Willamette Law Online

United States Supreme Court

Opinions Filed in 2013

( 6 summaries )


Los Angeles County Flood Control Dist. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc.

Environmental Law: The flow of polluted river water through concrete channels and back into the same river does not constitute a "discharge of pollutants" under the Clean Water Act.

(Filing Date: 01-08-2013)

Ryan v. Gonzales & Tibbals v. Carter v. Solis

Habeas Corpus: State prisoners have no right to a stay of their record-based habeas proceedings when they are adjudged incompetent.

(Filing Date: 01-08-2013)

Already, LLC v Nike, Inc.

Standing: Broad language to "unconditionally and irrevocably" prohibit suit, claim or demand meets the burden of the voluntary cessation test and therefore ends any actual case or controversy necessary for Article III standing.

(Filing Date: 01-09-2013)

Smith v. United States

Criminal Law: A defendant—not the government—has the burden of proving withdrawal from a conspiracy.

(Filing Date: 01-09-2013)

Lozman v. Riviera Beach

Admiralty: The test for whether a floating structure is a vessel is “[whether] a reasonable observer, looking to the home’s physical characteristics and activities, would consider it designed to a practical degree for carrying people or things over water.”

(Filing Date: 01-15-2013)

Sebelius v. Auburn Regional Medical Center

Administrative Law: Because the 180-day period within which a healthcare provider must appeal a fiscal intermediary’s initial decision on the amount for which the provider is to be reimbursed for inpatient services rendered to Medicare beneficiaries under 42 U. S. C. §1395oo(a)(3) is not “jurisdictional” it was permissible for the Secretary of Health and Human Services to allow a regulation extending the time for a provider’s appeal to three years and the presumption in favor of equitable tolling is not applicable.

(Filing Date: 01-22-2013)

( 14 summaries )


Clapper v. Amnesty International USA

Standing: Neither the possibility of future injury nor the choice to spend money to minimize the possibility of future injury is sufficient to “satisfy the well-established requirement that threatened injury must be ‘certainly impending.’”

(Filing Date: 02-26-2012)

Bailey v. United States

Criminal Procedure: The rule in Michigan v. Summers, 452 U. S. 692, which permits officers executing a search warrant to “detain the occupants of the premises while a proper search is conducted” is limited to the immediate vicinity of the premises to be searched.

(Filing Date: 02-19-2013)

Chafin v. Chafin

Constitutional Law: The return of a child to a foreign country under an International Convention return order does not render an appeal of that order moot.

(Filing Date: 02-19-2013)

Florida v. Harris

Criminal Procedure: A court should find probable cause for a search based on a narcotics detection dog’s alert when the State produces proof that the dog is reliable at detecting drugs in a controlled setting and the defendant fails to contest that showing.

(Filing Date: 02-19-2013)

FTC v. Phoebe Putney Health System, Inc.

Antitrust: Since Georgia has not clearly articulated and affirmatively expressed a policy in which hospital authorities can substantially lessen competition by acquiring additional hospitals, state-action immunity does not apply to the hospital authorities.

(Filing Date: 02-19-2013)

McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission

First Amendment: Whether the aggregate individual political contribution limit imposed by the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 is an unconstitutional burden on would-be contributors’ First Amendment rights.

(Filing Date: 02-19-2013)

Chaidez v. United States

Post-Conviction Relief: A defendant cannot benefit from a new rule when her conviction became final prior to the new rule’s enactment.

(Filing Date: 02-20-2013)

Evans v. Michigan

Constitutional Law: The Double Jeopardy Clause bars retrial after an acquittal regardless of whether the acquittal was erroneous.

(Filing Date: 02-20-2013)

Gunn v. Minton

Civil Procedure: "[S]tate legal malpractice claims based on underlying patent matters will rarely, if ever, arise under federal patent law for purposes of 28 U.S.C. §1338(a)."

(Filing Date: 02-20-2013)

Henderson v. United States

Criminal Procedure: A trial court's decision is "plain error" under Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 52(b) if the error is plain at the time of appellate review, even when the law was unsettled at the time of error.

(Filing Date: 02-20-2013)

Johnson v. Williams

Habeas Corpus: When a state court addresses some of the claims raised on appeal but does not expressly address a federal claim that is later raised in habeas proceedings, there is a rebuttable presumption that the state court decided the federal claim on its merits.

(Filing Date: 02-20-2013)

Marx v. General Revenue Corp.

Civil Procedure: Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(d)(1)—which allows a court to award costs to a prevailing party "[u]nless a federal statute . . . provides otherwise"—is not displaced by the “bad faith” provision of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act because the provision is not "contrary" to the Rule.

(Filing Date: 02-26-2013)

Amgen Inc. v. Connecticut Retirement Plans and Trust Funds

Civil Procedure: Securities fraud plaintiffs who seek to certify a class action need not actually prove material misrepresentation to meet the predominance requirement of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(b)(3) at the class certification stage, but need only show the predominance of a common question of material misrepresentation invoked by the fraud-on-the-market rebuttable presumption.

(Filing Date: 02-27-2013)

Gabelli v. SEC

Securities Law: In a securities action brought by the SEC, the statute of limitations begins to run on the date the allegedly fraudulent action occurred not the date it was discovered.

(Filing Date: 02-27-2013)

( 8 summaries )


Levin v. United States

Tort Law: The Gonzalez Act abrogates the Federal Tort Claim Act's sovereign immunity exception for intentional tort claims against medical doctors, therefore intentional tort claims against armed forces medical personnel acting within the scope of their employment are permissible.

(Filing Date: 03-04-2013)

Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Copyright: The Copyright Act's "first sale" doctrine permits resale of foreign works legally manufactured and legitimately acquired abroad and imported to the United States without requiring the copyright holder's permission.

(Filing Date: 03-19-2013)

Standard Fire Insurance Co. v. Knowles

Civil Procedure: Federal court jurisdiction under the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 is not determined based on a stipulation made prior to class-action certification that the plaintiffs will not seek damages above the statutory threshold because the stipulation is not binding on nonparty members.

(Filing Date: 03-19-2013)

Decker v. Northwest Environmental Defense Center & Georgia-Pacific West, Inc. v. Northwest Environmental Defense Center

Environmental Law: The EPA should be afforded deference in its interpretation of the Industrial Stormwater Rule (40 CFR §122.26(b)(14)), that stormwater discharges channeled through man-made ditches are “natural runoff” and the ditches are not “point sources” of pollution that require National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits.

(Filing Date: 03-20-2013)

Wos v. E.M.A.

Preemption: North Carolina’s statute requiring that up to one-third of any damages recovered by a Medicaid beneficiary for a tortious injury be paid to the State to reimburse it for payments it made for medical treatment on account of the injury is conflict-preempted by 42 U.S.C §1396p(a)(1) which prohibits States from attaching a lien on the property of a Medicaid beneficiary to recover benefits paid by the State on the beneficiary’s behalf.

(Filing Date: 03-20-2013)

Florida v. Jardines

Criminal Procedure: The “use of trained police dogs to investigate [a] home and its immediate surroundings is a ‘search’ within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment.”

(Filing Date: 03-26-2013)

Comcast Corp. v. Behrend

Civil Procedure: Before a court may certify a class, a party must demonstrate damages on a classwide basis to satisfy the predominance requirement of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23.

(Filing Date: 03-27-2013)

Millbrook v. United States

Tort Law: Under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) the law enforcement proviso in 28 U.S.C. §2680(h) for intentional torts extends to officers’ acts or omissions arising within the scope of their duty and is not limited to conduct during an arrest, search, or seizure.

(Filing Date: 03-27-2013)

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(Filing Date: )

Marshall v. Rodgers

Constitutional Law: The “conclusion of the California courts that there was no Sixth Amendment violation is not contrary to 'clearly established Federal law', as determined by the Supreme Court of the United States," 28 U.S.C. §2254(d).

(Filing Date: 04-01-2013)

Genesis Healthcare Corp. v. Symcyzk

Civil Procedure: A collective action to recover damages is not justiciable if the sole plaintiff's individual claim becomes moot.

(Filing Date: 04-16-2013)

U.S. Airways, Inc. v. McCutchen

Employment Law: The Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) does not authorize courts to use equitable principles to rewrite contractual language.

(Filing Date: 04-16-2013)

Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum

Civil Law: The presumption against extraterritoriality applies to claims under the Alien Tort Statute (ATS), which precludes civil claims for torts arising outside the jurisdiction of the United States.

(Filing Date: 04-17-2013)

Missouri v. McNeely

Criminal Procedure: In the context of alcohol-related driving investigations, the Fourth Amendment requires officers to obtain consent or a warrant before proceeding with a blood alcohol content test unless truly exigent circumstances exist.

(Filing Date: 04-17-2013)

Moncrieffe v. Holder

Immigration: A charge of aggravated, felonious distribution of marijuana cannot be leveled against a non-citizen when there is a failure to establish remuneration or if the amount of marijuana is small.

(Filing Date: 04-23-2013)

McBurney v. Young

Constitutional Law: Virginia's Freedom of Information Act does not violate the Privileges and Immunity Clause or the dormant Commerce Clause by granting Virginia citizens access to public records, but grants no such right to non-Virginians.

(Filing Date: 04-29-2013)

( 9 summaries )


Bowman v. Monsanto Co.

Patents: The Patent Exhaustion Doctrine does not apply when the buyer reproduces the patented product. This includes "self-replicating products" where the item's intended use will create copies that have "non-replicating" uses.

(Filing Date: 05-13-2013)

Bullock v. BankChampaign, N.A.

Bankruptcy Law: Under Bankruptcy Code 11 U.S.C §523(a)(4) the term “defalcation” includes a mental culpability requirement of knowingly or gross recklessness in regard to improper fiduciary behavior.

(Filing Date: 05-13-2013)

Dan's City Used Cars, Inc. v. Pelkey

Preemption: The Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act of 1994 does not preempt state-law claims arising from the storage and disposal of towed vehicles.

(Filing Date: 05-13-2013)

City of Arlington v. FCC

Administrative Law: Courts must apply the Chevron framework to an agency interpretation of a statutory ambiguity that concerns the scope of the agency’s statutory authority.

(Filing Date: 05-20-2013)

Metrish v. Lancaster

Constitutional Law: Federal habeas relief will only be granted if a state court, in rejecting a due process claim, unreasonably applied a clearly established Federal law.

(Filing Date: 05-20-2013)

PPL Corp. v. Commissioner

Tax Law: "The United Kingdom 'windfall tax' is creditable under IRS code §901."

(Filing Date: 05-20-2013)

Sebelius v. Cloer

Attorney Fees: A claim under the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act (NCVIA), even if untimely, may qualify for an award of attorney’s fees so long as there is good faith and a reasonable basis for the claim.

(Filing Date: 05-20-2013)

McQuiggin v. Perkins

Criminal Procedure: A federal habeas petition can overcome the time limits set forth in the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 if actual innocence is proven.

(Filing Date: 05-28-2013)

Trevino v. Thaler

Habeas Corpus: The "good cause" exception recognized in Martinez v. Ryan applies if a state's procedural framework limits any meaningful opportunity to raise a claim on direct appeal that trial counsel provided ineffective assistance.

(Filing Date: 05-28-2013)

( 30 summaries )


Hillman v. Maretta

Preemption: "The Federal Employees’ Group Life Insurance Act (FEGLIA), which establishes a life insurance program for federal employees, allows an employee to designate a beneficiary to receive the proceeds of the policy when the employee dies. FEGLIA preempts a Virginia law which provides that, when a married couple is divorced, the divorced spouses are no longer the beneficiaries of each other’s life insurance policies."

(Filing Date: 06-03-2013)

Maryland v. King

Criminal Procedure: A DNA cheek swab may be taken from a suspect of a serious crime whose arrest is supported by probable cause. The taking and analyzing of a DNA cheek swab is a legitimate police booking procedure that is considered reasonable under the Fourth Amendment.

(Filing Date: 06-03-2013)

Nevada v. Jackson

Evidence: The exclusion of extrinsic evidence relating to prior acts of a witness is not a violation of the constitutional right to present a complete defense.

(Filing Date: 06-03-2013)

Horne v. Department of Agriculture

Constitutional Law: A fine for a violation of an agricultural marketing order must not be paid prior to filing a “takings” claim.

(Filing Date: 06-10-2013)

Oxford Health Plans LLC v. Sutter

Arbitration: So long as an arbitrator makes a good faith attempt to interpret a contract, the arbitrator’s determination survives judicial review.

(Filing Date: 06-10-2013)

Peugh v United States

Sentencing: A change in the sentencing guidelines after the date of the crime, which are then used to sentence an individual, is a violation of the Ex Post Facto clause.

(Filing Date: 06-10-2013)

American Trucking Association, Inc. v. City of Los Angeles

Preemption: The Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act of 1994 (FAAAA) preempts state or local government regulations requiring a placard with a driving safety contact phone number and an off-street parking plan for trucks not in service.

(Filing Date: 06-13-2013)

Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, Inc.

Patents: A naturally occurring segment of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is not patent eligible under 35 U. S. C. §101. However, Non-natural occurring segments are patent eligible.

(Filing Date: 06-13-2013)

Tarrant Regional Water District v. Herrmann

Water Rights: In the absence of express language creating cross-border rights to water located entirely within one state, the Red River compact does not preempt Oklahoma state water statutes from discriminating against out of state takers. The dormant Commerce Clause is not violated by Oklahoma's water statutes even though they have a discriminatory effect on the interstate commerce of water.

(Filing Date: 06-13-2013)

United States v. Davila

Criminal Procedure: A plea cannot be vacated for an error under Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 11(h) unless the the error results in prejudice to the defendant's decision to plead guilty.

(Filing Date: 06-13-2013)

Alleyne v United States

Criminal Law: "Elemental" facts must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt by the jury and any fact that raises the prescribed sentencing is "elemental".

(Filing Date: 06-17-2013)

Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council of Ariz.

Preemption: "Evidence-of-citizenship requirements, as applied to federal applicants, is preempted by the National Voter Registration Act’s mandate that States “accept and use” the Federal Form."

(Filing Date: 06-17-2013)

Federal Trade Commission v. Actavis, Inc., Et. Al.

Patents: Reverse payment agreements, while not per se illegal, are subject to a "rule of reason" in determining their anti-competitive effect in an anti-trust action.

(Filing Date: 06-17-2013)

Maracich v. Spears

Civil Law: "An attorney’s solicitation of clients is not a permissible purpose covered by the Driver's Privacy Protection Act 18 U. S. C. § 2721 (b)(4) litigation exception."

(Filing Date: 06-17-2013)

Salinas v. Texas

Criminal Procedure: Noncustodial witnesses must verbally assert their Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination for it to have effect. Silence from a noncustodial witness does not imply that the witness asserts their privilege against self-incrimination even when the witness's silence is in reliance of their privilege against self-incrimination.

(Filing Date: 06-17-2013)

Agency for Int’l Development v. Alliance for Open Society Int’l, Inc.

First Amendment: The First Amendment does not allow for a policy that compels affirmation of a belief to be a condition for federal funding.

(Filing Date: 06-20-2013)

American Express Co. v. Italian Colors Restaurant

Arbitration: A contractual waiver of class arbitration is enforceable under the Federal Arbitration Act when the cost of individual arbitration of federal claim exceeds the potential recovery.

(Filing Date: 06-20-2013)

Descamps v. United States

Sentencing: A court may not use the modified categorical approach when considering a defendant's conviction under an indivisible statue that is broader than the generic offense.

(Filing Date: 06-20-2013)

Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin

Constitutional Law: The Fifth Circuit erred by not applying strict scrutiny as articulated in Grutter and Regents of Univ. of Cal. v. Bakke, 438 U. S. 265.

(Filing Date: 06-24-2013)

Mutual Pharmaceutical Co. v. Bartlett

Preemption: State-law design-defect claims that turn on the adequacy of a drug’s warnings are pre-empted by federal law.

(Filing Date: 06-24-2013)

Ryan v. Schad

Appellate Procedure: Staying the issuance of the Ninth Circuit’s mandate based on its reconsidering a motion it had already denied, conflicts with Bell v. Thompson. The Ninth Circuit erred by applying Martinez rather than Pinholster.

(Filing Date: 06-24-2013)

United States v. Kebodeaux

Constitutional Law: The Necessary and Proper Clause grants Congress the power to enact the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA).

(Filing Date: 06-24-2013)

University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center v Nassar

Employment Law: Title VII retaliation claims must be proved according to traditional principles of but-for causation.

(Filing Date: 06-24-2013)

Vance v. Ball State University

Employment Law: Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 a “supervisor” is a person that has the power to take “tangible employment action” against the harassment victim.

(Filing Date: 06-24-2013)

Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl

Indian Law: Under the the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), neither §1912(f) nor §1912(d) bars the termination of parental rights.

(Filing Date: 06-25-2013)

Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Management District

Property Law: The Fifth Amendment requires that the government follow the Nollan/Dolan requirement when demanding property from a land-use permit applicant even when the permit is denied.

(Filing Date: 06-25-2013)

Shelby County v. Holder

Constitutional Law: Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1973 et seq., is unconstitutional and its formula can no longer be used for subjecting jurisdictions to pre-clearance.

(Filing Date: 06-25-2013)

Hollingsworth v. Perry

Standing: Official proponents of a ballot measure do not have a “personal stake” in the enforcement of the measure after the measure has been passed and enacted into law. Also, official proponents of ballot measures do not have a particularized interest sufficient to cause a case or controversy under Article III of the United States Constitution.

(Filing Date: 06-26-2013)

Sekhar v. United States

Property Law: Attempting to compel a person to recommend that his employer approve an investment does not constitute “the obtaining of property from another” under the Hobbs Act.

(Filing Date: 06-26-2013)

United States v. Windsor

Constitutional Law: Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutionally violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fifth Amendment.

(Filing Date: 06-26-2013)

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Stanton v. Sims

Criminal Procedure: A police officer is entitled to qualified immunity, even if a search of a home is unconstitutional, when in pursuit of a fleeing suspect; irrespective of whether the offense is a misdemeanor or felony.

(Filing Date: 11-04-2013)

Burt v. Titlow

Constitutional Law: "The Sixth Circuit failed to apply the "double differential" standard of review recognized by the Court's case law when it refused to credit the state court's reasonable factual finding and assumed that counsel was ineffective where the record was silent."

(Filing Date: 11-05-2013)

( 5 summaries )


Atlantic Marine Construction Co. v. United States District Court for the Western District of Texas

Civil Procedure: When there is a valid forum selection clause, a district court should alter its analysis of a 28 U.S.C. §1404(a) motion to consider if the party defying the forum selection clause can show extraordinary circumstances unrelated to convenience; the court should not consider the parties private interest; and the transfer of venue will not carry the original venue’s choice-of-law.

(Filing Date: 12-03-2013)

United States v. Woods

Tax Law: The District Court had jurisdiction to decide whether a partnerships' lack of economic substance justified a valuation-misstatement penalty on the partners.

(Filing Date: 12-03-2013)

Sprint Communications Inc. v. Jacobs

Civil Procedure: Abstention in civil cases invoking Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37 in federal courts extends only to the three “exceptional circumstances” determined in New Orleans Public Services Inc. v. Council of City of New Orleans, 491 U.S. 350.

(Filing Date: 12-10-2013)

Kansas v. Cheever

Criminal Procedure: The rule in Buchanan v. Kentucky that the state does not violate a defendant’s privilege against self-incrimination when it offers psychological expert testimony derived from the defendant’s statements during a court-ordered psychiatric evaluation for the limited purpose of rebutting a defendant’s “mental status” defense.

(Filing Date: 12-11-2013)

Heimeshoff v. Hartford Life & Accident Insurance Co. and Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

Employment Law: Participants in an employee benefit plan covered by ERISA may contract to a specific limitation period so long as the period is reasonable and no contrary controlling statute exists.

(Filing Date: 12-16-2013)