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'Disturbing' Law Seeks to Protect Students

Judges are not supposed to read the newspapers in making their decisions, but it's hard to ignore the news.

According to reports, there has been an average of one school shooting each week in 2018. The number of student victims is even more sobering.

In the U.S Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, the judges had to look beyond the news when considering a "disturbing schools law." Nobody was close to being shot in Kenny v. Wilson, but apparently lawmakers were not sure about how to keep the troublemakers away.

'Peace Cross' Conflict Continues

An appeals court battle over Maryland's 40-foot 'Peace Cross' is over, but the conflict will go on.

The U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals refused en banc to hear American Humanist Association v. Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission. A three-judge panel ruled last year that the World War I memorial had the "primary effect of endorsing religion and exclusively entangles the government in religion."

The en banc court, split by multiple dissenters, declined to reconsider that decision. In the meantime, the "Peace Cross" supporters are taking their fight to the next level.

Court: Manufacturer Not Liable for WaveRunner Injury

When you see youngsters racing by on motorcycles, you might wonder if they make it to adulthood.

Chances are they do, but it helps if they have a helmet, boots and other protective clothing. Now think about those kids skimming across the ocean on those water motorcycles.

They may not need helmets, but they definitely need protective wear. Deborah Meek Hickerson didn't think so in Hickerson v. Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A.

4th Circuit Strikes Travel Ban 3.0 for Discrimination

President Trump's on-again, off-again travel ban is off again, at least in principle.

The U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals said the ban -- the third one -- is unconstitutional. The appeals court said in International Refugee Assistance Project v. Trump that the ban wrongfully discriminates against people of Islamic faith.

However, the decision does not supersede the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in December that allowed the ban to stand pending litigation. If you are confused, you may want to get off the bus now because it's headed back to Washington.

Court Returns Proof of Service to Sender in Terrorist Bombing Case

After al Qaeda bombed a U.S. ship on Oct. 12, 2000 -- killing 17 sailors and injuring dozens more -- the survivors fought back through lawsuits against Sudan for supporting the terrorists.

As the plaintiffs navigated the judicial system, however, they ran into an obstacle: the United States of America. The government opposed some of the sailors' claims because of a technical issue: service of process.

A trial judge ruled that service by mail to the Sudanese embassy in the U.S. was sufficient. In Kumar v. Reublican of Sudan, a federal appeals court reversed and remanded.

Posner Going Back to Court -- as an Advocate

Former Judge Richard Posner may have retired, but he definitely is not going away.

He ruled for almost 37 years at the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, then abruptly turned his attention to reforming the court system by helping pro se litigants. However, the U.S. Fourth Circuit said his "advisory counsel" services were "not needed."

But not even a federal circuit, where Posner loomed large for decades, can keep him out of the courtroom. He will be appearing in the Fourth Circuit whether the judges like it or not.

Court: 'Peace Cross' on Public Land Is Unconstitutional

Somewhere, hippies are rolling over in their graves.

"The Peace Cross," a 40-foot monument in Maryland, has been ruled unconstitutional. A divided federal appeals court said it "has the primary effect of endorsing religion and exclusively entangles the government in religion."

It doesn't matter, the court said, that it has been there for 90 years as a memorial to men who died in World War I. Actually, the soldiers may be rolling over in their graves.

Last-Minute Filing Rocks the Boat in Maritime Case

This case is about ships passing in the night, or at least pleadings just missing each other in a maritime case.

Dr. Amr Fawzy sued a boat manufacturer for selling him a defective yacht. Just before the court filed an order dismissing his case, the plaintiff filed an amended complaint.

Fawzy appealed the dismissal, but the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed the appeal because the amended complaint was the operative pleading.

Endangered Species Act Protects Zoo Animals From Disruptive Treatment

Pacing around concrete pits at the Cherokee Bear Zoo, four bears begged for food from visitors.

Patrons obliged, throwing apples and dry bread supplied by the zoo. Two visitors, however, walked away disgusted.

Peggy Hill and Amy Walker, members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, sued for inhumane treatment of the endangered animals. A court decision in the case should cause zoo keepers to re-evaluate their practices.

Circuit Court Affirms Immunity in False Arrest

Jan Eshow was driving his family along a Virginia road when police pulled him over for speeding.

Moments later, the police arrested Eshow on a warrant from a fraud case that had been filed against him. They handcuffed the man, placed him in the cop car and drove off while his family watched. It got even worse for his wife, Sadwa Safar.

The problem was, the fraud charges were not true. Safar and Eshow sued the officer and a prosecutor, but a federal appeals court said in Safar v. Tingle that they were immune from civil liability.