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Guard Allegedly Encouraged Inmate's Suicide, Reviving Lawsuit

Ever have one of those days when everything seems to go wrong?

From the moment you roll out of bed and stub your toe, you know it's going to be one of those days. That's how it must have felt for Joan Mullin, only much worse.

She sued prison officials for contributing to her son's suicide. Then her lawyer misfiled some key evidence, and her case was dismissed.

Fortunately, Murphy's law is not a real law. Mullin finally got some relief from the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Mullin v. Balicki.

Stephanos Bibas Makes it to the 3rd Circuit

Justice Stephanos Bibas made it to the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals by a Senate vote of 53-43.

He won largely along party lines with only one Democrat crossing the aisle to vote for the Republican nominee. It was close during a week when four judges were confirmed to federal appeals courts.

Critics said Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was rushing the process. But for Bibas, who has never been a judge, it was still a win.

Deaf, Blind Moviegoer Wins Accommodation Appeal

What's the fun for someone sitting in an empty movie theatre?

Exactly, there is none. That's the point the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals made in reversing and remanding McGann v. Cinemark U.S.A., Inc.

The plaintiff, who was deaf and blind, had a right to experience a movie through special interpreters. The theater needs to accommodate him or explain why it cannot, the court said.

Court Denies Sunoco Request for Arbitration

Arbitration agreements are not what they used to be, at least not as far as Sunoco is concerned.

The gasoline company sought to compel arbitration in an alleged fraud involving Citibank, claiming the plaintiff Donald White signed an arbitration agreement with the credit card company. White alleged Sunoco induced him to sign up for a rewards card but did not give him promised discounts.

The U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals said Sunoco wasn't part of the arbitration agreement in White v. Sunoco, Inc. The proposed class-action will move forward.

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.