Willamette Law Online

United States Supreme Court

Opinions Filed in 2011

( 18 summaries )

October

Setser v. United States

Sentencing: Whether a federal district court properly ordered a federal sentence to run consecutively to a not-yet-imposed state sentence.

(Filing Date: 05-11-2010)

Douglas v. Indep. Living Center Of S. Ca; Douglas v. Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital

Preemption: Whether Medicaid recipients and providers maintain a cause of action under the Supremacy Clause to enforce certain provisions of the Medicaid Act.

(Filing Date: 10-03-2011)

Reynolds v. United States

Standing: Whether standing may be established under plain reading of the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) to challenge an interim rule applying the statute retroactively to parties who committed the offense prior to the statute’s enactment.

(Filing Date: 10-03-2011)

Howes v. Fields

Criminal Procedure: Whether police are required to issue Miranda warnings to an incarcerated prisoner during a criminal investigation of an unrelated offense.

(Filing Date: 10-04-2011)

Maples v. Thomas

Criminal Procedure: Whether there is “cause” to excuse a procedural default where petitioner is blameless for the default, the state's own conduct contributed to the default, and petitioner's attorneys of record were no longer functioning as his agents at the time of any default.

(Filing Date: 10-04-2011)

Martinez v. Ryan

Criminal Procedure: Whether a state criminal defendant has a federal constitutional right to effective assistance of counsel on the first post-conviction relief (PCR) appeal that regards an ineffective assistance of counsel claim when state law prohibits raising a direct appeal for ineffective assistance of trial counsel but has a state-law right to raise such a claim in a first post-conviction proceeding.

(Filing Date: 10-04-2011)

Golan v. Holder

First Amendment: Whether the Copyright Clause and the First Amendment prohibit Congress from removing works that were previously placed in the public domain.

(Filing Date: 10-05-2011)

Hosanna-Tabor Church v. EEOC

Employment Law: Whether the ministerial exception to employment law litigation applies to an employee of a religious organization whose job duties include secular and religious activities.

(Filing Date: 10-05-2011)

CompuCredit Corp. v. Greenwood

Contract Law: (Whether the Credit Repair Organization Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1679 creates a non-waivable right that prevents the enforcement of an arbitration clause.)

(Filing Date: 10-11-2011)

Greene v. Fisher

Habeas Corpus: Whether a Supreme Court decision announced after a state intermediate court's decision, but before a state supreme court’s denial of discretionary review qualifies as “clearly established Federal law” under 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d).

(Filing Date: 10-11-2011)

Pacific Operators Offshore v. Valladolid

Tort Law: (Whether an offshore oil worker injured at an onshore processing site falls under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act and the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act.)

(Filing Date: 10-11-2011)

Florence v. Board of Chosen Freeholders of the County of Burlington

Criminal Procedure: (Whether the Fourth Amendment permits a jail to conduct a strip search of individual's arrested for civil contempt.)

(Filing Date: 10-12-2011)

Judulang v. Holder

Immigration: (Whether a lawful permanent resident convicted of an offense that renders him deportable and excludeable under different statutory subsections, but did not depart or reenter the United States after conviction, is categorically foreclosed from seeking discretionary relief under former Section § 212(c) of the Immigration and Nationalty Act)

(Filing Date: 10-12-2011)

Elgin v. Department of the Treasury

Employment Law: Whether the Civil Service Reform Act (CSRA) prevents Federal District Courts from having jurisdiction over constitutional challenges to employment dismissals under the Military Selective Services Act (MSSA).

(Filing Date: 10-17-2011)

Kobel v. Dutch Petroleum

Corporations: (1) Whether the question of corporate civil tort liability under the Alien Tort Statute (“ATS”), 28 U.S.C. §1350, is a question of merits or one of subject matter jurisdiction; and (2) whether a corporation may be held liable for a tort committed in violation of the law of nations, such as torture or genocide, under the ATS like any other private party defendant or whether they are immune from such liability.

(Filing Date: 10-17-2011)

Cavazos v. Smith

Habeas Corpus: HABEAS CORPUS (Certiorari granted and the judgment of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cavazos v. Smith is reversed)

(Filing Date: 10-31-2011)

Lafler v. Cooper

Post-Conviction Relief: Whether a defendant is entitled to federal habeas relief based on ineffective assistance of counsel when counsel provided objectively unreasonable advice that caused the defendant to reject a plea deal, and, if so, whether the appropriate remedy is a court order that the State either offer specific performance of the rejected deal or release the defendant from custody.

(Filing Date: 10-31-2011)

Missouri v. Frye

Post-Conviction Relief: Whether trial counsel’s failure to disclose an offer made during plea negotiations to his client amounts to ineffective assistance of counsel when the defendant later pled guilty and was sentenced to less favorable terms.

(Filing Date: 10-31-2011)

( 21 summaries )

November

Minneci v. Pollard

Constitutional Law: Bivens Actions: Whether a federal inmate who has adequate remedies under state law may bring a Bivens action against employees of a private corrections company that contracts with the federal government for prison services.

(Filing Date: 11-01-2011)

Rehberg v. Paulk

Civil Procedure: Whether a government official is entitled to absolutely immunity from a section 1983 claim for damages when their false testimony to a grand jury caused the prosecution of an innocent individual.

(Filing Date: 11-01-2011)

Gonzalez v. Thaler

Habeas Corpus: Whether the AEDPA’s one-year statute of limitations for an application for writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2254 should be calculated based on “the date on which the judgment became final” as held by the 8th Circuit or “the expiration of the time for seeking such review” as held by the 5th Circuit.

(Filing Date: 11-02-2011)

Perry v. New Hampshire

Evidence: Whether a defendant may exclude eyewitness identification stemming from impermissibly suggestive circumstances, regardless of improper state conduct related to that identification, based on the protections of due process.

(Filing Date: 11-02-2011)

Bobby v. Dixon

Criminal Procedure: Antiterrrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA) provides that a state prisoner seeking a writ of habeas corpus from a federal court “must show that the state court’s ruling on the claim being presented in federal court was so lacking in justification that there was an error well understood and comprehended in existing law beyond any possibility for fairminded disagreement.”

(Filing Date: 11-07-2011)

Jackson v. Hobbs

Criminal Law: Whether sentencing a fourteen year old to life imprisonment without possibility of parole after being convicted of aggravated murder constitutes cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment.

(Filing Date: 11-07-2011)

Kawashima v. Holder

Immigration: Whether petitioners' convictions for tax crimes constituted aggravated felonies under 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(43)(M)(i), and thus subjected them to deportation under 8 U.S.C. § 1227(a)(2)(A)(iii).

(Filing Date: 11-07-2011)

KPMG LLP v. Robert Cocchi et al.

Alternative Dispute Resolution: When a complaint contains both arbitrable and nonarbitrable claims, the Federal Arbitration Act requires courts to compel arbitration of the arbitrable claims.

(Filing Date: 11-07-2011)

Magner v. Gallagher

Criminal Law: Discrimination: (Whether a disparate impact claim may be brought under the Fair Housing Act (FHA) and, if so, what approach should the Court use to analyze such a claim.)

(Filing Date: 11-07-2011)

Miller v. Alabama

Criminal Law: Whether a sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole is cruel and usual punishment under the Eighth Amendment when the offender was fourteen years old at the time of the criminal action.

(Filing Date: 11-07-2011)

Zivotofsky v. Clinton

Constitutional Law: (1) Whether a suit requiring a federal court to order the State Department to adhere to a Congressional statute requiring official government documents identify Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is a justiciable issue, (2) Whether Section 214 of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Year 2003, impermissibly infringes the President's power to recognize foreign sovereigns.

(Filing Date: 11-07-2011)

Greene v. Fisher

Habeas Corpus: (For the purpose of adjudicating a state prisoner’s petition for federal habeas relief, the temporal cutoff for whether a decision from the Supreme Court qualifies as “clearly established Federal law” is the time of the relevant state-court adjudication on the merits.)

(Filing Date: 11-08-2011)

Smith v. Cain

Criminal Procedure: Whether Louisiana state courts erred when they rejected petitioner's Brady v. Maryland claims that the district attorney failed to produce evidence favorable to the accused and thus violated his due process rights.

(Filing Date: 11-08-2011)

U.S. v. Jones

Criminal Procedure: Whether the government violated respondent’s Fourth Amendment rights by attaching a GPS tracking device to his vehicle and monitoring his movements on public streets without a valid warrant and without his consent.

(Filing Date: 11-08-2011)

Kurns v. Railroad Friction Products Corp

Preemption: Whether the Locomotive Inspection Act (“LIA”), which regulates the “use” of a locomotive on a railroad line 49 U.S.C. § 20701, preempts the field of state common-law product liability claims by workers injured in railroad maintenance facilities.

(Filing Date: 11-09-2011)

Nat’l Meat Ass’n v. Harris

Preemption: PREEMPTION (Whether federal regulations authorized by the Federal Meat Inspection Act (21 U.S.C. § 601, et seq.) that require slaughterhouses to hold nonambulatory animals for observation for evidence of disease preempts a state law that requires such animals be immediately killed.)

(Filing Date: 11-09-2011)

First American Financial Corp. v. Edwards

Standing: Whether a private purchaser of real estate settlement services has Article III standing to sue for a RESPA violation when that violation does not affect the price or the quality of the services provided.

(Filing Date: 11-28-2011)

Mims v. Arrow Financial Services, LLC

Civil Procedure: Whether Congress divested federal district courts of federal-question jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331 with respect to private actions brought under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, 47 U.S.C. § 227.

(Filing Date: 11-28-2011)

Vasquez v. United States

Evidence: Whether it is reversible error in a criminal case for a trial court to admit recordings of a conversation for the truth of the matter where the witness admits the point on which the government seeks to establish bias, where a logical inference is necessary to establish an inconsistent statement, and where the statements otherwise constitute inadmissible hearsay.

(Filing Date: 11-28-2011)

Credit Suisse Securities v. Simmonds

Civil Procedure: Whether the two year statute of limitations in section 16(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 is subject to tolling, and if so, when does tolling begin.

(Filing Date: 11-29-2011)

Hall v. United States

Bankruptcy Law: Whether a debtor must pay federal income tax on capital gains from the sale of their farm during bankruptcy proceedings.

(Filing Date: 11-29-2011)

( 9 summaries )

December

Caraco v. Novo Nordisk

Administrative Law: Whether the provision in the Hatch-Waxman Act allowing generic drug manufacturers to “counterclaim” and seek an FDA order requiring changes by the patent holder applies to (1) approved methods of use of the drug and (2) corrections to the patent’s scope.

(Filing Date: 12-05-2011)

Messerschmidt v. Millender

Criminal Procedure: 1. Whether police officers are entitled to qualified immunity when they obtained a facially valid warrant but failed to find that for which they were searching. 2. Whether the Malley/Leon standards for excluding evidence in a criminal proceeding or imposing civil liability under 42 U.S.C. §1983 should be reconsidered or clarified.

(Filing Date: 12-05-2011)

Reichle v. Howards

Constitutional Law: ((1): Whether the existence of probable cause to make an arrest bars a First Amendment retaliatory arrest claim; and (2): Whether Secret Service agents should receive qualified and absolute immunity when making split second decisions when protecting the Vice President or the President).

(Filing Date: 12-05-2011)

Martel v. Clair

Habeas Corpus: Whether a condemned state prisoner in a federal habeas proceeding is entitled to replace his court appointed attorney with another court appointed attorney based on his dissatisfaction with the initial attorney's performance.

(Filing Date: 12-06-2011)

Williams v. Illinois

Evidence: Whether a state violates a criminal defendant's constitutional right to be confronted with the witnesses against him when it allows an expert to testify about DNA reports prepared by analysts who do not appear at trial.

(Filing Date: 12-06-2011)

Mayo v. Prometheus Laboratories, Inc

Patents: Whether the correlation between blood test results and patient health is patentable.

(Filing Date: 12-07-2011)

PPL Montana v. Montana

Constitutional Law: (Whether the constitutional test for determining if a river is navigable for title purposes requires an inquiry into whether the stretch in controversy was navigable at the time that the State joined the Union or whether the appropriate test is whether the river as a whole is navigable based on present day use)

(Filing Date: 12-07-2011)

Hardy v. Cross

Habeas Corpus: Certiorari granted and the judgment of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Cross v. Hardy is reversed.

(Filing Date: 12-12-2011)

Judulang v. Holder

Immigration: The BIA’s policy for applying §212(c) in deportation cases is “arbitrary and capricious” under the Administrative Procedures Act.

(Filing Date: 12-12-2011)