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

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Divorce is painful enough, but beating a man to sign divorce papers? Oy vey!

Yet that's what three Jewish rabbis were doing. They kidnapped husbands, then beat and tortured them to finalize their religious divorces.

And you thought circumcision was painful!

In May, the Third Circuit ruled on a False Claims Act suit against Genentech. Other major decisions involved asbestos litigation, a petition for IRS relief, and a First Amendment retaliation claim. For a quick review of the top cases from May 2017, we've put together a list from the FindLaw Opinion Summary Archive:

FCA Suit Against Genentech Dismissed

A federal appeals court turned back a lawsuit that said Genentech concealed health risks about Avastin in seeking government approval for the cancer drug.

The U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals said the plaintiff did not show how Genentech's actions would have made any difference under the False Claims Act. In fact, the court said Gerasimos Petratos, the former head of analytics for the company and whistleblower in the suit, acknowledged that the government would have deemed any of the alleged violations insubsubstantial.

"He concedes that Genentech followed all pertinent statutes and regulations," the court said in Petratos v. Genentech. "If those laws and regulations are inadequate to protect patients, it falls to the other branches of government to reform them."

Fair Housing Claims Survive Death of a Party

Continuing a neighborhood dispute beyond the grave, a federal appeals court said that Fair Housing Act claims survive the death of a party.

The U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeal said in Revock v. Cowpet Bay West Condominium Association that the Act is silent about survival claims. However, in a case of first impression, the judges said that federal courts have already provided a uniform rule for survival in many cases.

"Whether a Fair Housing Act claim survives the death of a party is an issue where a uniform federal common law rule is appropriate to fulfill the 'overall purposes' of the statute," the appeals panel said.

The court then reversed a judgment and remanded the case in favor of a woman who died during the litigation and another plaintiff in the case.

Man Held in Contempt for Refusing to Unlock Devices in Child Porn Case

A federal appeals court affirmed a contempt ruling against a man who refused to give authorities passwords to his electronic devices known to have child pornography.

The U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals concluded that the defendant was in contempt of a trial court order to provide the passwords. The defendant claimed a right against self-incrimination, but the appellate court said the government already knew the devices contained child pornography and that it was "a foregone conclusion" the defendant knew the passwords.

"Based upon the testimony presented at the contempt proceeding, that fact is a foregone conclusion," Judge Thomas Vanaskie wrote for the court in United States of America v. Apple MacPro Computer.

For the first time, a federal appeals court has ruled that a resident doctor may sue a teaching hospital for gender discrimination under education laws.

Reversing and remanding a trial judge's dismissal, the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals said the former resident at Mercy Catholic Medical Center could proceed with her case under Title IX of the U.S. Education Amendments Act. The case was a matter of first impression in the circuit, which includes Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Refugee Students Can Go to International School Under EEOA

As a political storm swirls around refugees in America, a federal appeals court gave comfort to refugee students at a Pennsylvania high school.

The U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals said that the students -- some who had fled war and violence in Burma, Mozambique, Somalia, Sudan and Tanzania -- have a right to attend a high school that provides a better education for them. Citing the Equal Educational Opportunities Act, the court said the students do not have to go to an alternative school that did not help them overcome language barriers to their education.

Judge D. Michael Fisher, writing for the majority, said the refugee students were "flourishing" at McCaskey High School's International School. It would do them more harm to go to the Phoenix Academy, an alternative school that the local school district had mandated.

"Jockeying them back to Phoenix now would thus cause them greater harm, as the school district conceded during oral argument," Judge Fisher wrote.

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.

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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.