U.S. Fourth Circuit - FindLaw

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

Maryland's Assault Weapon Ban Deserves Strict Scrutiny, 4th Cir. Rules

In a 2-1 decision, the Fourth Circuit vacated a ruling by a Maryland district court which held that the Firearms Safety Act of 2013 was constitutional under the erroneously applied standard of intermediate review. The case, Kolbe v. Hogan, has been sent back to the lower district court for another round under the more exacting strict scrutiny standard.

This practically ensures that the portion of the law banning assault weapons and large capacity magazines will be found unconstitutional. Compare this result to the recently decided Highland Park decision in the Second Circuit. NRA-ILA and other interested groups have been celebrating the Fourth Circuit's decision.

Payday loans tend to be exploitative. Tribal payday loans tend to be really exploitative, since those quick cash advances can be made outside the restrictions placed on non-tribal lenders. That means payday loans with annual percentage rates of over 500 percent in some of the worst cases.

This case isn't about the legality of the usurious loans themselves, however. It's about the allegedly illegal practices used to collect on borrowers' debts. And those borrowers are finally getting some good news -- their ability to bring suit challenging debt collection practices is not limited by their loan agreements' arbitration clause, the Fourth Circuit ruled last Tuesday, holding that arbitration agreements cannot categorically reject the "requirements of state and federal law."

Cops Get Immunity After Tasing Man Suffering Mental Illness

The Fourth Circuit's Court of Appeals laid down clear law in ruling that the police may only use their tasers against persons who pose an "immediate safety risk."

Unfortunately, this law came a little too late for Ronald Armstrong, a mentally ill man who was accidentally killed by police who'd hoped the "excruciating pain" would produce a desired effect of "compliance."

"Drop and give me 14 push-ups! Or 30, if you're a dude." That, in essence, is the gender-based difference in the Federal Bureau of Investigation's physical fitness exam for special agent trainees. Men must be able to complete 30 push-ups to pass the physical exam; women are required to hit just 14.

And that's perfectly fine, the Fourth Circuit ruled on Monday, after a male trainee who was just one push-up short of 30 sued, arguing the test illegally discriminated on the basis of sex.

Officers Can't Lie About a Search Warrant: No 'Good Faith' Exception

The Fourth Circuit's Court of Appeals drew a line in the sand for the Fourth Amendment unreasonable search by declaring that a "good-faith" motivation to protect a witness does not pass the good faith search warrant exceptions under the Exclusionary Rule Doctrine.

Let this be the case that stands for the rule of thumb: "white lies" can taint searches.

GEICO Investigators Get Overtime, 4th Circuit Rules

The federal Appeals Court of the Fourth Circuit found for several GEICO employees in an FLSA suit. The court ruled that the insurance company fell short of proving that the plaintiffs were an exempted class of worker for purposes of overtime pay.

Murder-for-Hire Case Ends Badly When Witnesses Fail to Show Up

In a murder-for-hire case that has all the hallmarks of a mafia series, the Fourth Circuit affirmed a lower district court's ruling by denying a petition for review of habeas and essentially affirmed a contested application of the doctrine under AEDPA.

The opinion is long, but the facts of this case are worth it.

4th Cir. Sidelines College Football Player Who Survived Heatstroke

Gavin Class, the Towson University football lineman who underwent a staggering 14 surgeries after he nearly died of heatstroke during practice will not be returning to the field, ruled the Court of Appeals.

The 4th Circuit ruled that it was required to defer to Towson University's policies and judgment regarding whether or not Class could be cleared to play. Despite the setback, the court praised Class for his accomplishments and declared that he "can be proud to tell his story."

The Fourth Circuit just tossed a conviction of a man who photographed himself and a 7-year-old girl having sex, the Associated Press reported.

Now before readers take up pitch-forks and torches, it should be noted that the circuit did nothing more than review whether or not the lower court applied the law correctly.

Redskins' Lawyers File this Year's Raunchiest Brief in 4th Circuit

If someone were to tell you that the term "JIZZ underwear" would be used to argue for the very core of copyright and trademark, you'd think you'd stumbled onto a dirty website, right?

That term, including many other equally racy or offensive trademarks were cited as examples by the Redskin's legal team in their appellate brief filed with the Fourth Circuit. The argument: the 2014 PTO's canceling of six trademarks for the "Washington Redskins" amounts to unequal treatment under the law.