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

March 2012 Archives

Judge Removed from Case for Bias, 3rd Circuit Appoints New Judge

If you’ve ever argued in federal court, you know that the judge is a gatekeeper who can make or break your case. So it’s not unusual that an attorney might feel that the judge is leaning towards or against a particular side. But removing a judge isn’t always an option. Recently, however, the Third Circuit considered claims that a judge was biased and had the judge removed from a case.

In a filing on March 28, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit removed U.S. District Court Judge Arthur J. Schwab from a case after lawyers for West Penn Allegheny alleged that he was biased. The lawyers claimed that Judge Schwab exhibited a “worrisome practice of misstating and mischaracterizing” their positions, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

eDiscovery is Pricey: Not All Costs Recoverable 3rd Circ. Says

To what extent can the prevailing party of a civil case transfer the costs of eDiscovery to the losing party in a case? The Third Circuit Court of Appeals addressed this issue in an opinion filed on March 19, 2012. This is an interesting case, largely due to the fact that it was a matter of first impression for the Third Circuit. While other circuits have addressed the issue, the results are conflicting.

The costs of eDiscovery in litigation can be astronomical. The law currently allows the prevailing party to recover the “fees for exemplification and the costs of making copies of any materials.” Once upon a time, this referred to photocopies.

Interest Paid by State Under Installment Agreement is Tax-Exempt

Tax-Exempt Bonds: The Third Circuit Court of Appeals held, in IRS v. DeNaples, that Internal Revenue Code Section 103 provided an exemption from federal income tax to interest payments paid under an installment agreement by the State to Taxpayers.

Taxpayers Dominick and Louis DeNaples were both partners in several entities that owned an interest in parcels of real property in Pennsylvania. The land was acquired by the State to build the Lackawana Valley Industrial Highway through condemnation and in 2001, the Taxpayers entered into an agreement whereby the state would pay them $40.9 million ($24.6 million in principal and $16.3 million in "settlement" interest) in exchange for the ownership interest in the land.

Estate May Sue ERISA 401(k) Beneficiary for Proceeds

If a divorced man fails to remove his ex-wife as a beneficiary of his 401(k) plan, does she get the proceeds, despite the fact that she may have waived those rights in divorce?

And if she gets the proceeds by virtue of the operation of the plan, can the estate sue her to recover those proceeds?

Employees Must Abide by Mandatory Arbitration Agreements

Do employees waive their rights to bring a class action lawsuit when they sign mandatory arbitration agreements?

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals says yes, in a recent opinion. Employees who consent to mandatory arbitration clauses in their employment agreements must arbitrate any controversy instead of litigating it.

Race and Redistricting: Ardmore Students Take Case to SCOTUS

Last December, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals found in favor of the Lower Merion School District, in Pennsylvania, in a case that alleged that a plan to reassign certain students to a different school was racially motivated.

Now, nine African American students from Ardmore are petitioning the U.S. Supreme Court to review the Third Circuit’s decision, reports The Philadelphia Inquirer.

3rd Circuit Rules in Favor of Synapse Group and Denies Class Cert.

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed an order of the District Court. The District Court denied class certification to a group of plaintiffs who were challenging the marketing practices of Synapse Group, a wholly owned subsidiary of Time Inc. Synapse is the largest marketer of magazine subscriptions in the United States.

The Third Circuit ruled that none of the appellants were current Synapse customers and lacked standing to seek the remedy they were pursuing on behalf of the class.

Haverford Township Seeks Legal Fees from Man Who Sued Cop

Last week, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals held in favor of Haverford Township in a police brutality case.

This week, the township is seeking to recoup costs from the plaintiff for expenses incurred by the township while fighting the claim and the appeal.

Five Things to Know About Third Circuit Nominee Patty Shwartz

Here at FindLaw, we understand the pressures of being a legal professional - most of us are recovering lawyers - so we want to help by tossing you that preferred life preserver of the legal profession, the short list.

Today’s offering: Third Circuit Court of Appeals judicial nominee Patty Shwartz.