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4th Circuit

Jul 20, 2021

Commercial – ERISA claims against Aetna revived

Where the record showed that Aetna exercised discretionary authority or control over the management of a plan so as to potentially make it a fiduciary, and evidence suggested Aetna breached its fiduciary duties by not disclosing fees, a policyholder’s surcharge, disgorgement, declaratory and injunctive relief claims were revived. Background In June 2015, Sandra Peters filed […]

Jul 20, 2021

Labor/Employment – Company had under 100 employees, case nixed

Where the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification, or WARN, Act applies only if the company employed 100 or more full-time employees on the date the first notice was required, and the undisputed evidence was that the government contractor employed fewer than 100 full-time employees on that date, it was not liable under the WARN Act. […]

Jul 20, 2021

Constitutional – Public gets ‘contemporaneous’ access to complaints

Where there is a historic right of access to judicial documents because they provide the public with insight into the functioning of the judicial process, two Virginia courts were ordered to provide “contemporaneous’’ access to newly filed complaints. Background Courthouse News brought this action after its reporters could not obtain prompt access to newly filed […]

Jul 20, 2021

Civil Rights – Prison doctor wasn’t indifferent to diabetic’s needs

Where a doctor was aware of an incarcerated man’s medical needs, took steps to increase the patient’s blood sugar level monitoring and explained that he chose not to prescribe insulin because he was afraid of an overdose, he was granted summary judgment on the Eighth Amendment claim. Background Carey Hixson, a former inmate at Harrisonburg-Rockingham […]

Jul 20, 2021

Tort/Negligence – Chaos in Somalia tolls period for torture victim’s claim

Where a torture victim failed to file suit within the 10-year statute of limitations of the Torture Victim Protection Act of 1991, or TVPA, but his expert testified about chaos in Somalia after its dictator was defeated, and the danger to the plaintiff if he asserted a claim for human-rights violations, these extraordinary circumstances supported […]

Jul 20, 2021

Labor/Employment – Notices on negotiations wasn’t unfair labor practice

Where the manufacturing company posted notices about then-ongoing negotiations with the union, but did so in a straightforward manner that expressed its position without directly or indirectly soliciting employee action, it did not commit an unfair labor practice. Background Tecnocap LLC, petitioned for review of an order of the National Labor Relations Board, or NLRB, […]

Jul 20, 2021

Tort/Negligence – School knew of student’s alleged assault of another

Where a high school student reported conduct that could be objectively understood as alleging sexual harassment to a school official with authority to address complaints of sexual harassment and to institute corrective measures, that establishes actual notice of such harassment for Title IX purposes even if the official was not subjectively aware that the alleged […]

Jul 20, 2021

Constitutional – N.C. abortion providers had standing to challenge law

Where North Carolina amended its statutes in 2015 to require an abortion be performed by a “qualified” physician and to narrow the definition of a medical emergency, those changes evidenced a continuing state interest in regulating abortion that, with the providers’ credible claim of prosecution, provided standing to abortion providers challenging the statutes. Background North […]

Jul 20, 2021

Constitutional – Ban on broadcasting criminal proceedings challenged

Where Maryland Rules require the recording of proceedings and allow the public to obtain copies of those proceedings, a ban on broadcasting those recordings was subject to strict scrutiny. Because the district court applied only intermediate scrutiny in upholding the ban, its decision was vacated. Background Maryland Rules broadly require the electronic recording of proceedings, […]

Jul 20, 2021

Constitutional – Sex offender denied visits with minor daughter

Where the convicted sex-offender failed to show a regulation prohibiting sex offenders from having in-person visits with minors unless they received an exception lacked “a rational relation to legitimate penological interests,” his First Amendment right to association claim was dismissed. Background James Desper, an incarcerated sex offender, alleged that for years before 2015, he enjoyed [&he[...]

Jul 20, 2021

Constitutional – Maryland governor, AG improperly named as defendants

Where a professional counselor seeking to provide talk therapy to reduce his minor clients’ same-sex attractions alleged a Maryland law proscribing this practice violated the First Amendment, he improperly sued the governor and attorney general. Neither defendant was sufficiently connected with the enforcement of the act that they may be sued under Ex parte Young. […]

Jul 20, 2021

Criminal Practice – Falsely claiming to be AUSA nets conviction

Where the defendant falsely told police officers and court officials that the charges brought against him would be dismissed because he was an Assistant United States attorney, or AUSA, and repeated that he was an AUSA when he was trying to retrieve his impounded car, he was convicted of impersonating a federal officer. Background After […]

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