U.S. Fourth Circuit - FindLaw

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

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.

4th Cir. to Rehear Cell-Site Surveillance Tower Case

The Fourth Circuit agreed to rehear the cell-site tower case United States v. Graham, which further probes the questions of the Fourth Amendment's application to an increasingly mobile, digital world.

The grant of the U.S. Government's petition effectively means that there will be some delay in Graham reaching the country's highest court -- thereby delaying a much sought final word from SCOTUS.

ACLU Appeals School's Bathroom Ban on Transgender Student

The ACLU has filed an appeal to the Fourth Circuit in a case involving Gavin Grimm, a transgender student who has sought to overturn a ban against his use of the boys' bathroom at his school. The Gloucester County Public Schools (GCPS) in Virginia put into practice a rule that has the effect of keeping Grimm out of the boys' bathroom, even though he identifies as male.

The ACLU has described the practice as a discriminatory bathroom policy, and has also claimed that the policy is in violation of Equal Protection and Title IX of the U.S. Education Amendments of 1972.

The government cannot search extended cell phone location records without a warrant, the Fourth Circuit ruled last Wednesday. Cell phone service providers routinely collect and record cell site location information, creating detailed reports of where a phone was and when. Should the government wish to look at that information over an extended time frame -- a phone's location over a 221-day period, for example -- it must obtain a valid warrant, the Fourth ruled.

The ruling, which has been praised by privacy advocates and civil liberties groups, creates a split with several other circuit courts. As commentators note, the issue raised is primed to end up before the Supreme Court in short order.

Jail time is becoming ever more likely for former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, who was convicted of public corruption charges last year. McDonnell's conviction stemmed from accepting $177,000 in loans, gifts, and other perks in exchange for promoting a friend's dietary supplements.


McDonnell was sentenced to two years in prison but has remained free while he appeals the conviction. The Fourth Circuit rejected his appeal last week, bringing him one step closer to serving time.

The Washington Redskins keep getting tackled in court. The controversially-named NFL team lost another legal battle today when a federal district court ordered the cancellation of their trademark registrations, rejecting their claims that the Lanham Act was overbroad and unconstitutional.

The decision by the E.D. Va. tracked with a previous ruling by the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, finding that the Redskins trademark violated the Lanham Act's prohibition on registering marks which "may disparage" others or "bring them into contempt or disrepute." So, touchdown for Native American activists who have long criticized the NFL team for using what many consider to be a racial slur as its name.

Well, I wish I'd known this earlier. Apparently, you can make a career as a treasure hunter, even in these modern times. Though it's not easy, as the Columbus-America Discovery Group learned when they went into receivership after collecting sunken treasure from the S.S. Central America. Their lawyer -- and I suppose lawyers are a type of treasure hunter as well -- moved to claim some of that gold himself as a reward for his aid in "the continuing salvage of the sunken" treasure fleet.

Sadly, the Fourth Circuit didn't find attorney Richard Robol's contribution to be as worthy as he claimed. His "contribution to the recovery" was largely what was required from him by law and his professional duties -- it was not the voluntary assistance that could afford him salvage rights, the Court found.

The South Carolina Coastal Conservation League's lawsuit to prevent the loss of freshwater marshland on the banks of the Back and Savannah Rivers can't go ahead, the Fourth Circuit ruled today. When a developer sought to flood longstanding freshwater marshes with saltwater, the environmental group argued that doing so would remove important habitat and release contaminants.

Except, after the suit was filed, the developers found that the freshwater marshes were in fact already quite salty. Saltier than the ocean water which would flood them. That rendered the League's suit moot, the Fourth Circuit found, since the injury they claimed can no longer be redressed.