U.S. Third Circuit - FindLaw

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


The Donald isn't the only Trump child looking to make a name in government. In fact, while Donald Trump is just getting started on his governmental ambitions, his sister, Maryanne Trump Barry, has been in public service for decades, having worked as a U.S. Attorney, district court judge and, currently, a senior judge for the Third Circuit.

Though she hasn't made as many headlines as her brother, Maryanne Trump Barry shares a bit of his political DNA. Like Donald, she's brash, outspoken, and not exactly progressive when it comes to women or immigration.

Congratulations are in order to the Nurse Ratcheds of the world. The Third Circuit ruled Tuesday that New Jersey can forcibly medicate institutionalized, mentally ill patients in state custody.

The appeal came after Disability Rights New Jersey challenged the forced-medication, arguing that it violated the Americans with Disabilities Act and the patients' due process rights. The Third Circuit disagreed, finding that the institutionalized were not discriminated against and had sufficient process available before being medicated.

The Third Circuit clarified trademark confusion standards under the Lanham Act last week. In a case involving two financial services firms, the court re-emphasized that a trademark is infringed when another mark is so similar that it is likely to cause confusion.

That's just confusion itself, not confusion to purchasers or confusion to customers, the Third Circuit ruled. This ruling reversed a lower court's determination that a trademark was unlikely to be infringed because evidence of confusion was not from "actual customers."

Employers cannot simply reject a faulty request for medical leave filed under the Family and Medical Leave Act, the Third Circuit ruled on Monday. Rather, employers have a duty to inform their workers about their request's deficiency and allow them an opportunity to correct it.

The case came after Deborah Hansel, a nurse's assistant at Lehigh Valley Health Network in Pennsylvania, requested medical leave for a then undiagnosed condition. After taking days off, the hospital fired her. At her termination, the hospital only stated that her request was faulty and had been denied.

Victims in Pennsylvania who have been awarded punitive damages cannot collect damages against their tortfeasor's insurer, the Third Circuit ruled last Friday. Their ruling stems from the Keystone State's public policy against allowing individuals to insure against punitive damages.

Allowing the victims to collect punitive damages from the insurers (through an assigned breach of contract and bad faith claim) would circumvent the punitive purpose of the damages, the circuit found.

The confirmation hearing went well for Judge L. Felipe Restrepo in early June. After long delays for Judge Restrepo, it shouldn't be long before the 3rd Circuit officially welcomes their new judge to the bench.

A longtime judge on the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Restrepo received President Obama's nomination for the circuit court on November 12th. From the beginning on this process, the judge's public supporters have included Pennsylvania senators Bob Casey and Pat Toomey.

The operator of a home hospice care company had his Medicare fraud, conspiracy, and money laundering convictions upheld by the Third Circuit recently. Matthew Kolodesh had claimed that his conviction was obtained through prosecutorial misconduct.

He alleged that the prosecutors improperly relied upon a recording of him planning to defraud Medicare and improperly introduced stereotypes that Russians sought to "game the system." The Third Circuit, however, disagreed, finding that the prosecutor's actions were appropriate given the context.

Chaka Fattah Jr. just wanted to start an education company. Now he's facing a slew of legal issues, including a 23-count indictment.

Fattah Jr., son of the Pennsylvania congressman, has been the center of attention in Philadelphia since 2012 concerning alleged tax fraud and misuse of bank loans. He faces up to $13 million in fines from the IRS. The ongoing legal dispute took a bad turn for Fattah on June 1st when the Third Circuit dismissed his appeal.

No Anticipatory Invocation of Miranda, Says Penn. Sup. Ct.

Ever since Miranda v. Arizona, the right to remain silent, and its companion, the right to have an attorney present during questioning, has been walked back both by the U.S. Supreme Court and various state supreme courts.

Earlier this week, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that a person can't invoke his Fifth Amendment right to counsel under Miranda in anticipation of police questioning. Along with a recent decision of the California Supreme Court, Pennsylvania's decision moves Miranda's temporal period in favor of the police.

A large class action law firm has filed a writ of mandamus with the Third Circuit, seeking to prevent a court appointed special master from interviewing its plaintiffs. The firm, Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro, gained prominence due to its role in the $260 billion tobacco settlement in the late 1990s, but recently received sanctions for thalidomide lawsuits which were described as "bad-faith advocacy" which "gives new meaning to 'frivolous.'"

As the cases began to falter, and sanctions began to mount, Hagens Berman sought to dismiss them en masse. That led to the special master seeking to interview the plaintiffs, in order to determine if they had knowingly agreed to abandoned their cases.