Willamette Law Online

United States Supreme Court Certiorari Granted

2012 United States Supreme Court Certiorari Granted Opinions

( 4 summaries )


Florida v. Jardines

Criminal Procedure: Whether a trained narcotics detection dog's sniff at a suspected grow house's front door is a Fourth Amendment search requiring probable cause.

(Filing Date: 01-06-2012)

Johnson v. Williams

Habeas Corpus: (1)Whether a habeas petitioner's claim has been “adjudicated on the merits” for purposes of 28 U.S.C. § 2254(d); and (2) whether, under § 2254, a federal habeas court (a) may grant relief on the ground that the petitioner had a Sixth Amendment right to retain a biased juror on the panel and (b) may reject a state court’s finding of juror bias because it disagrees with the finding and the reasons stated for it, even where the finding was rationally supported by evidence in the state-court record.

(Filing Date: 01-17-2012)

Kloeckner v. Solis

Administrative Law: Whether the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has sole subject matter jurisdiction over an appeal from a ruling by the Merit Systems Protection Board when the case includes both discrimination and unlawful termination claims.

(Filing Date: 01-17-2012)

United States v. Bormes

Sovereign Immunity: Whether the Little Tucker Act (LTA), 28 U.S.C. § 1346(a)(2), waives sovereign immunity of the United States with respect to damages actions for violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), 15 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq.

(Filing Date: 01-17-2012)

( 5 summaries )


Sandifer v. United States Steel Corp.

Employment Law: Whether donning and doffing safety clothing falls within the meaning of “changing clothes” in Section 203(o) of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

(Filing Date: 02-19-2012)

Fisher v. University of Texas

Constitutional Law: Whether including race as a factor in determining undergraduate admissions was a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment.

(Filing Date: 02-21-2012)

Lozman v. The City of Riviera Beach, Florida

Admiralty: Whether a floating structure that is indefinitely moored, receives power and other utilities from shore, and is not intended to be used in maritime transportation or commerce, constitutes a “vessel” under 1 U.S.C. § 3, thus triggering federal maritime jurisdiction.

(Filing Date: 02-21-2012)

Taniguchi v. Kan Pacific Saipan

Civil Procedure: (Whether an award of costs for interpretation includes costs for translation of documents.)

(Filing Date: 02-21-2012)

Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co.

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, like any other private party, a corporation may be held liable under the ATS for committing a tort, such as torture or genocide, in violation of the law of nations, or whether it is immune from liability.

(Filing Date: 02-28-2012)

( 3 summaries )


Ryan v. Gonzalez

Habeas Corpus: Whether an indigent death row inmate is entitled to stay the federal habeas proceedings he initiated if he is not competent to assist counsel.

(Filing Date: 03-19-2012)

Tibbals v. Carter

Habeas Corpus: Whether a prisoner who has been sentenced to death has a "right to competence" and if so whether a federal court may stay habeas proceedings indefinitely.

(Filing Date: 03-19-2012)

Florida v. Harris

Criminal Procedure: Whether an alert by a narcotics detection dog is sufficient to establish probable cause to search a vehicle.

(Filing Date: 03-26-2012)

( 4 summaries )


Arkansas Game & Fish Commission v. United States

Constitutional Law: Whether a physical invasion must be permanent in order to constitute a taking under the Fifth Amendment.

(Filing Date: 04-02-2012)

Moncrieffe v. Holder

Immigration: Whether the government bears the burden of proving a defendant was convicted of a drug trafficking charge that would constitute a federal felony in order to justify removal as an aggravated felon under 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1).

(Filing Date: 04-02-2012)

Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Copyright: Whether the Copyright Act's "first sale doctrine" freely permits resale of foreign works legally purchased overseas and imported into the United States as the Third Circuit has held, or if such works can only be resold after the copyright holder explicitly approves the sale as the Second Circuit has held, or if they can only be resold after the copyright holder approves an earlier sale as the Ninth Circuit has held.

(Filing Date: 04-16-2012)

Chaidez v. United States

Criminal Procedure: Whether the rule announced in Padilla v. Kentucky—that an attorney provides ineffective assistance of counsel in violation of the Sixth Amendment by failing to inform a criminal defendant that a guilty plea carries a risk of deportation—applies retroactively to persons whose convictions were already final.

(Filing Date: 04-30-2012)

( 2 summaries )


Clapper v. Amnesty Int'l USA

Standing: Whether a belief that legislation might result in future injury coupled with the funds expended in an effort to prevent that future injury is sufficient to meet the injury in fact requirement for Article III standing.

(Filing Date: 05-21-2012)

Marx v. General Revenue Corp.

Civil Procedure: Whether (1) a facsimile from a debt collection agency to a third party regarding a consumer's employment information constitutes a communication and is therefore in violation of the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA) and (2) the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure permitting award of costs to a prevailing party is superseded by the cost provision of the FDCPA.

(Filing Date: 05-29-2012)

( 15 summaries )


Bailey v. United States

Criminal Procedure: Whether Michigan v. Summers, 452 U.S. 692 (1981) allows police officers executing a search warrant to detain an individual who left the premises before the warrant was executed.

(Filing Date: 06-04-2012)

Amgen Inc. v. Connecticut Retirement Plans and Trust Funds

Civil Procedure: Whether a court must require proof of materiality or allow evidence rebutting the applicability of the fraud-on-the-market theory before certifying a class based on that theory.

(Filing Date: 06-11-2012)

Evans v. Michigan

Constitutional Law: Whether an erroneously granted directed verdict, based on the prosecution’s failure to prove a non-existent element of the crime is an acquittal subject to the double-jeopardy provisions of the United States and state constitutions.

(Filing Date: 06-11-2012)

Smith v. United States

Criminal Law: Whether the defendant bears the burden of proving withdrawal from a conspiracy or whether the burden shifts to the government once the defendant meets the burden of production to show withdrawal from the conspiracy.

(Filing Date: 06-18-2012)

Already, LLC v. Nike, Inc.

Constitutional Law: Whether a covenant not to sue deprives a defendant of a counterclaim due to loss of Article III subject matter jurisdiction since there is no case or controversy for the court to rule on.

(Filing Date: 06-25-2012)

American Tradition Partnership v. Bullock

Constitutional Law: A state ban on independent political expenditures from corporate general treasuries unduly burdens First Amendment rights.

(Filing Date: 06-25-2012)

Comcast Corp. v. Behrend

: Whether district courts may certify class actions without first resolving whether the class has introduced admissible evidence—including expert testimony—to establish the case is susceptible to an award of damages on a class-wide basis in satisfaction of the predominance requirements of Fed. R. Civ. P. 23.

(Filing Date: 06-25-2012)

FTC v. Phoebe Putney Health System, Inc.

Corporations: (1) Whether the Georgia legislature “clearly articulated and affirmatively expressed [a] state policy to displace competition” when it vested powers to acquire and lease hospitals; if so (2) whether such policy is sufficient to validate anticompetitive conduct given minimal state involvement with a leased hospital.

(Filing Date: 06-25-2012)

Genesis HealthCare Corp. v. Symczyk

Constitutional Law: Whether Article III’s Case or Controversy Clause moots an action when the plaintiff receives an offer that satisfies all of plaintiff's claims.

(Filing Date: 06-25-2012)

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

Environmental Law: Whether the Ninth Circuit erred when it rejected the EPA’s position that runoff from forest roads does not require a permit and mandated that the EPA regulate such runoff as industrial stormwater subject to the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES).

(Filing Date: 06-25-2012)

Henderson v. United States

Criminal Procedure: Whether an error can be "plain error” under Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 52(b), when a law that was previously unsettled becomes settled during subsequent appeal.

(Filing Date: 06-25-2012)

Los Angeles County Flood Control District v. Natural Resources Defense Council

Environmental Law: Whether water that flows from one point in a navigable waterway, through a man-made channel, and back into the same river, can be considered a "discharge" from an "outfall" under the Clean Water Act.

(Filing Date: 06-25-2012)

Sebelius v. Auburn Regional Medical Center

Civil Procedure: Whether the 180-day statutory time limit for filing an appeal with the Provider Reimbursement Review Board from a final Medicare payment determination made by the PRRB is subject to equitable tolling.

(Filing Date: 06-25-2012)

US Airways, Inc. v. McCutchen

Employment Law: Whether § 502(a)(3) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) authorizes courts to use equitable principles to rewrite contractual language and refuse to order participants to reimburse their plan for benefits paid even when the plan’s terms give it an absolute right to full reimbursement.

(Filing Date: 06-25-2012)

Vance v. Ball State University

Employment Law: Whether "supervisor" liability under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 applies to harassment by individuals the employer has vested with authority to direct and oversee alleged victims’ work, or is limited to individuals who are empowered to “hire, fire, demote, promote, transfer, or discipline” the alleged victim.

(Filing Date: 06-25-2012)

( 9 summaries )


Chafin v. Chafin

Standing: Whether an appeal of a ruling on a petition for Return of Children under the Hague Convention becomes moot when the child at issue returns to his or her own country of habitual residence.

(Filing Date: 08-13-2012)

The Standard Fire Insurance Co. v. Knowles

Civil Procedure: Whether a class action plaintiff's stipulation limiting damages to below the federal amount in controversy threshold, made to defeat defendant's right of removal under the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005, is binding on absent class members.

(Filing Date: 08-31-2012)

Descamps v. United States

Sentencing: Whether a state conviction under a modified statute that is missing an element of the generic crime may be used to enhance sentencing under the Armed Career Criminal Act.

(Filing Date: 09-06-2012)

Delia v. E.M.A.

Preemption: Whether the Medicaid Act’s anti-lien provision preempts a North Carolina statute allowing the Department of Health and Human Services to place liens on settlement proceeds.

(Filing Date: 09-25-2012)

Gabelli v. Securities and Exchange Commission

Civil Procedure: Whether the five-year limitations period under 28 U.S.C. § 2462 is calculated from the date of the underlying infraction or from when the government actually—or should have—discovered the fraud when there are no additional legislative controlling provisions.

(Filing Date: 09-25-2012)

Levin v. United States

Tort Law: Whether the United States and individual military personnel acting within the scope of their employment can be sued for the common law tort of battery.

(Filing Date: 09-25-2012)

Maracich v. Spears

Professional Responsibility: Whether lawyers may use personal information protected by the Driver's Privacy Protection Act to investigate and solicit potential clients for a class action litigation or whether such use falls outside the permissible scope of the litigation exception.

(Filing Date: 09-25-2012)

Millbrook v. United States

Tort Law: Whether 28 U.S.C. §§1346(b) and 2680(h) waive the sovereign immunity of the United States for intentional torts committed by prison guards who are acting within the scope of their employment but are not exercising authority to "execute searches, to seize evidence or to make arrests for violations of Federal law."

(Filing Date: 09-25-2012)

Missouri v. McNeely

Criminal Procedure: Whether evidence obtained by a nonconsensual and warrantless blood sample from a drunk driver is admissible under the exigent circumstances exception to the Fourth Amendment warrant requirement based upon the natural dissipation of alcohol in the bloodstream.

(Filing Date: 09-25-2012)

( 12 summaries )


Alleyne v. United States

Sentencing: Whether Harris v. United States, which held that the Constitution does not require facts which increase a mandatory minimum sentence to be determined by a jury, should be overruled.

(Filing Date: 10-05-2012)

Bowman v. Monsanto

Patents: Whether patents on seeds containing self-replicating technology are exhausted after an authorized sale.

(Filing Date: 10-05-2012)

Boyer v. Louisiana

Constitutional Law: Whether a five-year delay due to a state funding crisis for indigent defendants counts against the state for speedy trial purposes.

(Filing Date: 10-05-2012)

Cable, Telecommunications, and Technology Committee v. FCC

Administrative Law: Whether a Chevron analysis is appropriate for reviewing an administrative agency's interpretation of its own jurisdiction.

(Filing Date: 10-05-2012)

Gunn v. Minton

Civil Procedure: Whether federal courts possess exclusive subject-matter jurisdiction over state-based legal malpractice claims that require application of federal patent law.

(Filing Date: 10-05-2012)

Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Mgmt.

Property Law: Whether an "exactions taking" occurs under the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution when the government actor does not compel dedication of any interest in the real property to the public use, and when the alleged exaction consists of imposition of a monetary obligation as a condition of permit issuance but the permit is never issued.

(Filing Date: 10-05-2012)

McBurney v. Young

Constitutional Law: Whether the Virginia Freedom of Information Act, which limits the right of access to public documents to Virginia citizens, violates the Constitution's Privileges and Immunities and dormant commerce clauses.

(Filing Date: 10-05-2012)

Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council

Preemption: (1) Whether the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit erred when it applied a heightened preemption test under the Elections Clause instead of applying the more traditional preemption analysis under the Supremacy Clause; and (2) whether the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit erred in holding that the National Voter Registration Act preempted an Arizona law requiring proof of eligibility to register to vote.

(Filing Date: 10-15-2012)

Bullock v. BankChampaign

Bankruptcy Law: Whether §523(a)(4) of the Bankruptcy Code requires a showing of “extreme recklessness” or merely “objective recklessness” to constitute defalcation.

(Filing Date: 10-29-2012)

McQuiggin v. Perkins

Habeas Corpus: Whether a prisoner claiming actual innocence when petitioning for a writ of habeas corpus must do so with "reasonable diligence."

(Filing Date: 10-29-2012)

PPL Corp. v. CIR

Tax Law: Whether courts should apply a formalistic or substance-based approach when determining the creditability of foreign tax credits.

(Filing Date: 10-29-2012)

Trevino v. Thaler

Habeas Corpus: Whether a state court procedural defect acts to bar a federal habeas court from hearing a substantial claim of ineffective assistance at trial.

(Filing Date: 10-29-2012)

( 8 summaries )


American Exp. Co. v. Italian Colors Restaurant

Arbitration: Whether the Federal Arbitration Act allows a court to invalidate an arbitration agreement which prohibits class arbitration of a federal statutory claim.

(Filing Date: 11-09-2012)

Maryland v. King

Constitutional Law: Whether the Fourth Amendment allows states to collect and analyze DNA from persons arrested for violent crimes who have been charged but not convicted.

(Filing Date: 11-09-2012)

Peugh v. United States

Sentencing: Whether a court violates the Constitution's ex post facto clause by retroactively applying current sentencing guidelines to past crimes when the result is a harsher sentence.

(Filing Date: 11-09-2012)

Shelby County, Ala. v. Holder

Constitutional Law: "Whether Congress' decision in 2006 to reauthorize Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act under the pre-existing coverage formula of Section 4(b) of the Voting Rights Act exceeded its authority under the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments and thus violated the Tenth Amendment and Article IV of the United States Constitution."

(Filing Date: 11-09-2012)

Horne v. U.S. Dept. of Agriculture

Constitutional Law: Whether a party may bring a Fifth Amendment Just Compensation Clause challenge in district court prior to exhausting the statutorily prescribed process for obtaining just compensation through the Court of Federal Claims.

(Filing Date: 11-20-2012)

Sebelius v. Cloer

Attorney Fees: Whether a person who untimely files a claim under the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program is eligible for an award of attorneys’ fees when the claim was brought in good faith and with a reasonable basis.

(Filing Date: 11-20-2012)

Ass’n for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, Inc.

Patents: Whether human genes are patentable.

(Filing Date: 11-30-2012)

Mutual Pharmaceutical Co. v. Bartlett

Preemption: Whether federal law preempts state law design-defect claims against generic drug manufacturers.

(Filing Date: 11-30-2012)

( 5 summaries )


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

Preemption: Whether the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act preempts state law on the manner by which a towing company can collect debts secured by a lien.

(Filing Date: 12-07-2012)

Hollingsworth v. Perry

Constitutional Law: Whether it is a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment for a state to use the ballot initiative process to ban marriage between same-sex couples.

(Filing Date: 12-07-2012)

Oxford Health Plans, LLC v. Sutter

Arbitration: Whether an arbitrator acts within his powers under the Federal Arbitration Act or exceeds those powers when allowing class arbitration based solely on parties’ use of broad contractual language in an arbitration agreement.

(Filing Date: 12-07-2012)

United States v. Windsor

Constitutional Law: Whether section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) violates the Fifth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause by defining marriage as "only a legal union between one man and one woman."

(Filing Date: 12-07-2012)

FTC v. Watson Pharmaceuticals

Patents: Whether reverse-payment agreements between brand-name and generic drug manufacturers are per se lawful or presumptively anticompetative and unlawful.

(Filing Date: 12-19-2012)