Courts Litigation

U.S. Supreme Court.  June 29, 2015.

High Court's Fault Lines Crisscross

By Marcia Coyle and Tony Mauro |

The 10th term of the Roberts Court made history by recognizing same-sex couples' right to marry. But that and other surprising liberal victories revealed deep divisions among the justices — not just between the left and right sides of the bench, but often within the court's conservative wing.

<b>MILITARY MONDAYS:</b> A veteran confers with counselors at a Starbucks in Virginia.

Law Clinics Answer the Call

By Karen Sloan |

The number of law school clinics and pro bono projects addressing veterans' unmet legal needs has exploded.

Veteran Conley Monk, left, with Sen. Richard Blumenthal and Yale graduate Jennifer McTiernan.

Yale Helps PTSD Sufferers

Students in Yale Law School's then-new Veterans Benefits Clinic were conducting client intake in 2010 when they met a Vietnam War veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder who had left the military with an "other-than-honorable" discharge. Since then, Yale students have encountered enough Vietnam vets with PTSD to warrant a closer look at the problem.

Hip-Device Plaintiffs Hope for Better Luck in LA Trial

By Amanda Bronstad |

Plaintiffs lawyers suing hip-implant manufacturer Zimmer Holdings Inc. hope the third time’s the charm as they prepare for another trial next week.

Fire boat response crews battle the blazing remnants of the off shore oil rig Deepwater Horizon April 21, 2010.

BP Reaches Record $18.7B Deal With Feds, States Over Oil Spill

By Zoe Tillman |

BP PLC has agreed to pay more than $18.7 billion to resolve civil claims with the federal government and five Gulf states related to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Amtrak.  Union Station, Washington, D.C.  May 13, 2015.

Railroads Challenge New Massachusetts Sick-Leave Law

By Sheri Qualters |

Amtrak and other rail carriers sued Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey in Boston federal court on Wednesday, arguing that federal railroad and other laws pre-empt the state’s new sick-leave requirement.

Judge May Trim Damages in ‘Blurred Lines’ Infringement

By Amanda Bronstad |

A federal judge has tentatively upheld a nearly $7.4 million jury verdict in the copyright battle over the hit song “Blurred Lines” but plans to reduce the damages amount.

Teresa Manning.

Second Jury Sides With Iowa Law on Political-Bias Claims

By Karen Sloan |

For the second time, a federal jury in Iowa has rejected claims that officials at the University of Iowa College of Law discriminated against a former part-time legal writing instructor because of her conservative views.

Michael Carvin, of Jones Day, addressing the media outside the U.S. Supreme Court on the day he argued for the plaintiffs in King v. Burwell, regarding the government's Affordable Care Act subsidies.  March 4, 2015.

Justices Take California Union-Fees Case

By Marcia Coyle |

Raising the stakes in the new term beginning in October, the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday added a potential union-breaking challenge to its docket along with important securities and redistricting cases.

Bert Rein of Wiley Rein, who represented Abigail Fisher (right) in Fisher v University of Texas, addresses the media after arguments in the U.S. Supreme Court in October 2012.

University of Texas Affirmative Action Policy Returns to Supreme Court's Docket

By Tony Mauro |

It is once more into the breach for Bert Rein of Wiley Rein as the U.S. Supreme Court decided Monday to review for a second time the race-conscious aspects of University of Texas admission policies that Rein claims violate the Constitution.

Anti-death penalty activists hold a four day liquid-only fast and vigil to mark the anniversaries of the 1972 <i>Furman</i> and 1976 <i>Gregg</i> Supreme Court decisions involving the death penalty. The vigil, organized by the Abolitionist Action Committee, coincided with court's last public session of the current term when the opinion in <i>Glossip v. Gross</i> was expected to be announced. June 29, 2015.

Positions Harden on High Court over Capital Punishment

By Marcia Coyle |

Twenty-five years have passed since two justices who were unalterably opposed to the death penalty sat on the U.S. Supreme Court together. On Monday, Justices Stephen Breyer and Ruth Bader Ginsburg indicated they were ready to step into the shoes of the late William Brennan Jr. and Thurgood Marshall in a controversy over a lethal-injection drug.

Supreme Court Tells EPA To Consider Costs of Pollution Regulations

By Tony Mauro |

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has fared well before the U.S. Supreme Court in recent Clean Air Act cases. But the streak ended Monday when the justices ruled that the EPA must consider the cost to industry in regulating mercury emissions from factories and coal plants.

Demonstrators outside the U.S. Supreme Court moments before the court announced its opinion in the same-sex marriage case Obergefell v Hodges.  June 26, 2015.

Marriage Ruling Historic, But Not Final Word on Gay Rights

By Marcia Coyle and Tony Mauro |

The U.S. Supreme Court's historic decision recognizing same-sex couples' fundamental right to marriage was a major leap, but not the final legal step in ending discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people, legal scholars and other observers said.

U.S. Department of Justice.

Nevada Judge Rebuked for Blocking D.C.-Based DOJ Lawyers

By Zoe Tillman |

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that U.S. District Judge Robert Jones needed a better reason to deny admission to out-of-state Justice Department lawyers than a general concern about government lawyers' ethics.

Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) holds part of a Takata airbag during a Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, June 23, 2015.

Plaintiffs Prefer to Keep Air Bags Litigation in Court

By Amanda Bronstad |

Talk of a compensation fund for victims of Takata Corp.’s faulty air bags might not carry the same allure as General Motors Co.’s plan to address ignition-switch defects, plaintiffs lawyers said.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Justices Rule for Arizona's Independent Redistricting Commission

By Mike Sacks and Marcia Coyle |

Arizona voters' attempt to blunt the highly partisan nature of drawing congressional district lines by creating an independent commission for the task does not violate the federal Constitution, a divided U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Monday.

Anti-death penalty protest at the Supreme Court on Monday, June 29.

Challenge to Lethal-Injection Procedure Fails in Supreme Court

By Zoe Tillman and Marcia Coyle |

Oklahoma can move forward with its controversial lethal-injection drug, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Monday. Justice Samuel Alito Jr., writing for the majority, said prisoners who challenged the use of the drug failed to identify an alternative method of execution available to state officials that involved a lower risk of pain. The majority also upheld a district judge's finding that the prisoners failed to show the state's use of the drug at issue, midazolam, involved "a substantial risk of severe pain."

Supreme Court of the United States

Supreme Court Won't Hear Two Public Corruption Cases

By Zoe Tillman |

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday announced it will not review the public corruption convictions of former U.S. Rep. Richard Renzi of Arizona and Fraser Verrusio, a former congressional staffer implicated in the Jack Abramoff scandal.

Abigail Fisher, plaintiff in Fisher v. University of Texas, walks outside the U.S. Supreme Court on the day of arguments in the case. October 10, 2012.

Justices Take UT Affirmative Action Case for Second Time

By Tony Mauro |

Revisiting affirmative action, the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday agreed to take a second look at the constitutionality of the admissions policy of the University of Texas. Without comment, the court granted review in Fisher v. University of Texas, a sequel to its 2013 decision with the same name.

John Beisner of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom

By Amanda Bronstad |

After a judge tossed out a bellwether case in 2013, lawyers at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom moved for the dismissal of 650 additional lawsuits that linked osteoporosis drug Fosamax to femoral fractures.

Robert Beury, chief legal officer of Cogent Communications.

Cogent Communications Holdings Inc.

By Jenna Greene |

When the Federal Communications Commission in 2014 wavered on new net-neutrality rules and Comcast Corp. attempted to merge with Time Warner Cable Inc., Cogent's in-house lawyers sprang into action.

Kevyn Orr of Jones Day.

Jones Day

By Tony Mauro |
Dane Butswinkas, left, and Heidi Hubbard, right, of Williams & Connolly.

Williams & Connolly

By Jenna Greene |

In cases with billions of dollars on the line, Williams & Connolly last year delivered resounding victories for its clients. The wins were not of the "we settled for less than the client expected" variety. They were complete defense verdicts for companies including AstraZeneca PLC, which faced $60 billion in damages in one of the largest antitrust cases ever to go to trial.

Harry Lee of Steptoe & Johnson.

Steptoe & Johnson

By Lisa Hoffman |

At Steptoe & Johnson LLP's Wash­ington office, stability is such that insurance litigation partners often have represented a large insurer far longer than any of the carrier's employees have worked there.

Demonstrators in favor of the Obama Administration's Affordable Care Act celebrate outside the U.S. Supreme Court moments after the court announced its opinion in the subsidies case <i>King v. Burwell</i>, ruling in favor of the government.

Roberts Again Rides to Rescue of ACA

By Marcia Coyle |

Twice in the past three years, Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. has steered the high court through the highly political maelstrom surrounding the ­federal health care law without its ­rulings being labeled partisan. But new ­challenges to the law and the court lie ahead.

<b>ROCKY FLATS:</b>Site's neighbors alleged nuclear contamination.

Major Fallout in Rocky Flats Case

By Scott Flaherty |

After 25 years of litigation over contamination from the Rocky Flats nuclear weapons plant in Colorado, a federal appeals court has ruled that Dow Chemical Co. and Rockwell International Corp. should be on the hook for nuisance claims by neighboring property owners that combined could total hundreds of millions of dollars.

The 2015 Washington Legal Departments of the Year

The legal teams highlighted here at companies in the Washington area are helping set the standard for effective corporate counsel operations.

Matthew Moore of Latham & Watkins.

Latham & Watkins

By Ginny LaRoe |

He wasn't just out front. In making Section 101 arguments in 2009 for a key client facing a high-stakes patent infringement suit, Matthew Moore was in another race.

F. Joseph Warin of Gibson Dunn.

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher

By Zoe Tillman |

The 2015 Washington Litigation Departments of the Year

In this special report, The National Law Journal takes the measure of litigation ­departments in our nation's capital.

Karen Dunn of Boies Schiller & Flexner.

Boies, Schiller & Flexner

By Mike Sacks |

Boies, Schiller & Flexner's ambitions to be one of Washington's power players paid off big in 2014 with high-profile hires and significant wins for the firm's litigation department.

Robert Wick of Covington & Burling.

Covington & Burling

By Mike Sacks |

Covington & Burling's move in 2014 to a modern, glass-walled ­building in Washington's CityCenter reduced the firm's office space, but its lawyers kept the big wins coming. The firm, founded in Washing­ton almost a century ago, has more than 500 attorneys on cases touching all areas and levels of litigation across the country.

<b>KRISTIN CAMPBELL:</b> Hilton Worldwide's general counsel manages a 140-member legal team for the 157,000-employee hospitality company.

Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc.

By Sheri Qualters |

The legal team at Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. makes sure the doors can stay open at the company's more than 4,300 properties and that management, shareholders and regulators have a smooth experience with the legal department.

Craig Hoover of Hogan Lovells.

Hogan Lovells

By Marcia Coyle |

Whether a class action seeking $1 billion in damages was at stake, or a cybercrime that placed millions of credit card numbers at risk, Hogan Lovells' cross-team approach successfully navigated client storms for a banner year in 2014.

Demonstrations outside the U.S. Supreme Court on the day of arguments in the cases involving same-sex marriage, Obergefell v. Hodges.  April 28, 2015.

How Do Supreme Court Justices Manage to Get Along?

By Tony Mauro |

When a colleague says he would rather "hide my head in a bag" than agree with something you've written, how can you possibly face each other the next day? U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said those words about Justice Anthony Kennedy's landmark opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges on Friday. What law clerks and justices have called Scalia's "nastygrams" are not new. But he has fired off enough of them in recent weeks, targeting conservative allies and liberal foes alike, that some may wonder how the justices can possibly work together.

Demonstrations outside the U.S. Supreme Court on the day of arguments in the cases involving same-sex marriage, <i>Obergefell v. Hodges</i>.

How Do Supreme Court Justices Manage to Get Along?

By Tony Mauro |

When a colleague says he would rather "hide my head in a bag" than agree with something you've written, how can you possibly face each other the next day?

Mary Bonauto addresses the media outside the U.S. Supreme Court after the court announced its opinion in the same-sex marriage case <i>Obergefell v Hodges</i>, making gay marriage legal in all 50 states.

Inside High Court, a Quiet Celebration Marked by Tears

By Marcia Coyle |

Several lawyers silently cried as Justice Anthony Kennedy read his decision in his slightly nasal monotone, belying the historic nature of the ruling. As the holding became clear Kevin Cathcart, executive director of Lambda Legal, put his arm around the shoulders of Mary Bonauto of Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders.

Waiting outside the U.S. Supreme Court on June 22, 2015.

Why the Supreme Court Doesn’t Give Advance Notice About Decisions

By Tony Mauro |

When the U.S. Supreme Court returns to the bench Monday, June 29, it will be the last sitting before its summer recess—and the only day of the term when the public can be relatively sure which rulings will be announced.

Demonstrators celebrate outside the U.S. Supreme Court moments after the court announced its opinion in the  case Obergefell v Hodges, making same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states.  June 26, 2015.

Law Professors See 'Tremendous Historical Import' of Ruling

By Karen Sloan |

Law schools are out of session for the summer, but faculty members spent Friday parsing the U.S. Supreme Court’s majority decision in Obergefell v. Hodges and the three dissenting opinions. The case had generated a near record number of amicus briefs, many written or signed by law professors.

Demonstrators outside the U.S. Supreme Court moments before the court announced its opinion in the same-sex marriage case <i>Obergefell v Hodges</i>.

Marriage Ruling Historic, But Not Final Word on Gay Rights

By Marcia Coyle and Tony Mauro |

The U.S. Supreme Court's historic decision recognizing same-sex couples' fundamental right to marriage was a major leap, but not the final legal step in ending discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people, legal scholars and other observers said.

Same-Sex Marriage at the Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that same-sex couples have a constitutionally protected right to marry. Here is the National Law Journal's coverage of this historic decision.

Demonstrators outside the U.S. Supreme Court moments before the court announced its opinion in the same-sex marriage case Obergefell v Hodges.  June 26, 2015.

Same-Sex Marriage Wins in Historic Supreme Court Ruling

By Tony Mauro and Marcia Coyle |

Same-sex couples have a constitutionally protected right to marry, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Friday in a history-making victory for the gay civil rights movement. Justice Anthony Kennedy, adding to a trilogy of landmark rulings in which he has emphasized the equal rights and dignity of gay and lesbian Americans, led a 5-4 majority in holding that the Fourteenth Amendment's equal protection clause prohibits states from denying marriage licenses to those citizens. The ruling also requires states to recognize the same-sex marriages of other states.

SCOTUS

Hugs and Harangues: Inside the Court for the Health Care Ruling

By Tony Mauro |

The Obama administration's celebration of a pair of U.S. Supreme Court victories began as soon as the justices left the bench on Thursday.

Demonstrators in favor of the Obama Administration's Affordable Care Act celebrate outside the U.S. Supreme Court moments after the court announced its opinion in the subsidies case King v. Burwell, ruling in favor of the government.

Roberts Leads Court Through Second ACA Storm; More Ahead

By Marcia Coyle |

Twice in the past three years, Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. has steered the high court through the highly political maelstrom surrounding the federal health care law without its rulings being labeled partisan. But new challenges to the law and the court lie ahead.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy

Justice Kennedy’s Vote Rescues Fair Housing Act

By Tony Mauro |

Civil rights advocates and the Obama administration on Thursday celebrated U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy's embrace of the Fair Housing Act in a 5-4 ruling that endorsed the use of "disparate impact" claims in discrimination cases.

Scene outside the U.S. Supreme Court on one of three days before the end of the term.

Motion Urging Recusal in Marriage Cases Surfaces on Supreme Court Docket

By Tony Mauro |

A request for U.S. Supreme Court justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan to recuse themselves in the pending same-sex marriage cases has appeared on the court’s online docket, just days before the justices are expected to issue a ruling.

Justice Anthony Kennedy on Capitol Hill in March.

Justices Endorse Broad Application of Civil Rights Law

By Tony Mauro and Mike Sacks |

The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday endorsed a broad application of a landmark civil rights law long understood to offer relief to those claiming certain housing policies had a racially discriminatory effect. The case before the court involved the handling by Texas of federal tax credits in ways that civil rights groups claimed kept blacks in Dallas away from housing opportunities in white neighborhoods.

The scene outside the Supreme Court on Thursday, June 25.

Health Care Law Subsidies Survive Supreme Court Challenge

By Marcia Coyle and Zoe Tillman |

The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday upheld federal health insurance subsidies for an estimated 6.4 million moderate and low-income Americans. The ruling was the second time in three years that the high court prevented the complete unraveling of the Obama presidency's signature legislative achievement: the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Waiting outside the U.S. Supreme Court on June 22, 2015.

As Term Closes, a Waiting Game at the Supreme Court

By Marcia Coyle |

As the days dwindle down to the few remaining decisions, it is nail-biting time for some U.S. Supreme Court advocates. Seven cases remain in the "undecided" category, including the term's two potential blockbusters: same-sex marriage and the latest assault on the federal health care law. But even if the five other cases fall short of stratospheric status, each has significant implications for its area of the law.

Michael Carvin, of Jones Day, addressing the media outside the U.S. Supreme Court, in Washington, D.C., on the day he argued for the plaintiffs in the case King v. Burwell, regarding the government's Affordable Care Act subsidies.  March 4, 2015.

Union Funding Targeted in Fast-Track Appeal to High Court

By Marcia Coyle |

The case that could topple President Barack Obama's health care law is not the only game-changing U.S. Supreme Court challenge in the armory of Jones Day's Michael Carvin. He and the Center for Individual Rights also hope the high court will take up their First Amendment challenge to a critical funding source for unions: agency shop "fair share" fees for public employees.

Residents of Prince William County, Virginia fill-out health care applications at the Greater Prince William Community Health Center, Evergreen Terrace Site, in Manassas, Va., Saturday, Nov. 15, 2014.

How the Supreme Court Could Delay Any Health Care Chaos

By Tony Mauro |

While doomsday scenarios proliferate about the fate of the Affordable Care Act if the Obama administration loses at the U.S. Supreme Court in coming days, the justices may be considering ways to delay or reduce the disarray.

How a Gun Differs From Kielbasa: A Seventh Circuit Explainer

By Zoe Tillman |

Kielbasa stashed in a robber’s pocket and aimed at a victim might bear some resemblance to the barrel of a pistol. But Judge Frank Easterbrook of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit on Monday drew a distinction between bank robberies that involve actual guns and those that involve harmless objects thought to be guns—for example, sausage.

Chart: Patent Rejections Before and After 'Alice'

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office patent application rejections during sample periods from 2012 to May 31, 2015. The data were measured before and after the U.S. Supreme Court's June 19, 2014, ruling in Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank International.

It's a 'Scary' Post-'Alice' World for Software Patents

By Sheri Qualters |

In the year since the seminal U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Alice v. CLS Bank International, courts and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office increasingly have nullified inventions involving computers or the Internet. Robert Sachs, a San Francisco intellectual property partner in Fenwick & West, has studied the trend.

Floyd Mayweather Jr., left, hits Manny Pacquiao, from the Philippines, during their welterweight title fight on Saturday, May 2, 2015 in Las Vegas.

Mayweather-Pacquiao Fight Sparks More Than 40 Class Actions

By Amanda Bronstad |

More than 40 class actions have been filed over last month’s highly publicized fight between Floyd Mayweather and Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao, alleging that the boxers, their promoters and the cable networks airing the match misled viewers about the “Fight of the Century.”

Takata Corp displays at a showroom for vehicles in Tokyo, Japan on May 20, 2015.

Takata Executive 'Deeply Sorry' for Air Bag Defects

By Mike Sacks |

A senior executive from Takata Corp. appeared before the Senate Commerce Committee on Tuesday to update lawmakers on the recall of nearly 34 million vehicles installed with the company's air bags.

University of Iowa College of Law.

Retrial Begins on Would-Be Law Prof’s Political Bias Claims

By Karen Sloan |

A former part-time legal writing instructor at the University of Iowa College of Law, who claims she was passed over for a faculty position because of her conservative political views, is back in court nearly three years after a jury first pondered her case.

Phillip Ransom stands next to his van on the night of November 11, 2010. Police shot at the van eight times, thinking they were under fire.

Police Who Shot at Backfiring Van Granted Immunity in Suit

By Happy Carlock |

Two Kansas City, Missouri, police officers who opened fire on a vehicle after responding to a report of gunshots are immune in a civil rights lawsuit, a federal appeals court ruled Monday. "My van is backfiring," the van’s driver, Philip Ransom, told police that night, according to dashboard video that captured the shooting.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy

Kennedy Joins Liberals in Two Rulings Against Law Enforcement Officials

By Tony Mauro |

With liberal justices in the majority, the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday ruled against law enforcement officials in a pair of 5-4 decisions that involved police searches of motel registries and excessive force against jail inmates.

Supreme Court's Spider-Man Ruling Snares 'Garage Inventors'

By Tony Mauro |

The U.S. Supreme Court's ruling Monday cutting off royalties for the developer of a Spider-Man toy may be a boon to the patent bar, but a blow to "garage inventors" who don't know the intricacies of patent licensing agreements.

Raisins drying on a late summer day in September, in Tulare County, California.

Court: Compensation Due When U.S. Takes Personal Property

By Marcia Coyle |

In a decision favoring a raison grower's claim that the government took his personal property—raisins—without just compensation, the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday may have planted the seed of a bigger headache for local governments, environmentalists and others.

Trustee Talks Strategy in Tainted-Steroids Settlement

By Sheri Qualters |

Drugs from the now-defunct New England Compounding Center (NECC) have been linked to 64 deaths and 751 injuries. In an interview, Chapter 11 trustee Paul Moore spoke about the challenges of obtaining a $211 million partial settlement.

Supreme Court Cuts Off Royalties for Spider-Man Toy

By Tony Mauro |

The inventor of a Spider-Man web-shooting device cannot extend his reach for royalties beyond the expiration of his patent, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Monday.

Justices Void Warrantless Inspections of Hotel Registries

By Zoe Tillman |

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday struck down a Los Angeles city law that required hotel operators to make their guest registries available to law enforcement without a warrant.

<b>TEXAS TAGS:</b> Justices rejected bid to force the state to include rebel flag.

A Big Fuss Over the First Amendment

By Tony Mauro |

Befitting the First Amendment, the U.S. Supreme Court's two major free speech decisions issued on Thursday prompted strong and conflicting reaction on both sides in both cases.

<b>SEARCHING:</b> Google is locked in a subpoena fight in Washington against Jenner & Block and the Motion Picture Association of America, a longtime client of the firm, over access to documents.

Jenner & Block Fights Google's Demand for Client Records

By Zoe Tillman |

Google Inc. has long clashed with the Motion Picture Association of America over how the tech company polices third-party content online — including illegal copies of movies and television shows. Those tensions flared this month as Google took the association and its lawyers at Jenner & Block to court to try to squeeze documents from the law firm about its work for the MPAA.

King & Spalding's Harold Eugene Franklin Jr.

What Did Counsel to GM Know?

By Amanda Bronstad |

In the legal aftermath of General Motors Co.'s recalls, plaintiffs lawyers are pressuring King & Spalding, as ­outside counsel, to reveal what its attorneys knew about a deadly ignition-switch defect.

U.S. Supreme Court

Texas Abortion Clinics Ask Supreme Court to Intervene

By Marcia Coyle |

Texas abortion clinic providers late Friday filed an emergency application in the U.S. Supreme Court seeking a delay of a federal appellate court decision that would force the closing of all but nine clinics in the state on July 1.

Washington Redskins Wade Into Rock Band's Trademark Case

By Amanda Bronstad |

The Washington Redskins have elbowed into a case before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit brought by the front man of a rock band challenging part of a federal law that bans disparaging trademarks.

Good News Community Church sign.  Photo courtesy of Alliance Defending Freedom.

First Amendment Rulings Stir Debate Over License Plates, Signs

By By Tony Mauro |

Befitting the First Amendment, the U.S. Supreme Court's two major free speech decisions issued on Thursday prompted strong and conflicting reaction on both sides in both cases.

Darius Clark. Credit: Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office.

Court: Convicted Abuser Had No Right to Cross-Examine Child

By By Marcia Coyle |

Statements by very young children or to persons other than law enforcement officials will rarely trigger a criminal defendant's right to confront his accuser at trial, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Thursday.

Paul Weiss Surges Ahead on the NLJ 350

By Sheri Qualters |

Despite the ho-hum results for law firm growth on this year’s NLJ 350, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison attained standout status.

Justin Bieber.

Justin Bieber Must Face Copyright Suit, Appeals Court Rules

By Zoe Tillman |

A federal appeals court on Thursday revived a copyright infringement case against singers Justin Bieber and Usher over versions of the song "Somebody to Love." A three-judge panel found that Bieber and recording artist Usher's versions of the song had enough in common with an earlier song by musician Devin Copeland and his songwriting partner to send the dispute to a jury.

Thomas Spars With Kennedy Over Solitary Confinement

By By Marcia Coyle |

An unusual concurrence by Justice Anthony Kennedy in a death penalty habeas decision Thursday triggered an unusually blunt and unsympathetic reply by Justice Clarence Thomas on an issue that was not even part of the case before them: solitary confinement.

Thomas Spars With Kennedy Over Solitary Confinement

By By Marcia Coyle |

An unusual concurrence by Justice Anthony Kennedy in a death penalty habeas decision Thursday triggered an unusually blunt and unsympathetic reply by Justice Clarence Thomas on an issue that was not even part of the case before them: solitary confinement.

Loretta Lynch

Shooting at S.C. Church a 'Barbaric Act,' AG Loretta Lynch Says

By Mike Sacks |

The U.S. Justice Department has opened a hate-crimes investigation into Wednesday night's mass shooting that killed nine worshippers at the Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, South Carolina, Attorney General Loretta Lynch said.

The design of the proposed Texas state license plate.

Texas Can Keep Confederate Flag Off License Plates, Supreme Court Rules

By Tony Mauro |

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that Texas can keep the Confederate flag off the specialty license plates it issues to drivers. Rejecting a First Amendment claim by the Sons of Confederate Veterans, the justices ruled, 5-4, that the license plates are a form of government—not private—speech, thereby giving the state leeway to decide which messages are allowed on the plates.

Lance Armstrong.

Lance Armstrong Fights Subpoena for Former Lawyers' Records

By Zoe Tillman |

Lance Armstrong is fighting an effort to subpoena his former lawyers at Williams — Connolly, calling a request for the law firm's documents "a thinly veiled attempt to eviscerate the attorney-client privilege."

Screen capture of John Patrick Frey's Twitter page.

Prosecutor Wins Appeal Over His Tweets Against Activist

By Amanda Bronstad |

A Los Angeles prosecutor has won an appeal in a case brought over cutting remarks he wrote on his blog and on Twitter about conservative political activist Nadia Naffe.

Andrew Humphrey.

Minneapolis Scores High on the NLJ 350 Regional Report

By Sheri Qualters |

The number of Minneapolis lawyers on the NLJ 350 survey jumped by 7.9 percent last year, the biggest gain among the top 25 markets in the country.

A woman and child are escorted to a van by detention facility guards inside the Artesia Family Residential Center, a federal detention facility for undocumented immigrant mothers and children in Artesia, N.M, Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2014.

Law Schools: Give Migrant Children Legal Representation

By Karen Sloan |

The U.S. government should guarantee legal representation to unaccompanied minors seeking asylum, end expedited processing of those children and families, and begin recognizing gang violence as a basis for asylum claims. Those are among recommendations Tuesday by Jesuit Refugee Service/USA and 13 Jesuit law schools following a study of efforts to represent asylum seekers from Central America.

Jenner & Block Accuses Google of Abusive Litigation Tactics

By Zoe Tillman |

Subpoenas that Google Inc. served on Jenner—Block and others this year are an abuse of the court system, the law firm said Monday, urging a judge to reject the tech company's demand for documents.

Justices Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Goldberg Variations: Scalia Apologizes After Flubbing Ginsburg’s Name

By Tony Mauro |

U.S. Supreme Court justices rarely apologize from the bench. But on Monday, Justice Antonin Scalia did just that, and he probably had to. He had just called his longtime friend and colleague Ruth Bader Ginsburg "Justice Goldberg."

Fauzia Din and her husband Kanishka Berashk.

Court: US Owes No Explanation for Denial of Husband's Visa

By By Marcia Coyle |

A divided U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected a U.S. citizen's claim that she had a constitutional due process right to know why the government denied a visa to her Afghan husband.

Baker Botts Fee Case Falls Short

By Tony Mauro |

The U.S. Supreme Court showed little sympathy for the bankruptcy bar on Monday, ruling that bankruptcy courts may not award lawyers or other professionals any compensation for the cost of defending their fees. Bankruptcy lawyers expressed alarm that the court's decision will open new fronts in bankruptcy litigation that could swallow up legitimate fee awards and make it less appealing for lawyers to take on such cases.

$4.5M Verdict in Leadoff Wright Hip Implant Lawsuit

By Amanda Bronstad |

Wright Medical Technology Inc. has lost a $4.5 million verdict in the first trial over alleged defects in its hip implants.

Supreme Court Won't Review North Carolina Ultrasound Law

By Tony Mauro |

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to review a North Carolina law that requires physicians to give women seeking abortions specified information about the procedure and an ultrasound of the fetus. Justice Antonin Scalia dissented without comment.

<b>DISASTER:</b> The Deepwater Horizon settlement, now valued at $9.9 billion, has produced accusations of claims fraud, but plaintiffs attorneys complain people are penalized for honest errors.

Master Questions $8M in Oil-Spill Payouts

By Amanda Bronstad |

A special master tasked with rooting out fraud in BP PLC's $9.9 billion oil-spill settlement has sought the return of nearly $8 million in awards paid to commercial fishermen and other businesses.

<b>LEADING:</b> Marilyn and George Keepseagle, name plaintiffs in a Native American farmer and rancher class action, want claimants to benefit directly from $380 million in unused settlement funds.

Acrimony Develops Over $380M In Unspent Settlement Funds

By Zoe Tillman |

In 2010, the U.S. government agreed to pay $680 million to settle claims that Native American farmers and ranchers were victims of discrimination in federal loan programs. Two years later, it was clear the lawyers' estimates of how many claimants would apply for a share of that money were off. Way off.

Arizona Summit Defends Encouraging Grads to Delay Bar Exam

By Karen Sloan |

The dean of Arizona Summit Law School this week defended paying stipends to graduates who delay sitting for the bar examination to extend their test preparation.

FTC Complaint: Crowdfund Project Manager Duped Backers

The Federal Trade Commission on Thursday announced it reached a settlement with an entrepreneur who collected funds to create a board game on Kickstarter and allegedly spent the money for personal gain. The case is the first that involves a crowdfunding venture.

Federal Appeals Court Calls Out Michigan Judge in Gun Case

By Happy Carlock |

Calling out a federal judge who "belittled" a defense lawyer in front of a jury, a federal appeals court this week granted a new trial in a Michigan gun case. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit said U.S. District Judge John O’Meara's in-court comments about the defense lawyer, Marvin Barnett, "created an appearance of bias that undermines the verdict."

Students wait outside Everest College, one of Corinthian's schools, in City of Industry, Calif., hoping to get their transcripts and information on loan forgiveness, following the company's closure of its campuses.

Corinthian Students Seek Stay of Debt Collection Efforts

By Amanda Bronstad |

A special committee representing 500,000 former students of Corinthian Colleges Inc. has moved to freeze collection of their outstanding loans while the defunct school goes through Chapter 11 proceedings.

Abortion rights supporters demonstrate in front of the Whole Woman's Health clinic Saturday, October 4, 2014 in McAllen, Texas.

Texas Clinics Plan Supreme Court Petition Over Abortion Law

By Marcia Coyle |

Texas abortion clinics on Wednesday asked a federal appellate court to delay the effect of its June 9 decision upholding restrictions on the clinics while their attorneys appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Lucy Koh.

Anthem Loses Bid to Keep Data-Breach Cases at Home

By Amanda Bronstad |

In an unusual move, a federal judicial panel has ordered more than 100 class actions filed over Anthem Inc.’s cyberattack sent to the Northern District of California.

People protest in front of the Whole Women's Health clinic Saturday, October 4, 2014 in McAllen, Texas.

Strict Regulation of Texas Abortion Clinics Upheld

By Tony Mauro |

A federal appeals court on Tuesday upheld most provisions of a Texas law that imposes restrictions on abortion clinics that could shutter all but seven facilities throughout the state. The decision comes as a challenge to another Fifth Circuit ruling on clinics in Mississippi is before the U.S. Supreme Court, which could decide soon whether or not to grant review.

Menachem Zivotofsky, center, stands with his father Ari Zivotofsky, right, and their attorney Alyza Lewin, outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Monday, Nov. 3, 2014.

Jerusalem Passport Case Divides Scalia and Thomas

By Tony Mauro |

The U.S. Supreme Court's narrow ruling Monday on a controversial foreign policy issue revealed significant fault lines on the court, including a rare tiff between justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas.

Central Radio Co., Inc sign protesting eminent domain abuse.

Brief of the Week: Another Sign Ordinance Case Awaits Supreme Court Action

By Jamie Schuman |

While the masses wait for the U.S. Supreme Court to issue opinions on gay marriage and health care, First Amendment scholar Eugene Volokh is eagerly anticipating a ruling about road signs.

Maryland's 2011 congressional redistricting plan underlies a challenge to the meaning of the 100-year-old Three-Judge Court Act.

Justices Add Class Actions, Redistricting to Docket; Decline Gun Case

By Marcia Coyle |

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear next fall significant challenges to how workers prove class action damages and how three-judge courts are formed to consider redistricting lawsuits.

Thomas Green.

Dennis Hastert Hires Sidley Austin Defense Lawyer

By Katelyn Polantz and Zoe Tillman |

Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert has hired Thomas Green, a white-collar defense lawyer at Sidley Austin, to represent him on criminal charges in Chicago federal district court. Hastert's arraignment is scheduled for Tuesday.