U.S. Third Circuit - FindLaw

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


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Does Old, Converted Housing Have to Comply With Fair Housing Act?

It's a fair question that deserves to be asked: does old but converted housing have to comply with the Fair Housing Act?

No, say federal courts... so long as those converted buildings are built before March 13, 1991.

As a member of the U.S. Army Reserve, Michel Davis served for half a year in Iraq and three years in Afghanistan. And while he was fighting abroad, taxes were piling up on his Philadelphia home. Eventually, Davis's home was foreclosed upon, despite his repeated attempts to limit delinquent property taxes and penalties under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act -- requests that were repeatedly denied.

Davis sued, arguing that the denial of relief under SCRA violated his rights. But, the Third Circuit noted last week, Davis's arguments had a fatal flaw: he had transferred his house to his company before leaving for his tours of duty and businesses simply don't qualify as servicemembers under the SCRA.

3rd Cir. Tosses Anti-Trust Suit Against Sanofi-Aventis, Twists Knife

Judge Jane Roth of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in New Jersey soundly dismissed the Eisai v. Sanofi-Aventis anti-competition lawsuit in her court when she denounced every one of the characterizations Eisai had used to describe Sanofi's conduct, reports Reuters. Finally, this thing looks put to bed.

It's a major win for the large pharmaceutical company that will be holding the attention of industry regulars for at least a few weeks.

Prosecutor Misconduct in Murder Case Didn't Render Trial Unfair

Prosecutorial misconduct did not render a murder trial fundamentally unfair according to the Third Circuit, affirming the lower court. What kind of misconduct are we talking about? The misconduct included repeated suggestion that the defendant's freedom would threaten the jurors' safety, the suggestion that the defendant's discarded firearm would endanger children, and repeated showings of images of a bloodied corpse the defendant had shot.

Seven women who have accused Bill Cosby of sexual assault could soon have access to files regarding Cosby's confidential settlement with a prior accuser. A judge in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania denied Bill Cosby's motion to squash a subpoena for the case files from his suit and settlement with Andrea Constand.

Constand entered into a confidential settlement with Cosby in 2006, but that doesn't mean her case file can be withheld from discovery, Judge Anita Brody ruled.

The Supreme Court declined to hear a challenge to the EPA's Chesapeake Bay cleanup plan last week, letting stand a Third Circuit ruling that the program did not violate the Clean Water Act. In order to address stubborn, persistent agricultural pollution in one of the nation's largest estuaries, the EPA instituted a complex scheme to regulate key pollutants being discharged into the Bay.

Agricultural interests and developers sued, arguing that the cleanup plan went beyond what the Clean Water Act allowed and usurped the powers of the states. Had their arguments been successful, the EPA could have seen its efforts to address stubborn water pollution hampered in a major way.

Child Welfare Agents Enjoy Immunity From Suit, 3rd Circuit Rules

Child welfare workers who took away a child from its mother during an investigation into her possible drug use enjoy immunity from suit because there was no notice that they were violating a clear constitutional right.

The case grew out of an unfortunate case of domestic violence where the mother attempted to abscond with the baby to a private residence without prior approval from the Division of Child Protection and Permanency.

The Third Circuit dealt the final blow to a long-running whistleblower suit last Tuesday. Jeffrey Wiest, a former accounts payable manager for Tyco Electronics, alleged that he had been illegally terminated in retaliation for raising concerns over expenditures on lavish parties featuring mermaid greeters, pirate performers and fire dancers. He sued, claiming that his firing months later violated the anti-retaliation provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

The Third Circuit wasn't convinced, however, finding that Wiest had failed to show that his termination was connected to his mermaid expenditures complaints, rather than a later, independent sexual harassment investigation.

While Donald Trump campaigns to 'make America great again,' the Atlantic City casinos bearing his name have been doing anything but great. Trump casinos, hotels, and resorts have filed for bankruptcy no less than four times. The Trump Taj Mahal Casino first went into Chapter 11 in 1991, then again in September of 2014.

That most recent bankruptcy led to a protracted battle with the casino's union workers, who lost their bid to hold the Taj Mahal to its contracts last Friday, when the Third Circuit ruled that the bankruptcy code allowed debtors to escape their collective bargaining agreements.