Opinions from 2019

Department of Commerce v. New York
Docket Number: 18-966
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: June 27, 2019

Justia Opinion Summary: Under the Census Act, authorized by the Enumeration Clause, the Secretary of Commerce conducts the decennial census “in such form and content as he may determine,” 13 U.S.C. 141(a), aided by the Census Bureau. Census ...

Rucho v. Common Cause
Docket Number: 18-422
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: June 27, 2019

Justia Opinion Summary: North Carolina plaintiffs claimed that the state’s congressional districting plan discriminated against Democrats. Maryland plaintiffs claimed that their state’s plan discriminated against Republicans. The plaintiffs ...

Mitchell v. Wisconsin
Docket Number: 18-6210
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: June 27, 2019

Justia Opinion Summary: Mitchell was arrested for operating a vehicle while intoxicated after a preliminary breath test registered a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) triple Wisconsin’s legal limit for driving. Taken to a police station for a ...

United States v. Haymond
Docket Number: 17-1672
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: June 26, 2019

Justia Opinion Summary: Haymond was convicted of possessing child pornography, which carries a prison term of zero to 10 years. After serving 38 months, while on supervised release, Haymond was found with what appeared to be child pornography. The ...

Kisor v. Wilkie
Docket Number: 18-15
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: June 26, 2019

Justia Opinion Summary: Kisor, a Vietnam veteran, unsuccessfully sought VA disability benefits in 1982, alleging that he had developed PTSD from his military service. In 2006, Kisor moved to reopen his claim. The VA then agreed he was eligible for ...

Tennessee Wine and Spirits Retailers Association v. Thomas
Docket Number: 18-96
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: June 26, 2019

Justia Opinion Summary: Tennessee law requires applicants for an initial license to operate a retail liquor store to have resided in Tennessee for the prior two years; an applicant for license renewal must have resided in Tennessee for 10 consecutive ...

Dutra Group v. Batterton
Docket Number: 18-266
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: June 24, 2019

Justia Opinion Summary: Batterton was working on a Dutra vessel when a hatch blew open and injured his hand. Batterton sued Dutra, asserting various claims, including unseaworthiness, and seeking general and punitive damages. The Ninth Circuit affirmed ...

United States v. Davis
Docket Number: 18-431
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: June 24, 2019

Justia Opinion Summary: Defendants were convicted of Hobbs Act robbery and conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act robbery and under 18 U.S.C. 924(c), which authorizes heightened penalties for using, carrying, or possessing a firearm in connection with any ...

Food Marketing Institute v. Argus Leader Media
Docket Number: 18-481
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: June 24, 2019

Justia Opinion Summary: Media filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), seeking the names and addresses of all retail stores that participate in the national Supplemental Nutrition Assistance ...

Iancu v. Brunetti
Docket Number: 18-302
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: June 24, 2019

Justia Opinion Summary: Brunetti sought federal registration of the trademark FUCT. The Patent and Trademark Office denied his application under a Lanham Act provision that prohibits registration of trademarks that consist of or comprise "immoral[ ...

Knick v. Township of Scott
Docket Number: 17-647
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: June 21, 2019

Justia Opinion Summary: Scott Township passed an ordinance requiring that “[a]ll cemeteries . . . be kept open and accessible to the general public during daylight hours.” Knick, whose 90-acre rural property has a small family graveyard, was ...

North Carolina Department of Revenue v. Kimberley Rice Kaestner 1992 Family Trust
Docket Number: 18-457
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: June 21, 2019

Justia Opinion Summary: Rice formed a trust for the benefit of his children in his home state, New York, and appointed a New York resident as the trustee. The trustee has “absolute discretion” to distribute the trust’s assets to the beneficiaries. ...

Rehaif v. United States
Docket Number: 17-9560
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: June 21, 2019

Justia Opinion Summary: Rehaif entered the United States on a nonimmigrant student visa to attend university but was dismissed for poor grades. He subsequently shot firearms at a firing range and was prosecuted under 18 U.S.C. 922(g), which makes ...

Flowers v. Mississippi
Docket Number: 17-9572
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: June 21, 2019

Justia Opinion Summary: Flowers was tried six times for the murder of four Mississippi furniture store employees. Flowers is black; three of the victims were white. At the first two trials, the prosecution used peremptory strikes on all qualified ...

McDonough v. Smith
Docket Number: 18-485
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: June 20, 2019

Justia Opinion Summary: McDonough processed ballots as a board of elections commissioner in a Troy, New York primary election. Smith was specially appointed to investigate and to prosecute a case of forged absentee ballots in that election. McDonough ...

Gundy v. United States
Docket Number: 17-6086
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: June 20, 2019

Justia Opinion Summary: The Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA), intended to combat sex crimes and crimes against children, requires a broad range of sex offenders to register and imposes criminal penalties; 34 U.S.C. 20913 describes ...

PDR Network, LLC v. Carlton Harris Chiropractic, Inc.
Docket Number: 17-1705
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: June 20, 2019

Justia Opinion Summary: PDR compiles information about prescription drugs. Its producer sent health care providers faxes stating that they could reserve a free copy of a new e-book PDR. A recipient filed a putative class action, claiming that the ...

American Legion v. American Humanist Association
Docket Number: 17-1717
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: June 20, 2019

Justia Opinion Summary: In 1918, residents of Prince George’s County decided to erect a cross as a war memorial to stand at the terminus of another World War I memorial—the National Defense Highway connecting Washington to Annapolis. The 32-foot ...

Virginia Uranium, Inc. v. Warren
Docket Number: 16-1275
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: June 17, 2019

Justia Opinion Summary: The company wants to mine raw uranium ore from a site near Coles Hill, Virginia. Virginia law completely prohibits uranium mining. The company alleged that, under the Constitution’s Supremacy Clause, the Atomic Energy Act ...

Manhattan Community Access Corp. v. Halleck
Docket Number: 17-1702
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: June 17, 2019

Justia Opinion Summary: New York requires cable operators to set aside channels for public access. Those channels are operated by the cable operator unless the local government chooses to operate the channels or designates a private entity as the ...

Virginia House of Delegates v. Bethune-Hill
Docket Number: 18-281
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: June 17, 2019

Justia Opinion Summary: After the 2010 census, Virginia redrew legislative districts for its Senate and House of Delegates. Voters sued, claiming racial gerrymandering. The House of Delegates intervened. The district court held that 11 districts ...

Gamble v. United States
Docket Number: 17-646
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: June 17, 2019

Justia Opinion Summary: Gamble pleaded guilty under Alabama’s felon-in-possession-of-a-firearm statute. Federal prosecutors then indicted him for the same instance of possession under federal law. Gamble argued that the federal indictment was ...

Return Mail, Inc. v. United States Postal Service
Docket Number: 17-1594
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: June 10, 2019

Justia Opinion Summary: The Leahy-Smith America Invents Act (AIA) of 2011 created the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, 35 U.S.C. 6(c), which conducts administrative review proceedings that enable a “person” to challenge the validity of a patent ...

Parker Drilling Management Services, Ltd. v. Newton
Docket Number: 18-389
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: June 10, 2019

Justia Opinion Summary: Newton worked on drilling platforms off the California coast. Newton was paid for his time on duty but not for his time on standby, during which he could not leave the platform. Newton filed a class action, alleging that ...

Quarles v. United States
Docket Number: 17-778
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: June 10, 2019

Justia Opinion Summary: Quarles pled guilty as a felon in possession of a firearm but objected to enhanced sentencing under the Armed Career Criminal Act, 18 U.S.C. 924(e). He claimed that his 2002 Michigan conviction for third-degree home invasion ...

Fort Bend County v. Davis
Docket Number: 18-525
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: June 3, 2019

Justia Opinion Summary: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin, 42 U.S.C. 2000e–2(a)(1). A complainant must file a charge with the Equal Employment ...

Azar v. Allina Health Services
Docket Number: 17-1484
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: June 3, 2019

Justia Opinion Summary: The Medicare program offers additional payments to institutions that serve a “disproportionate number” of low-income patients, 42 U.S.C. 1395ww(d)(5)(F)(i)(I), calculated using the hospital’s “Medicare fraction.” ...

Taggart v. Lorenzen
Docket Number: 18-489
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: June 3, 2019

Justia Opinion Summary: Taggart owned an interest in an Oregon company. That company and its other owners (respondents) sued, claiming that Taggart had breached the company’s operating agreement. Before trial, Taggart filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. ...

Mont v. United States
Docket Number: 17-8995
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: June 3, 2019

Justia Opinion Summary: Mont had a five-year federal term of supervised release, scheduled to end on March 6, 2017. In June 2016, he was arrested on state drug trafficking charges. In October 2016, Mont pleaded guilty to state charges. He then admitted ...

Nieves v. Bartlett
Docket Number: 17-1174
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: May 28, 2019

Justia Opinion Summary: Bartlett was arrested for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest during a winter sports festival held in Alaska. Officer Nieves claimed he was speaking with a group when a seemingly-intoxicated Bartlett started shouting ...

Box v. Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, Inc.
Docket Number: 18-483
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: May 28, 2019

Justia Opinion Summary: New Indiana law altered the manner in which abortion providers may dispose of fetal remains. It excluded fetal remains from the definition of infectious and pathological waste, thereby preventing incineration of fetal remains ...

Home Depot U.S.A., Inc. v. Jackson
Docket Number: 17-1471
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: May 28, 2019

Justia Opinion Summary: Citibank filed a state court debt-collection action, alleging that Jackson was liable for charges incurred on a Home Depot credit card. Jackson responded by filing third-party class-action claims against Home Depot and another, ...

Smith v. Berryhill
Docket Number: 17-1606
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: May 28, 2019

Justia Opinion Summary: The Social Security Act permits judicial review of “any final decision . . . after a hearing” by the Social Security Administration (SSA), 42 U.S.C. 405(g). Claimants for Title XVI supplemental security income disability ...

Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp. v. Albrecht
Docket Number: 17-290
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: May 20, 2019

Justia Opinion Summary: Merck’s drug Fosamax treats and prevents osteoporosis in postmenopausal women. When the FDA approved Fosamax in 1995 (21 U.S.C. 355(d)), its label did not warn of the then-speculative risk of atypical femoral fractures ...

Mission Product Holdings, Inc. v. Tempnology, LLC
Docket Number: 17-1657
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: May 20, 2019

Justia Opinion Summary: Tempnology licensed Mission to use Tempnology’s trademarks in connection with the distribution of clothing. Tempnology filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and sought to reject its agreement with Mission as an “executory contract” ...

Herrera v. Wyoming
Docket Number: 17-532
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: May 20, 2019

Justia Opinion Summary: An 1868 treaty between the United States and the Crow Tribe promised that in exchange for the Tribe’s territory in modern-day Montana and Wyoming, its members would “have the right to hunt on the unoccupied lands of the ...

Cochise Consultancy, Inc. v. United States
Docket Number: 18-315
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: May 13, 2019

Justia Opinion Summary: The False Claims Act permits a private person (relator) to bring a qui tam civil action in the name of the Federal] Government, 31 U.S.C. 3730(b), against any person who “knowingly presents . . . a false or fraudulent claim ...

Apple, Inc. v. Pepper
Docket Number: 17-204
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: May 13, 2019

Justia Opinion Summary: Apple sells iPhone applications (apps) directly to iPhone owners through its App Store—the only place where iPhone owners may lawfully buy apps. Most apps are created by independent developers under contracts with Apple. ...

Franchise Tax Board of California v. Hyatt
Docket Number: 17-1299
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: May 13, 2019

Justia Opinion Summary: Hyatt sued the Franchise Tax Board of California in Nevada state court for alleged torts committed during a tax audit. The Supreme Court affirmed the Nevada Supreme Court, holding that the Full Faith and Credit Clause did ...

Thacker v. Tennesse Valley Authority
Docket Number: 17-1201
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: April 29, 2019

Justia Opinion Summary: The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), a government-owned corporation that provides electric power to millions of Americans, may “sue and be sued" in its corporate name; 16 U.S.C. 831c(b), waives some of the sovereign immunity ...

Lamps Plus, Inc. v. Varela
Docket Number: 17-988
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: April 24, 2019

Justia Opinion Summary: In 2016, a hacker tricked an employee into disclosing tax information of about 1,300 Lamps employees. After a fraudulent federal income tax return was filed in the name of Varela, he filed a putative class action on behalf ...

Emulex Corp. v. Varjabedian
Docket Number: 18-459
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: April 23, 2019
Biestek v. Berryhill
Docket Number: 17-1184
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: April 1, 2019

Justia Opinion Summary: Biestek, a former construction worker, applied for social security disability benefits, claiming he could no longer work due to physical and mental disabilities. To determine whether Biestek could successfully transition ...

Bucklew v. Precythe
Docket Number: 17-8151
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: April 1, 2019

Justia Opinion Summary: Under the Supreme Court’s “Baze-Glossip” test, a state’s refusal to alter its execution protocol can violate the Eighth Amendment only if an inmate identifies a “feasible, readily implemented” alternative procedure ...

Lorenzo v. Securities and Exchange Commission
Docket Number: 17-1077
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: March 27, 2019

Justia Opinion Summary: SEC Rule 10b–5 makes it unlawful to (a) “employ any device, scheme, or artifice to defraud,” (b) “make any untrue statement of a material fact,” or (c) “engage in any act, practice, or course of business” that ...

Sturgeon v. Frost
Docket Number: 17-949
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: March 26, 2019

Justia Opinion Summary: The Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) set aside 104 million acres of federally-owned land for preservation, creating 10 new national parks, monuments, and preserves (units), 16 U.S.C. 3102(4). In establishing ...

Republic of Sudan v. Harrison
Docket Number: 16-1094
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: March 26, 2019

Justia Opinion Summary: The Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act generally immunizes foreign states from suit in the United States unless an exception applies, 28 U.S.C. 1604. If an exception applies, the Act provides subject-matter jurisdiction in ...

Frank v. Gaos
Docket Number: 17-961
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: March 20, 2019

Justia Opinion Summary: Plaintiffs brought class action claims against Google, claiming violations of the Stored Communications Act; they alleged that when an Internet user conducted a Google search and clicked on a hyperlink listed on the search ...

Obduskey v. McCarthy & Holthus LLP
Docket Number: 17-1307
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: March 20, 2019

Justia Opinion Summary: The McCarthy law firm was hired to carry out a nonjudicial foreclosure on Obduskey’s Colorado home. Obduskey invoked the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) provision, 15 U.S.C. 1692g(b), providing that if a consumer ...

Nielsen v. Preap
Docket Number: 16-1363
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: March 19, 2019

Justia Opinion Summary: Under 8 U.S.C. 1226(a), the Secretary of Homeland Security generally has the discretion to arrest and hold a deportable alien pending a removal decision or to release the alien on bond or parole. Section 1226(c), enacted ...

Washington State Department of Licensing v. Cougar Den, Inc.
Docket Number: 16-1498
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: March 19, 2019

Justia Opinion Summary: The State of Washington taxes “motor vehicle fuel importer[s]” who bring large quantities of fuel into the state by “ground transportation,” Wash. Code 82.36.010(4), (12), (16). Cougar, a wholesale fuel importer owned ...

Air & Liquid Systems Corp. v. DeVries
Docket Number: 17-1104
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: March 19, 2019

Justia Opinion Summary: Manufacturers produced equipment for three Navy ships. The equipment required asbestos insulation or asbestos parts to function as intended, but the manufacturers did not always incorporate the asbestos into their products, ...

Fourth Estate Public Benefit Corp. v. Wall-Street.com, LLC
Docket Number: 17-571
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: March 4, 2019

Justia Opinion Summary: Fourth Estate, a news organization that licensed works to Wall-Street.com, a news website. sued Wall-Street for copyright infringement of articles that Wall-Street failed to remove from its website after canceling the license ...

BNSF Railway Co. v. Loos
Docket Number: 17-1042
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: March 4, 2019

Justia Opinion Summary: Loos sued BNSF under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act for injuries he received while working at BNSF’s railyard. A jury awarded him $126,212.78, ascribing $30,000 to lost wages. BNSF asserted that the lost wages constituted ...

Rimini Street, Inc. v. Oracle USA, Inc.
Docket Number: 17-1625
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: March 4, 2019

Justia Opinion Summary: A jury awarded Oracle damages after finding that Rimini had infringed Oracle copyrights. The court awarded Oracle fees and costs, including $12.8 million for litigation expenses such as expert witnesses, e-discovery, and ...

Garza v. Idaho
Docket Number: 17-1026
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: February 27, 2019

Justia Opinion Summary: Garza signed plea agreements arising from state criminal charges, each containing a waiver of the right to appeal. Shortly after sentencing, Garza told his attorney that he wished to appeal. Counsel declined. After the time ...

Jam v. International Finance Corp.
Docket Number: 17-1011
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: February 27, 2019

Justia Opinion Summary: The 1945 International Organizations Immunities Act (IOIA) grants international organizations the “same immunity from suit . . . as is enjoyed by foreign governments,” 22 U.S.C. 288a(b). At that time, foreign governments ...

Madison v. Alabama
Docket Number: 17-7505
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: February 27, 2019

Justia Opinion Summary: In “Ford” the Supreme Court held that the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishments precludes executing a prisoner who has “lost his sanity” after sentencing; in “Panetti,” the Court prohibited ...

Nutraceutical Corp. v. Lambert
Docket Number: 17-1094
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: February 26, 2019

Justia Opinion Summary: Lambert filed a class action, alleging that Nutraceutical’s marketing of a dietary supplement violated California consumer-protection law. On February 20, 2015, the district court decertified the class. Under Federal Rule ...

Yovino v. Rizo
Docket Number: 18-272
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: February 25, 2019

Justia Opinion Summary: A Ninth Circuit judge, the Honorable Stephen Reinhardt, died on March 29, 2018. The court listed Judge Reinhardt as the author of an en banc decision issued on April 9, 2018. Counting his vote made Judge Reinhardt’s opinion ...

Timbs v. Indiana
Docket Number: 17-1091
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: February 20, 2019

Justia Opinion Summary: Timbs pleaded guilty in Indiana state court to dealing in a controlled substance and conspiracy to commit theft. The police seized a Land Rover SUV Timbs had purchased with money he received from an insurance policy when ...

Dawson v. Steager
Docket Number: 17-419
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: February 20, 2019

Justia Opinion Summary: After Dawson retired from the U.S. Marshals, his home state, West Virginia, taxed his federal pension benefits as it does all former federal employees. The pension benefits of certain former state and local law enforcement ...

Moore v. Texas
Docket Number: 18-443
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: February 19, 2019

Justia Opinion Summary: In 2015, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals held that Moore did not have an intellectual disability and was eligible for the death penalty. The Supreme Court vacated the decision. The appeals court reconsidered but reached ...

Helsinn Healthcare S. A. v. Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc.
Docket Number: 17-1229
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: January 22, 2019

Justia Opinion Summary: Helsinn makes a treatment for chemotherapy-induced nausea using the chemical palonosetron. While developing that product, Helsinn granted another company the right to market a 0.25 mg dose of palonosetron in the United States; ...

Stokeling v. United States
Docket Number: 17-5554
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: January 15, 2019

Justia Opinion Summary: Stokeling pleaded guilty to possessing a firearm and ammunition after having been convicted of a felony, 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(1). The probation office recommended the mandatory minimum 15-year prison term that the Armed Career ...

New Prime Inc. v. Oliveira
Docket Number: 17-340
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: January 15, 2019

Justia Opinion Summary: Oliveira is a driver for a trucking company, under an agreement that calls him an independent contractor and contains a mandatory arbitration provision. Oliveira filed a class action alleging that the company denies its drivers ...

Henry Schein, Inc. v. Archer & White Sales, Inc.
Docket Number: 17-1272
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: January 8, 2019

Justia Opinion Summary: Archer sued Schein, alleging violations of federal and state antitrust law and seeking both money damages and injunctive relief. The contract between the parties provided for arbitration of any dispute arising under or related ...

Culbertson v. Berryhill
Docket Number: 17-773
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: January 8, 2019

Justia Opinion Summary: For representation in administrative proceedings, the Social Security Act provides that if a fee agreement exists, fees are capped at the lesser of 25% of past-due benefits or a set dollar amount—currently $6,000, 42 U.S.C. ...

Shoop v. Hill
Docket Number: 18-56
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: January 7, 2019

Justia Opinion Summary: The Sixth Circuit held that Hill, who was sentenced to death in 1986, was entitled to habeas relief under 28 U.S.C. 2254(d)(1) because the decisions of the Ohio courts concluding that he is not intellectually disabled were ...

City of Escondido v. Emmons
Docket Number: 17-1660
Court: US Supreme Court
Date: January 7, 2019

Justia Opinion Summary: In April 2013, Escondido police responded to a 911 call from Emmons about domestic violence at the apartment where she lived with her husband, her children, and a roommate, Douglas. The officers arrested her husband. He was ...