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February 2012 Archives

Third Circuit Affirmed on LIA Federal Preemption

The Supreme Court affirmed the Third Circuit Court of Appeals dismissal of Kurns v. Railroad Friction Products today, agreeing with the Philadelphia-based appellate court that the Locomotive Inspection Act (LIA) preempts Pennsylvania tort law claims for asbestos exposure.

Plaintiff George Corson, spent 27 years as a locomotive welder and machinist, installing brakeshoes on locomotives and stripping insulation from locomotive boilers, both of which contained asbestos. After Corson developed mesothelioma, which is caused solely by asbestos exposure, he sued 59 railroad-related defendants in Pennsylvania state court, claiming that the defendants’ defective design and failure to warn caused his injuries.

Cop-Blocked: No Reasonable Suspicion for St. Thomas Traffic Stop

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a district court to grant an appellant’s motion for suppression this week, finding that the police did not have reasonable suspicion to stop the appellant's car and conduct a search.

Police officers in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands stopped Ahmoi Lewis after receiving a tip from a reliable source that individuals in a white Toyota Camry with the number 181 in the license plate were carrying firearms. The tipster did not provide details about the legal status of the guns.

Wilmington Suspends Instant Ticketing Program

Wilmington is suspending and revising its Instant Ticketing Program after the Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the program violated due process rights.

Last year, the Third Circuit ruled in favor of plaintiffs Christine Dowd, Damon Morris, and Roy Morris, finding that a 2008 New Castle ordinance establishing a civil, “Instant Ticketing Program” for sanitation code violations was “patently an unconstitutional procedure,” according to The News Journal.

The Third Circuit Prefers Short Briefs

Brevity is the soul of wit ... and of briefs in the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.

It seems that the Third Circuit is tired of the lawyers asking for permission to add extra pages to their briefs. Last month, the court issued a standing order warning appellate attorneys against filing motions to exceed the page limitations of the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure.

Public Projects of Steel? Only If It's Made in America

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals recently upheld a Pennsylvania state law - the Pennsylvania Steel Products Procurement Act - requiring American-made steel in public works projects unless there wasn’t a sufficient amount available.

A Delaware corporation, Mabey Bridge & Shore Inc., had challenged the law, but a lower court granted summary judgment in favor of Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Transportation. Mabey then appealed the case to the Third Circuit, arguing that the law was pre-empted by the federal Buy American Act and violated the Commerce, Contract and Equal Protection clauses of the U.S. Constitution.

Super Bowl Indecency Decision in Spotlight after NBC Bird Fumble

Once again, another Super Bowl is overshadowed by the shenanigans of its half-time performers. First it was Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction during the 2004 Super Bowl, and now it’s singer M.I.A.’s bird-flipping during the 2012 Super Bowl.

In the midst of all the screams of moral corruption, the spotlight has returned to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision to toss the FCC’s $550,000 indecency fine against CBS for broadcasting Jackson’s nipple-slip because the FCC “improperly imposed a penalty on CBS for violating a previously unannounced policy.”

Whitney Houston Wins Appeal Over Step-Mother's Lawsuit

It’s sad when family members turn against each other over financial matters. Sad, but not rare - especially when it comes to bickering over the fortunes of celebrity super-stars.

Luckily for Whitney Houston, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals recently held that her father wasn’t “saving all [his money]” for his widow’s house.