United States Supreme Court

Opinions Filed in 2014

January 7 summaries

Daimler AG v. Bauman

Petitioner is not answerable to a suit in California for injuries which occurred outside of the United States.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

Mississippi ex rel. Hood v. AU Optronics Corp.

A suit filed by a State on behalf of the State and their citizens where the State is the only named party in the suit does not constitute a “mass action” under the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

Ray Haluch Gravel Co. v. Central Pension Fund of Operating Engineers and Participating Employers

A judgment on the merits is final even if the amount or award of attorneys' fees is still pending.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Attorney Fees

Medtronic, Inc. v. Merowski Family Ventures, LLC

The burden of persuasion in a declaratory judgment action stemming from a patent infringement suit is on the patentee.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

Air Wisconsin Airlines Corp. v. Hoeper

Under the Aviation and Transportation Security Act (ATSA), immunity is not granted when airlines and their employees provide materially false disclosures about suspicious behavior.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Qualified Immunity

Burrage v. United States

A drug distributed by a defendant must be the "but-for" cause of death or serious injury before that defendant can be liable under the Controlled Substances Act’s penalty enhancement provision.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Sentencing

Sandifer v United States Steel Corporation

The time spent putting on protective gear before work qualifies as "changing clothes" under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Labor Law

February 5 summaries

Fernandez v. California

An objecting occupant does not have the Fourth Amendment right to suspend all searches of a residence when another occupant consents to the search. The objecting occupant must be at the residence to assert their Fourth Amendment right.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

Kaley v. United States

A criminal defendant who is indicted does not have the constitutional right to challenge a grand jury's finding of probable cause.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

Walden v. Fiore

The drafting of a false affidavit of probable cause in Georgia which concerned property owned by Nevada residents was insufficient to establish the "minimum contacts" necessary for a Nevada court to exercise personal jurisdiction over a Georgia defendant.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

Chadbourne & Parke LLP v. Troice

The Securities Litigation Uniform Standards Act of 1998 does not preclude the Respondents' state-law class actions alleging that the Petitioners assisted in carrying out a Ponzi scheme by alleging that the uncovered securities that plaintiffs purchased were protected by covered securities.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

United States v. Apel

For 18 U.S.C. § 1382 purposes, a military installation includes the commanding officer's area of responsibility.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Property Law

March 8 summaries

Lawson v. FMR LLC

The whistleblower protection provision of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act shelters employees of private contractors and subcontractors.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Employment Law

Law v. Siegel

Bankruptcy courts may only disallow statutory exemptions if permitted by statute, and lack any statutory or inherent power to directly or indirectly disallow exemptions by contradicting specific statutes.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Bankruptcy Law

BG Group plc v. Argentina

When a United States court reviews an arbitration award under the Treaty, the provisions of the arbitration and award should be examined under the principles of contract law.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Arbitration

Lozano v. Montoya Alvarez

Equitable tolling is unavailable under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction even when the child's whereabouts is concealed.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Family Law

Rosemond v. United States

A defendant is guilty of aiding and abetting under §924(c) when the defendant actively participates in the commission of a crime, and when the defendant has advance knowledge that a gun will be used in a crime.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Law

Marvin M. Brandt Revocable Trust v United States

The right of way granted under the Right-of-Way Act of 1875 is an easement and thus, when abandoned by the Railroad, the easement is terminated.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Property Law

United States v. Quality Stores, Inc., Et. al.

Severance payments are taxable wages under the Federal Insurance Contributions Act.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Tax Law

United States v. James Alvin Castleman

A conviction for misdemeanor domestic assault by intentionally or knowingly causing bodily injury to a parent of his/her child qualifies as a conviction for a "misdemeanor crime of domestic violence."

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Law

April 9 summaries

McCutcheon et al v. Federal Election Commission

The aggregate limit provision of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971(as amended by the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002) that put limits on how much total money a contributor can donate to all federal candidates violates First Amendment protection for political expression and political association.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Election Law

Northwest, Inc. v. Ginsberg

The Airline Deregulation Act of 1978 preempts state common law provisions that expand the scope of the contract rights between airlines and air passengers.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Preemption

Navarette v. California

An anonymous call can provide officers with reasonable suspicion to make an investigatory stop of a person driving under the influence when the caller has a sufficient eyewitness basis of knowledge.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration and Immigration Rights and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary (BAMN)

Michigan's constitutional amendment banning discrimination on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in public employment, education, and contracting is upheld.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

Paroline v. United States

Restitution for victims of child pornography is proper under §2259, and determined on a case-by-case basis, compensating victims to the extend that the defendant proximately caused the victim's losses.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Remedies

White v. Woodall

For a federal court to grant habeas corpus relief to a defendant, the previous state court's decision must involve an objectively unreasonable application of established federal law.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Sentencing

Environmental Protection Agency v. EME Homer City Generation

The Environmental Protection Agency's interpretation of the Clean Air Act and the regulations promulgated in furtherance of that act are reasonable and subject to deference.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Administrative Law

Highmark Inc. v. Allcare Health Management System, Inc.

An appellate court should review all aspects of a district court’s §285 determination for abuse of discretion only.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Appellate Procedure

Octane Fitness, LLC. v. ICON Health & Fitness, Inc.

The Brooks Furniture framework is unduly rigid and inconsistent with the statutory text of 35 U.S.C. § 285.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Patents

May 9 summaries

Robers v. United States

When the "property" covered by The Mandatory Victims Restitution Act is money used to acquire collateral, the value of the collateral at the time of sale must be used in determining the offset.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Sentencing

Tolan v. Cotton

When ruling on a motion for summary judgment in cases dealing with qualified immunity, courts must weigh the evidence and all justifiable inferences in the nonmoving party’s favor.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Qualified Immunity

Town of Greece, New York v. Galloway, et al.

There is no violation of the First Amendment's Establishment Clause when a town meeting is opened with a prayer, given the precedence in legislative history.

Area(s) of Law:
  • First Amendment

Petrella v. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc.

Where Congress has provided a statute of limitations under Section 507(b) of the Copyright Act, the defense of laches is only available in extraordinary circumstances.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

Hall v. Florida

An IQ threshold requirement, which bars a defendant from presenting intellectual disability evidence, is unconstitutional when that requirement disregards established medical practice, ignores inherent imprecision of an IQ test, and is inconsistent with the majority of the States’ legislation.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Sentencing

Martinez v. Illinois

Jeopardy attaches when a jury is empanelled and sworn, thus a not-guilty verdict cannot be appealed without subjecting a defendant to double jeopardy.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

Michigan v. Bay Mills Indian Community

The Indian Gambling Regulatory Act does not abrogate tribal sovereign immunity when gaming activities are conducted off of Indian land.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Tribal Law

Plumhoff v. Rickard

(1) A party may immediately appeal the denial of a summary judgment motion when it is based on a qualified immunity claim. (2) Qualified immunity applies to officials sued under § 1983 unless the claimant shows that the official violated a “clearly established” statutory or constitutional right.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Qualified Immunity

Wood v. Moss

There is no "clearly established" law that ensures that groups with different viewpoints are positioned similarly when presidential safety is at issue.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Qualified Immunity

June 24 summaries

Bond v. United States

18 U.S.C. §229(a) does not reach crimes like simple assault due to state sovereignty.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Law

Limelight Networks, Inc v. Akamai Technologies, Inc.

A defendant is not liable for inducing patent infringement when there has been no direct infringement upon the patent.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Patents

Nautilus, Inc. v. Biosig Instruments, Inc.

A patent’s indefiniteness renders it invalid if its claims fail to inform skilled artisans about the scope of the invention with reasonable certainty.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Patents

CTS Corp. v. Waldburger

Section 9658 of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 preempts state statutes of limitations, but does not preempt state statutes of repose.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

Executive Benefits Insurance Agency v. Arkison

When hearing a Stern claim — certain "core" bankruptcy claims over which bankruptcy courts lack the power to grant final adjudications — bankruptcy courts may issue proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law for district courts to review de novo.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Bankruptcy Law

Scialabba v. Cuellar de Osorio, et. al.

The Board of Immigration Appeals interpretation of the Child Status Protection Act (CSPA), which limits the automatic conversion of visa priority dates of visa petition derivative beneficiaries upon aging out, is reasonable as the Board is entitled to Chevron deference.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Immigration

Clark v. Rameker

Funds contained in an inherited individual retirement account are not considered “retirement funds” for purposes of the bankruptcy exemption.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Bankruptcy Law

POM Wonderful LLC v. Coca-Cola Co.

When a federal statute, such as the Lanham Act, is complementary with a federal statute, such as the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, and neither explicitly provide otherwise, there is no preclusion.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Administrative Law

Abramski v. United States

Misrepresentations on Question 11.a on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives form 4473 for gun ownership are material to violating §922(a)(6), lawful sale of a gun.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Law

Republic of Argentina v. NML Capital, Ltd.

The Federal Sovereign Immunities Act does not protect sovereign debtors against postjudgment discovery.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Sovereign Immunity

Susan B. Anthony List v. Driehaus

When determining if a party meets Article III standing requirements, a credible threat of enforcement meets the injury in fact portion of the standing requirements.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

Alice Corporation PTY. LTD. v. CLS Bank International et al.

When a patent is drawn to an abstract idea, the idea is not eligible for patent protection.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Patents

Lane v. Franks

Truthful subpoenaed testimony by public employees is protected speech under the First Amendment and government officials are entitled to qualified immunity for violating statutory or constitutional rights that are not clearly established.

Area(s) of Law:
  • First Amendment

United States v. Clarke

A taxpayer has the right to challenge the Internal Revenue Service’s reasons for issuing a summons when that taxpayer offers credible evidence to support a plausible charge.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Tax Law

Halliburton Co. et al. v. Erica P. John Fund, Inc., FKA Archdiocese of Milwaukee Supporting Fund, Inc.

When investors can prove their reliance on a business' misrepresentation in determining whether to buy or sell company stock, investors can recover damages in a private securities fraud action.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Corporations

Loughrin v. United States

18 U.S.C. §1344(2) does not require the government to prove that a defendant intended to defraud a financial institution.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Law

Utility Air Regulatory Group v. Environmental Protection Agency et al.

EPA cannot treat greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act as a pollutant, unless the source is required to obtain a permit because it emits other pollutants.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Environmental Law

American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. v. Aereo, Inc.

Under the language and purpose of the Copyright Act of 1976, contemporaneous transmission of broadcast television signals over the Internet are public performances whenever the signals are made available to the public.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Copyright

Fifth Third Bancorp v. Dudenhoeffer

There is no "presumption of prudence" for an Employee Stock Ownership Plan fiduciary; they are subject only to the duty of prudence that applies to all ERISA fiduciaries in general, with the exception of the diversification requirement.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Corporations

Riley v. California

Police may not search an arrested individual’s cell phone data without a warrant.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

McCullen v. Coakley

Banning the presence of all but an exempt few from the area around the entrances to reproductive health facilities unconstitutionally burdens the public's First Amendment rights.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

National Labor Relations Board v. Noel Canning et al.

When there is a vacancy, the Recess Appointment Clause enables the President to appoint an officer to the vacancy if the Senate is in recess, but not when the Senate is not officially adjourned.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.

The contraceptive coverage mandate of the Affordable Care Act substantially burdens a closely held corporation's free exercise of religion under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Area(s) of Law:
  • First Amendment

Harris v. Quinn

The First Amendment prohibits collecting an agency fee from non-public employees who do not support or wish to join a union.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law

July 1 summary

Williams v. Johnson

The appropriate standard of review when a state court overlooks a federal claim is the standard set forth in 28 § U.S.C. 2254(d).

Area(s) of Law:
  • Habeas Corpus

August 0 summaries

September 0 summaries

October 1 summary

Lopez v. Smith

Under 28 U.S.C. §2254(d), a federal court may grant habeas relief to a state prisoner only if the state court’s decision was contrary to established Federal law, as determined by the United States Supreme Court.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Habeas Corpus

November 3 summaries

Carroll v. Carman

Government officials retain qualified immunity unless “existing precedent [ . . . ] placed the statutory or constitutional question beyond debate.”

Area(s) of Law:
  • Qualified Immunity

Johnson v. City of Shelby

Where a constitutional claim is levied directly against a municipality, there is no heightened pleading rule which requires plaintiffs seeking damages for civil rights violations to expressly invoke 42 U.S.C. §1983 in their complaint.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Rights § 1983

Glebe v. Frost

A limitation on closing argument is not a structural error, warranting automatic reversal, but rather allows the possibility that such a limitation is subject to harmless error review.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Appellate Procedure

December 5 summaries

Integrity Staffing Solutions, Inc. v. Busk

Time spent in post-work security screenings, and waiting in line for those screenings, is not compensable under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Labor Law

Warger v. Shauers

Federal Rule of Evidence 606(b) precludes a party seeking a new trial from using one juror's affidavit of what another juror said in deliberations to demonstrate that the other juror was dishonest during jury selection.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Evidence

Dart Cherokee Basin Operating Company, LLC v. Owens

A defendant's notice of removal only needs to include a plausible allegation that the amount in controversy is more than the jurisdictional threshold; it does not need to contain evidentiary submissions.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Civil Procedure

Heien v North Carolina

A stop initiated by an Officer's reasonable mistake of law is not a violation of the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Criminal Procedure

United States v. State of California

The fifth supplemental decree of United States v. California pursuant to the Submerged Lands Act is granted.

Area(s) of Law:
  • Constitutional Law