District Court Has No Discretion to Vacate a Partial Verdict Because It Is Supposedly “Irreconcilably Inconsistent” With A Hung Jury on Another Count, Holds Fourth Circuit

In Jordan v. Large, No. 19-7855 (4th Cir. Mar. 4, 2022), the Fourth Circuit holds that the district court erred when it vacated a partial verdict in favor of a prisoner-plaintiff because it was supposedly “irreconcilably inconsistent” with the jury’s inability to reach a verdict on another count. Plaintiff, “a prisoner in Red Onion StateContinue reading “District Court Has No Discretion to Vacate a Partial Verdict Because It Is Supposedly “Irreconcilably Inconsistent” With A Hung Jury on Another Count, Holds Fourth Circuit”

First Circuit, Departing from Second Circuit, Holds that Federal Courts Lack Authority to Release Grand Jury Records in “Historically Significant” Cases

In In Re Petition Records Release (Lepore v. United States), No. 20-1836 (1st Cir. Feb. 28, 2022), the First Circuit sidesteps whether federal courts have inherent authority to release grand jury proceedings from long-completed cases, outside of Fed. R. Crim. P. 6(e). It instead holds, whether or not such power exists, it cannot be exercisedContinue reading “First Circuit, Departing from Second Circuit, Holds that Federal Courts Lack Authority to Release Grand Jury Records in “Historically Significant” Cases”

Sixth Circuit and En Banc Eleventh Circuit Each Forgive the Government’s Abandonment of Fourth Amendment Arguments, Finding Them Forfeited Rather Than Waived

Two courts issue decisions the same day considering Fourth Amendment arguments that the government forfeited, holding that federal courts of appeals have the power and can properly exercise their discretion to reach such issues. United States v. Campbell, No. 16-10128 (11th Cir. Feb. 16, 2022): Defendant Campbell was indicted for possessing a firearm as aContinue reading “Sixth Circuit and En Banc Eleventh Circuit Each Forgive the Government’s Abandonment of Fourth Amendment Arguments, Finding Them Forfeited Rather Than Waived”

District Court Judge Confused Prudential and Subject-Matter Jurisdiction Leading to Premature Dismissal, Holds Fifth Circuit

In Abraugh v. Altimus, No. 21-30205 (5th Cir. Feb. 14, 2022), the Fifth Circuit holds that the district court cut short a plaintiff’s opportunity to proceed with her complaint by ruling erroneously that there was no subject-matter jurisdiction over the claim. “Karen Abraugh brought this suit over the wrongful death of her son Randall. AuthoritiesContinue reading “District Court Judge Confused Prudential and Subject-Matter Jurisdiction Leading to Premature Dismissal, Holds Fifth Circuit”

Summary Judgment Inappropriate Even Where Plaintiff’s Only Eyewitness Account Is Contradicted by Others on the Scene as Well as by the Witness’s Original Police Statement, Holds Sixth Circuit

In Gambrel v. Knox Cnty., Ky., No. 20-6027 (6th Cir. Feb. 8, 2022), the panel reverses in part summary judgment in a § 1983 Fourth Amendment excessive force case. Applying Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372 (2007), the panel holds that the principle that witness testimony may be disregarded on summary judgment if it is “blatantlyContinue reading “Summary Judgment Inappropriate Even Where Plaintiff’s Only Eyewitness Account Is Contradicted by Others on the Scene as Well as by the Witness’s Original Police Statement, Holds Sixth Circuit”

Federal Magistrate Judge Lacked Subject-Matter Jurisdiction to Dismiss Plaintiff’s Complaint Where Defendants Had Not Yet Appeared and Consented, Holds Third Circuit

In Burton v. Schamp, No. 18-1174 (3d Cir. Feb. 3, 2022), the Third Circuit—hearing two consolidated prisoner appeals—holds that the failure of unserved defendants to consent to a U.S. federal magistrate judge (magistrate) before the complaint is dismissed deprives the magistrate of subject-matter jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 636(c)(1). The panel rejects defendants’ arguments in supportContinue reading “Federal Magistrate Judge Lacked Subject-Matter Jurisdiction to Dismiss Plaintiff’s Complaint Where Defendants Had Not Yet Appeared and Consented, Holds Third Circuit”

Sixth Circuit Panel Splits Over Whether Michigan’s Affidavit-of-Merit and Presuit-Notice Rules for Medical-Malpractice Actions Apply in Federal Court Under Erie and Hanna

In Albright v. Christensen. No. 21-1046 (6th Cir. Jan 31, 2022), a 2-1 panel holds that the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure bar application of Michigan state-law rules requiring that a lawsuit against a medical professional for malpractice be preceded by 182-days’ notice to the defendant and accompanied by an  “affidavit of merit signed byContinue reading “Sixth Circuit Panel Splits Over Whether Michigan’s Affidavit-of-Merit and Presuit-Notice Rules for Medical-Malpractice Actions Apply in Federal Court Under Erie and Hanna”

Tenth Circuit Affirms Preliminary Injunction Under Lanham Act, but “Went Too Far” With Mandatory Provision Requiring Removal of Two Sculptures from School Campus

In The Trial Lawyers College v. Gerry Spence Trial Lawyers College, No. 20-8038 (10th Cir. Jan. 27, 2022), the Tenth Circuit substantially affirms a district court’s preliminary injunction in a dispute between two rival factions at a trial-lawyer school, though it holds the district court abused its discretion by  “ordering removal of sculptures bearing theContinue reading “Tenth Circuit Affirms Preliminary Injunction Under Lanham Act, but “Went Too Far” With Mandatory Provision Requiring Removal of Two Sculptures from School Campus”

Parents of Children with Disabilities Obtain Conflicting Standing Rulings in the Fourth and Eighth Circuits While Challenging State Mask-Mandate Bans in Schools

Two circuits reach different results on standing to bring an injunctive action against the governors of states that banned local school districts from imposing COVID-19 pandemic mask-mandates for students and staff. In both cases, parents and associations challenged the state-level bans under federal statutory law: the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Section 504Continue reading “Parents of Children with Disabilities Obtain Conflicting Standing Rulings in the Fourth and Eighth Circuits While Challenging State Mask-Mandate Bans in Schools”

Ninth Circuit Holds That Court of Appeals Could Not Extend Appellate Jurisdiction Under 28 U.S.C. § 1292(b) to Address Question of Law Not Presented in the “Four Corners of the Certified Order”

In ICTSI Oregon, Inc. v. Int’l Longshore and Warehouse Union, No. 20-35818 (9th Cir. Jan. 18, 2022), the Ninth Circuit declines to accept certification of an interlocutory appeal under 28 U.S.C. § 1292(b). It holds that one question in the certified order is really just a question of fact, while the other question – whileContinue reading “Ninth Circuit Holds That Court of Appeals Could Not Extend Appellate Jurisdiction Under 28 U.S.C. § 1292(b) to Address Question of Law Not Presented in the “Four Corners of the Certified Order””