DC Circuit - The FindLaw DC Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

March 2017 Archives

Will Anthem Win Its Fights to Save Merger Deal With Cigna?

As Anthem lawyers argued to save a proposed merger with Cigna in a federal appeals court, the words of the trial judge still hung in the air:

"There's an elephant in the room," U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson said, describing the tension between the health care giants. Noting that Cigna's own lawyer had undermined Anthem's forecasts for the acquisition, Jackson struck down the merger six weeks ago on the grounds it would hurt the competition.

The tension between the companies has reached the breaking point since then. Cigna is now suing Anthem in another court over the blocked merger for a $1.85 billion termination fee, plus $13 billion in damages for its shareholders. Fighting on two fronts, Anthem has doubled down in the high-stakes game. Christopher Curren, Anthem's lawyer, told the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia that it is about the consumer.

"This is dollars in the consumer's pocket," he said with a poker face.

Court Sends NLRB Back to Deal With Automatic Deductions for Dues

In what the dissent called a "hot potato," a divided appeals court said the National Labor Relations Board erred in rejecting the claims of grocery workers who had cancelled automatic deductions for their dues.

The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia remanded the case back to the board to reconsider its decision in Stewart v. National Labor Relations Board. The Arizona workers had authorized their employer to deduct union dues, but later resigned from the union and revoked their authorization.

"An employee's authorization for her employer to check off union dues from her wages is not irrevocable," Judge Sri Srinivasan wrote for the court.

Russian hackers, Chinese cyberterrorists, Ethiopian malware -- if you're a victim of any of state-sponsored hacking, you may be out of luck. Individuals who accuse foreign governments of hacking have virtually no access to the federal courts, the D.C. Circuit ruled on Tuesday. That's because the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act prevents suits against other nations, and its exception for noncommercial torts doesn't apply to hacking organized from abroad, the court explained.

The ruling is a "dangerous decision for cybersecurity," critics claim.