U.S. Fourth Circuit: June 2009 Archives
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June 2009 Archives

Stephens v. Branker, No. 08-14

In a capital habeas matter, the denial of Petitioner's petition is affirmed where Petitioner's ineffective assistance claim failed, because he did not demonstrate that the conflict of interest allegedly affecting his counsel adversely affected counsel's trial performance.

Read Stephens v. Branker, No. 08-14

Appellate Information

Argued: May 13, 2009

Decided: June 30, 2009

Judges

Opinion by Judge King

Counsel

For Appellant:

Jonathan Lee Megerian, Megerian & Wells, Asheboro, NC

For Appellee:

Steven Franklin Bryant, North Carolina Department of Justice, Raleigh, NC

Hunsberger v. Wood, No. 08-1782

In a 42 U.S.C. section 1983 action based on a warrantless entry into Plaintiffs' home, the denial of summary judgment based on qualified immunity is reversed where the search was reasonable under the Fourth Amendment exigent circumstances doctrine, because Defendants believed a missing teenage girl was in the house.

Read Hunsberger v. Wood, No. 08-1782

Appellate Information

Argued May 15, 2009

Decided June 29, 2009

Judges

Opinion by Judge Wilkinson

Counsel

For Appellant:

Elizabeth Kay Dillon, Guynn, Memmer & Dillon, P.C., Salem, VA

For Appellees:

Melvin Edward Williams, Grimes & Williams, PC, Roanoke, VA

Terry N. Grimes, Grimes & Williams, PC, Roanoke, VA

In a tort action arising out of a ship collision, the dismissal of the complaint is affirmed where the District Court did not abuse its discretion in applying the doctrine of forum non conveniens, because the accident occurred in Chinese waters and proceedings were already underway in a Chinese court.

Read Compania Naviera Joanna S.A. v. Koninklijke Boskalis Westminster NV, No. 08-1031

Appellate Information

Argued: March 24, 2009

Decided: June 26, 2009

Judges

Opinion by Judge Niemeyer

Counsel

For Appellants:

Mary Campbell Broughton, Fowler Rodriguez Valdes-Fauli, Mobile, AL

For Appellees:

Gordon D. Schreck, Buist, Moore, Smythe, McGee, PA, Charleston, SC

Douglas M. Muller, Moore & Van Allen, PLLC, Charleston, SC

Rendelman v. Rouse, No. 08-6150

In an action under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) for refusal to accommodate Plaintiff prisoner's kosher food needs, the dismissal of the complaint is affirmed where RLUIPA does not authorize a claim for money damages against an official sued in their individual capacity.

Read Rendelman v. Rouse, No. 08-6150

Appellate Information

Argued: March 25, 2009

Decided: June 25, 2009

Judges

Opinion by Judge Michael

Counsel

For Appellant:

Timothy McGinn, Duke University School of Law, Durham, NC

James E. Coleman, Jr., Duke University School of Law, Durham, NC

Sean E. Andrussier, Duke University School of Law, Durham, NC

James Healy, Duke University School of Law, Durham, NC

Matthew Levy, Duke University School of Law, Durham, NC

Susan Pourciau, Duke University School of Law, Durham, NC

For Appellees:

Phillip M. Pickus, Office of the Attorney General of Maryland, Baltimore, MD

Douglas F. Gansler, Office of the Attorney General of Maryland, Baltimore, MD

Indemnity Ins. Co. of N. Am. v. US, No. 08-2148

In a negligence action against the U.S. based on the Coast Guard's failure to perform certain tests on a ship, the dismissal of the complaint is affirmed where the entire action was barred by the discretionary function exception to the Government's waiver of sovereign immunity.

Read Indemnity Ins. Co. of N. Am. v. US, No. 08-2148

Appellate Information

Argued: May 13, 2009

Decided: June 25, 2009

Judges

Opinion by Judge Hamilton

Counsel

For Appellants:

Robert Hopkins, Duane Morris, LLP, Baltimore, MD

Susan M. Euteneuer, Duane Morris, LLP, Baltimore, MD

For Appellee:

Stephen Robert Campbell, United States Department of Justice, Washington, DC

Michael F. Hertz, Acting Assistant Attorney General, United States Department of Justice, Washington, DC

Rod J. Rosenstein, United States Attorney, Baltimore, MD

Richmond Med. Ctr. for Women v. Herring, No. 03-1821

In a challenge to a restriction on late-term abortions, summary judgment for Plaintiff is reversed, where 1) the hypothetical situation posited by Plaintiff did not present a sufficiently frequent circumstance to render the statute wholly unconstitutional for all circumstances; and 2) Plaintiff did not present sufficiently concrete circumstances in which the as-applied challenge could be resolved.

Read Richmond Med. Ctr. for Women v. Herring, No. 03-1821

Appellate Information

Argued:  October 28, 2008

Filed:  June 24, 2009

Judges

Opinion by Judge Niemeyer

Concurrence by Judge Wilkinson

Dissent by Judge Michael

Counsel

For Appellants:

William Eugene Thro, Office of the Attorney General of Virginia, Richmond, VA

Robert F. McDonnell, Attorney General of Virginia, Richmond, VA

Stephen R. McCullough, State Solicitor General, Richmond, VA

William C. Mims, Chief Deputy Attorney General, Richmond, VA

David E. Johnson, Deputy Attorney General, Richmond, VA

Maureen Riley Matsen, Deputy Attorney General, Richmond, VA

For Appellees:

Stephanie Toti, Center for Reproductive Rights, New York, NY

Janet Crepps, Center for Reproductive Rights, New York, NY

Hyatt v. Branker, 08-15

In a capital habeas matter, the denial of Petitioner's petition is affirmed, where: 1) a law enforcement officer did not hear Petitioner make an unequivocal request for counsel prior to making his confession; and 2) the state court did not err in holding that Petitioner waived his right to counsel during a custodial interrogation.

Read Hyatt v. Branker, 08-15

Appellate Information

Argued: May 14, 2009

Decided: June 23, 2009

Judges

Judge Motz delivered the opinion of the Court.

Counsel

For Appellant:

Milton Gordon Widenhouse, Jr., Rudolf, Widenhouse & Fialko, Chapel Hill, NC

Faith S. Bushnaq, Bushnaq Law Office, PLLC, Charlotte, NC

For Appellee:

Valerie Blanche Spalding, North Carolina Department of Justice, Raleigh, NC

Roy Cooper, Attorney General of North Carolina, Raleigh, NC

Arthur v. Ticor Title Ins. Co., No. 08-1727

In a Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) action alleging that Defendant charged Plaintiffs title insurance rates higher than the rates Defendant had on file with the state insurance commissioner, the dismissal of the complaint is affirmed where RESPA does not control the prices charged for title insurance.

Read Arthur v. Ticor Title Ins. Co., No. 08-1727.

Appellate Information:

Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Maryland, at Baltimore. Andre M. Davis, District Judge. (1:07-cv-01737-AMD)
Argued: May 12, 2009
Decided: June 18, 2009

Judges:

Before WILKINSON and KING, Circuit Judges, and HAMILTON, Senior Circuit Judge.
Opinioin by Judge Wilkinson.

Counsel:

ARGUED: Philip Scott Friedman, FRIEDMAN LAW OFFICES, PLLC, Washington, D.C., for Appellants. Darryl J. May, BALLARD, SPAHR, ANDREWS & INGERSOLL, LLP, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for Appellee.

ON BRIEF: Martin E. Wolf, Richard S. Gordon, Benjamin H. Carney, QUINN, GORDON & WOLF, CHTD., Baltimore, Maryland, for Appellants. Robert A. Scott, Lisa M. Welsh, BALLARD, SPAHR, ANDREWS & INGERSOLL, LLP, Baltimore, Maryland, for Appellee.

US v. Gould, No. 08-4302

Defendant's conviction for failing to register as a sex offender is affirmed, where the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) does not link the requirement imposed on individual sex offenders to register to the requirement imposed on the states to implement the registration standards mandated by SORNA.

Read US v. Gould, No. 08-4302.

Appellate Information:

Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Maryland, at Baltimore. William D. Quarles, Jr., District Judge. (1:07-cr-00359-WDQ-1)
Argued: January 28, 2009
Decided: June 18, 2009

Judges:

Before NIEMEYER and MICHAEL, Circuit Judges, and Arthur L. ALARCÓN, Senior Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, sitting by designation.
Opinion by NIEMEYER, Circuit Judge.

Counsel:

ARGUED: Paresh S. Patel, OFFICE OF THE FEDERAL PUBLIC DEFENDER, Greenbelt, Maryland, for Appellant. Rod J. Rosenstein, United States Attorney, Baltimore, Maryland, for Appellee.

ON BRIEF: James Wyda, Federal Public Defender, Baltimore, Maryland, for Appellant. Bonnie S. Greenberg, Assistant United States Attorney, OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY, Baltimore, Maryland, for Appellee.

US v. Jeffers, No. 06-5289

Defendant's drug and firearm convictions and sentence are affirmed, where 1) the lack of a reporter's transcript of the charge conference and related proceedings did not violate Defendant's due process rights and 2) the evidence linked Defendant to multiple firearms during the course of the conspiracy offense.

Read the full decision in US v. Jeffers, No. 06-5289.

Appellate Information:

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia, at Harrisonburg. (5:04-cr-30042-gec) Glen E. Conrad, District Judge.
Argued on March 27, 2009
Decided on June 17, 2009

Judges:

Before NIEMEYER, KING, and DUNCAN, Circuit Judges.
Opinion by KING, Circuit Judge.

Counsel:

ARGUED: Katherine A. Warren, WHEAT & WU, Washington, D.C., for Appellant. Jean Barrett Hudson, OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY, Charlottesville, Virginia, for Appellee.

ON BRIEF: Judith L. Wheat, Shanlon Wu, WHEAT & WU, Washington, D.C., for Appellant. Julia C. Dudley, Acting United States Attorney, Roanoke, Virginia, for Appellee.