U.S. Third Circuit - FindLaw

U.S. Third Circuit - The FindLaw 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog


Philadelphia's ban on noncommercial advertising in its airport violates the First Amendment and is an unreasonable use of government power, the Third Circuit ruled recently. That ban came after the NAACP paid, in 2011, to display a noncommercial advertisement proclaiming "Welcome to America, home to 5 percent of the world's people and 25 percent of the world's prisoners."

The city then banned all noncommercial advertisements in the Philadelphia International Airport, ostensibly to maximize revenue and avoid controversy. But, the Third Circuit found, there is little evidence that the ban accomplishes either of these goals, making it an unreasonable restriction on First Amendment rights to free speech.

Deposition documents that revealed Bill Cosby's extramarital affairs and use of Quaaludes as a seduction technique will not be resealed, the Third Circuit ruled on Monday. Those documents, which included a series of damaging admissions by the comedian, had been so widely disseminated that resealing the documents would do nothing to stop their public disclosure.

Cosby's admissions were made during depositions in a 2005 civil suit against Cosby, brought Andrea Constand, who accused Cosby of drugging and sexually assaulting her. Constand dropped her suit, but Cosby's deposition was eventually unsealed in response to a motion by the Associate Press last year, after dozens of women came forward with similar accusations.

Rare Double Eagle Coins Worth $75M Are Gov't Property, 3rd Cir. Says

Unless this nation's highest court grants cert to the Langbord family, ten very rare and highly prized 1933 Double Eagle $20 (face value) gold coins are -- and always have been -- the property of the United States of America.

By the way, that's not $200 that's at stake: it's at least $75 million. No wonder there was such a fight!

3rd Cir. Refuses to Kill Corruption Charges Against Sen. Menendez

The Third Circuit has refused to dismiss corruption and fraud charges against U.S. Senator Robert Menendez. The New Jersey senator is accused of accepting gifts in exchange for political favors, but he sought to have the charges dismissed, on the basis that the Constitution's "speech or debate" clause shielded him from prosecution.

That argument did not sway a three-judge panel. This is the last major obstacle to be cleared between the New Jersey legislator from what is most likely going to be a very uncomfortable trial.

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Court Tosses Turkey's Human Rights Suit Against Fethullah Gulen

A human rights violation lawsuit brought against the reclusive Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen has been dismissed by U.S. District Judge Robert Mariani in Pennsylvania, following the determination that plaintiffs failed to plead their case with sufficient particularity. Further, the court felt that forum non conveniens applied.

Google and Viacom Win Suit Over Tracking Children Online

The nationwide class action suit that involved Google and Nickelodeon allegedly tracking our innocent, innocent children was largely defeated by the defending companies recently. The Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit felt that planting cookies on children's computers and devices didn't run afoul of both state and federal laws, at least not the ones the parents identified.

It wasn't a complete victory for Viacom, Nickelodeon's parent company, though. The federal court allowed one privacy claim against the entertainment company stand as it had collected children's information despite promises not to do so. It looks like completely fibbing parents still isn't kosher in corporate America.

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3rd Circuit: Gov't Can't Treat K-4 Visas Like Tourist Visas

The Third Circuit took steps in a recent case to close an incongruous loophole in immigration law that leads to certain K-4 visa holders being removed wrongly. It reversed a Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) decision that earlier found that a young Chinese woman could not change her status to become a permanent United States resident.

The law as it has been generally applied, said the court, "contravenes congressional intent."

Abortion Clinic 'Buffer Zone' Case Revived by 3rd Circuit

The Third Circuit has revived a controversial buffer zone free speech case that challenged Pittsburgh's local ordinance establishing a 15-foot zone around abortion clinics. The zone was created to provide easier access for patients seeking to enter clinics without being verbally accosted by protesters and pro-life advocates.

It was not even a close call as the circuit voted 3-0, saying that protesters had a valid cause of action to pursue a suit against the city on theories that their free speech rights were violated under the Constitution.