Dunn
Docket Number: 16-5294
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: June 19, 2017

Justia Opinion Summary: In 1985, Alabama charged McWilliams with rape and murder, one month after the Supreme Court’s decision in Ake v. Oklahoma. Finding McWilliams indigent, the court ordered a psychiatric evaluation. The state convened a com...

Sandoz Inc. v. Amgen Inc.
Docket Number: 15-1039
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: June 12, 2017

Justia Opinion Summary: The Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act, concerning FDA approval of a drug that is biosimilar to an already-licensed biological “reference product,” 42 U.S.C. 262(k), treats submission of a biosimilar applicat...

Sessions v. Morales-Santana
Docket Number: 15-1191
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: June 12, 2017

Justia Opinion Summary: The Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. 1401(a)(7), provides a path to citizenship for a child born abroad if the child’s U.S.-citizen parent has 10 years’ physical presence in the U.S. before the child’s birth, “a...

Microsoft Corp. v. Baker
Docket Number: 15-457
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: June 12, 2017

Justia Opinion Summary: The owners of Microsoft’s videogame console, Xbox 360, filed a putative class action alleging a design defect. The district court struck class allegations from the complaint. The Ninth Circuit denied permission to appeal...

Virginia v. LeBlanc
Docket Number: 16-1177
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: June 12, 2017

Justia Opinion Summary: In 1999, LeBlanc, then age 16, raped a 62- year-old woman. In 2003, a state trial court sentenced him to life in prison. Virginia had abolished traditional “parole” for felony offenders and enacted its “geriatric release...

Henson v. Santander Consumer USA Inc.
Docket Number: 16-349
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: June 12, 2017

Justia Opinion Summary: The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act authorizes private lawsuits and fines against “debt collector[s],” defined as anyone who “regularly collects or attempts to collect . . . debts owed or due . . . another,” 15 U.S.C....

North Carolina v. Covington
Docket Number: 16-1023
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: June 5, 2017

Justia Opinion Summary: The North Carolina General Assembly redrew state legislative districts in 2011 to account for population changes revealed by the 2010 census. Plaintiffs alleged that 28 majority-black districts in the new plan were uncon...

Honeycutt v. United States
Docket Number: 16-142
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: June 5, 2017

Justia Opinion Summary: Terry managed sales and inventory for a Tennessee hardware store owned by his brother, Tony. They were indicted for federal drug crimes including conspiracy to distribute a product used in methamphetamine production. The...

Kokesh v. Securities and Exchange Commission
Docket Number: 16-529
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: June 5, 2017

Justia Opinion Summary: In the 1970s, federal district courts began ordering disgorgement in Securities and Exchange Commission enforcement proceedings. The Commission may also seek monetary civil penalties; 28 U.S.C. 2462 establishes a five-ye...

Town of Chester v. Laroe Estates, Inc.
Docket Number: 16-605
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: June 5, 2017

Justia Opinion Summary: Sherman paid $2.7 million for land in Chester, New York, then sought approval of his development plan. Years later, he filed a regulatory takings suit. Laroe moved to intervene under FRCP 24(a)(2), which requires a court...

Advocate Health Care Network v. Stapleton
Docket Number: 16-74
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: June 5, 2017

Justia Opinion Summary: The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) obligates private employers offering pension plans to adhere to rules designed to ensure plan solvency and protect plan participants, 29 U.S.C. 1003(b)(2). ERISA exempt...

Impression Products, Inc. v. Lexmark International, Inc.
Docket Number: 15-1189
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: May 30, 2017

Justia Opinion Summary: Lexmark holds patents on the components of toner cartridges that it manufactures and sells. Lexmark allows consumers to buy a cartridge at full price, with no restrictions, or to buy a cartridge at a discount through Lex...

County of Los Angeles v. Mendez
Docket Number: 16-369
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: May 30, 2017

Justia Opinion Summary: The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department had information that a potentially armed and dangerous parolee-at-large had been seen at a certain residence. While others searched the main house, deputies searched the proper...

BNSF Railroad Co. v. Tyrrell
Docket Number: 16-405
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: May 30, 2017

Justia Opinion Summary: Based on alleged work-related injuries, Nelson, a North Dakota resident, and Tyrrell, the administrator of a South Dakota estate, brought Federal Employers’ Liability Act, 45 U.S.C. 51, suits against BNSF Railroad. Neith...

Esquivel-Quintana v. Sessions
Docket Number: 16-54
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: May 30, 2017

Justia Opinion Summary: Petitioner, a Mexican citizen and lawful permanent resident of the U.S., pleaded no contest in a California court under a statute criminalizing “unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor who is more than three years young...

Cooper v. Harris
Docket Number: 15-1262
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: May 22, 2017

Justia Opinion Summary: North Carolina redrew Congressional Districts 1 and 12 after the 2010 census. Previously, neither district had a majority black voting-age population (BVAP), but both consistently elected candidates preferred by most Afr...

Water Splash, Inc. v. Menon
Docket Number: 16-254
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: May 22, 2017

Justia Opinion Summary: Water Splash sued Menon, a former employee, in Texas state court. Because Menon resided in Canada, Water Splash obtained permission to effect service by mail. Menon declined to answer or enter an appearance. The trial co...

TC Heartland LLC v. Kraft Foods Group Brands LLC
Docket Number: 16-341
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: May 22, 2017

Justia Opinion Summary: The patent venue statute, 28 U.S.C. 1400(b), provides that “[a]ny civil action for patent infringement may be brought in the judicial district where the defendant resides, or where the defendant has committed acts of inf...

Howell v. Howell
Docket Number: 15-1031
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: May 15, 2017

Justia Opinion Summary: A state court may not order a veteran to indemnify a divorced spouse for the loss in the spouse’s portion of the veteran’s retirement pay caused by the veteran’s waiver of retirement pay to receive service-related disabi...

Kindred Nursing Centers, L. P. v. Clark
Docket Number: 16-32
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: May 15, 2017

Justia Opinion Summary: Kentucky ruling that authority to bind a principal to arbitration must be explicitly stated in power of attorney violated the Federal Arbitration Act. When the patients moved into Kindred’s nursing home, their relative...

Midland Funding, LLC v. Johnson
Docket Number: 16-348
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: May 15, 2017

Justia Opinion Summary: Filing a bankruptcy proof of claim that is obviously time-barred is not a false, deceptive, misleading, unfair, or unconscionable practice under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). Midland filed a proof of...

Bank of America Corp. v. City of Miami
Docket Number: 15-1111
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: May 1, 2017

Justia Opinion Summary: A city is an “aggrieved person,” authorized to bring suit under the Fair Housing Act (FHA), according to the Supreme Court. The City of Miami sued Bank of America and Wells Fargo, alleging violations of the FHA prohibiti...

Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela v. Helmerich & Payne Int’l Drilling Co.
Docket Number: 15-423
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: May 1, 2017

Justia Opinion Summary: A case falls within the scope of the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, 28 U.S.C. 1604, “expropriation exception” and may be pursued against a foreign state in U.S. federal courts only if the property in which the party c...

Lewis v. Clarke
Docket Number: 15-1500
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: April 25, 2017

Justia Opinion Summary: The Lewises, driving on a Connecticut interstate, were struck by a vehicle driven by Clarke, a Tribal Gaming Authority employee, who was transporting Mohegan Sun Casino patrons. The Lewises sued Clarke in his individual...

Nelson v. Colorado
Docket Number: 15-1256
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: April 19, 2017

Justia Opinion Summary: Nelson, convicted of felonies and misdemeanors arising from the alleged abuse of her children, was sentenced to prison and ordered to pay $8,192.50 in court costs, fees, and restitution. Nelson’s conviction was reversed...

Manrique v. United States
Docket Number: 15-7250
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: April 19, 2017

Justia Opinion Summary: After agents found child pornography on petitioner’s computer, he pleaded guilty to possessing a visual depiction of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct (18 U.S.C. 2252(a)(4)(B) and (b)(2)), an offense requirin...

Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. v. Haeger
Docket Number: 15-1406
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: April 18, 2017

Justia Opinion Summary: The Haegers sued Goodyear, alleging that the failure of a Goodyear G159 tire caused their motorhome to swerve and flip over. After years of contentious discovery, marked by Goodyear’s slow response to repeated requests...

Coventry Health Care of Missouri, Inc. v. Nevils
Docket Number: 16-149
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: April 18, 2017

Justia Opinion Summary: The Federal Employees Health Benefits Act (FEHBA) authorizes the Office of Personnel Management to contract with private carriers for federal employees’ health insurance; 5 U.S.C. 8902(m)(1) states that the “terms of any...

McLane Co. v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Docket Number: 15-1248
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: April 3, 2017

Justia Opinion Summary: Ochoa worked in a physically demanding job for McLane, which requires new employees in such positions and those returning from medical leave to take a physical evaluation. When Ochoa returned from three months of materni...

Dean v. United States
Docket Number: 15-9260
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: April 3, 2017

Justia Opinion Summary: Dean and his brother committed two robberies; Dean’s brother threatened and assaulted the victim with a gun, while Dean searched for valuables. Dean was convicted of multiple robbery and firearms counts, and two counts...

Expressions Hair Design v. Schneiderman
Docket Number: 15-1391
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: March 29, 2017

Justia Opinion Summary: Businesses challenged New York General Business Law section 518, which provides that “[n]o seller in any sales transaction may impose a surcharge on a holder who elects to use a credit card in lieu of payment by cash, ch...

Moore v. Texas
Docket Number: 15-797
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: March 28, 2017

Justia Opinion Summary: Moore was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death for shooting a clerk during a robbery that occurred when Moore was 20 years old. A state habeas court determined that, under Supreme Court precedent, Moore wa...

Czyzewski v. Jevic Holding Corp.
Docket Number: 15-649
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: March 22, 2017

Justia Opinion Summary: Jevic filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy after its purchase in a leveraged buyout. Former Jevic drivers were awarded a judgment for violations of state and federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Acts,...

Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District RE–1
Docket Number: 15-827
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: March 22, 2017

Justia Opinion Summary: The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) offers states federal funds to provide every eligible child a “free appropriate public education” (FAPE), by means of an “individualized education program” (IEP). 20...

Star Athletica, LLC v. Varsity Brands, Inc.
Docket Number: 15-866
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: March 22, 2017

Justia Opinion Summary: The “pictorial, graphic, or sculptural features” of a “design of a useful article” are eligible for copyright protection as artistic works if those features “can be identified separately from, and are capable of existing...

Manuel v. Joliet
Docket Number: 14-9496
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: March 21, 2017

Justia Opinion Summary: During a traffic stop, officers searched Manuel and found a vitamin bottle containing pills. Suspecting the pills were illegal drugs, officers conducted a field test, which came back negative for any controlled substance...

National Labor Relations Board v. SW General, Inc
Docket Number: 15-1251
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: March 21, 2017

Justia Opinion Summary: The Constitution requires that the President obtain “the Advice and Consent of the Senate” before appointing “Officers of the United States” (PAS officers). The Federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998 (FVRA), section 3345(a...

SCA Hygiene Products Aktiebolag v. First Quality Baby Products, LLC
Docket Number: 15-927
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: March 21, 2017

Justia Opinion Summary: In 2003, SCA notified First Quality that its adult incontinence products infringed an SCA patent. First Quality responded that its patent antedated SCA’s patent and made it invalid. In 2004, SCA sought reexamination of i...

Pena-Rodriguez v. Colorado
Docket Number: 15-606
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: March 6, 2017

Justia Opinion Summary: A Colorado jury convicted Peña-Rodriguez of harassment and unlawful sexual contact. Following the jury’s discharge, two jurors told defense counsel that, during deliberations, Juror H.C. had expressed anti-Hispanic bias...

Beckles v. United States
Docket Number: 15-8544
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: March 6, 2017

Justia Opinion Summary: Beckles was convicted of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(1). The court imposed a “career offender” sentencing enhancement under U.S.S.G. 4B1.1(a), finding that his offense qualified as a “...

Rippo v. Baker
Docket Number: 16-6316
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: March 6, 2017

Justia Opinion Summary: A Nevada jury convicted Rippo of first-degree murder and other offenses and sentenced him to death. During his trial, Rippo received information that the judge was the target of a federal bribery probe, and he surmised...

Bethune-Hill v. Virginia State Board of Elections
Docket Number: 15-680
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: March 1, 2017

Justia Opinion Summary: After the 2010 census, the Virginia Legislature drew new lines for 12 state legislative districts, to ensure that each district would have a black voting-age population of at least 55%. Voters challenged the redistrictin...

Life Technologies Corp. v. Promega Corp.
Docket Number: 14-1538
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: February 22, 2017

Justia Opinion Summary: Promega sublicensed a patent, which claims a toolkit for genetic testing, to Life Technologies for the manufacture and sale of kits for use in licensed law enforcement fields worldwide. One of the kit’s five components,...

Fry v. Napoleon Community Schools
Docket Number: 15-497
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: February 22, 2017

Justia Opinion Summary: The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) provides federal funds to states for furnishing a “free appropriate public education” (FAPE) to children with disabilities, 20 U.S.C. 1412(a)(1)(A), and establishes...

Buck v. Davis
Docket Number: 15-8049
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: February 22, 2017

Justia Opinion Summary: Buck was convicted of murder; under Texas law, the jury could impose a death sentence only if it found unanimously, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Buck was likely to commit future acts of violence. Buck’s attorney call...

Lightfoot v. Cendant Mortgage Corp
Docket Number: 14-1055
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: January 18, 2017

Justia Opinion Summary: The Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) is a federally-chartered corporation that participates in the secondary mortgage market, with authority “to sue and to be sued, and to complain and to defend, in any...

White v. Pauly
Docket Number: 16-67
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: January 9, 2017

Justia Opinion Summary: Two women called 911 to report Daniel as a “‘drunk driver’” on a highway near Santa Fe, then followed Daniel with their bright lights on. Daniel, feeling threatened, pulled over at an off-ramp to confront them. After a...