U.S. Fourth Circuit - The FindLaw 4th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

February 2017 Archives

An en banc Fourth Circuit upheld Maryland's 2013 Firearm Safety Act on Tuesday. That law, passed in the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting that left 20 first graders dead, banned assault weapons and high capacity magazines -- the very type of weapons common in mass shootings.

But the Fourth didn't just rule that the law withstood scrutiny under the Second Amendment. It ruled that the targeted weapons are not protected by the Second Amendment at all.

Ford Design Defect Verdict Overturned

Reversing a $3 million verdict for a driver who was injured when his car's accelerator jammed and smashed into a brick wall, a federal appeals court said the plaintiff's expert was not qualified to testify about the accelerator.

The U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals said that the expert should not have been allowed to testify because he had not published or given scholarly support for his opinion. The appellate panel said the trial judge had "abandoned his gatekeeping duties" and should have excluded the expert's testimony.

"The fact that an expert witness was 'subject to a thorough and extensive examination' does not ensure the reliability of the expert's testimony; such testimony must still be assessed before it is presented to the jury," the court said.