DC Circuit - The FindLaw DC Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

This week, the federal district court in the District of Columbia awarded the parents of Otto Warmbier half-a-billion dollars for the death of their son at the hands of North Korean officials.

It is alleged that Otto was severely tortured for a minor offense and returned to the U.S. in a coma, and he later succumbed to his injuries. Otto was alleged to have removed a propaganda poster, and the evidence clearly shows that he was subjected to horrific acts of torture. North Korea did not respond to the lawsuit, and the massive judgment was ordered after a default judgment was entered.

The public loves a good mystery, and the secret case unfolding before the watchful eye of the mystery-hungry media is surely generating quite a bit of buzz.

The case is believed to involve the Mueller probe and a Russian or other foreign corporation, however, that's all speculation. All that is really known is that "the Corporation" located in "Country A" has been fighting a subpoena claiming the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act protects them. Unfortunately for the undisclosed company, neither the district court, nor did the D.C. Circuit panel agree.

DC Circuit Hears Transgender Military Ban Arguments

Gender dysphoria was a puzzling subject of debate before the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Arguing for President Trump's policy against transgenders in the military, a government lawyer said people with the condition are not fit for service. Representing the plaintiffs, a private attorney, said the policy unlawfully discriminates against them.

The appeals court listened, but had some questions about the condition. One judge said transgender individuals have gender dysphoria by definition, don't they?

Judge Tells White House to Give Jim Acosta His Press Pass Back

To its credit, CNN reported the news straight: "Judge Orders White House to Return Jim Acosta's Press Pass."

The news agency could have spun the story much differently because Acosta works for CNN. The headline could have read: "Judge Schools Trump on the First Amendment," or "Acosta Beats Trump in Whitehouse Throwdown."

But no, there was no fake news to sensationalize the report. The judge granted a temporary restraining order against the president.

The federal circuit appellate court for the District of Columbia will soon be getting a replacement for the seat recently vacated by rookie SCOTUS Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

President Donald Trump, on the holiday of Diwali, announced that he has nominated the Administrator for the White House's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Neomi Rao, for the open seat on the D.C. circuit bench. Rao may not have prior experience as a federal judge, but she did clerk for the Supreme Court under Justice Thomas, and on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.

The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia has ordered Robert Mueller and Roger Stone's attorneys to file briefs explaining how the ouster of Attorney General Jeff Sessions impacts their case.

Notably, due to Sessions having recused himself from overseeing the Mueller probe, the big question being asked by pundits is whether Matthew Whitaker, Sessions' replacement, will also recuse himself. As of yet, there does not seem to be any indication that he will do so. And that raises the even bigger question of whether Whitaker will acquiesce to President Trump's demands to "STOP THE WITCH HUNT" against him and end the Mueller probe.

Court Resolves Fee Dispute in Native American Land Trust

Tribal lawsuits make headlines sometimes because they are like cases from a different country.

Technically, they are because Native American tribes exist as sovereign nations within the United States. In Cobell v. Zinke, the underlying case involved an historic dispute over a tribal land trust.

But the issue before the DC Circuit Court of Appeals this time addressed only the attorney's fees in the case. It didn't matter much to the tribes, but it was a big deal for one attorney.

Joe Arpaio Sues New York Times for Libel

Joe Arpaio -- the sheriff most famous for being convicted and then pardoned -- is suing the New York Times for libel.

The former Arizona sheriff says the newspaper has ruined his chances of winning political office. The suit is based on a Times opinion piece about Arpaio's failed run for the U.S. Senate.

The headline said his loss was "a fitting end to the public life of a truly sadistic man." Of course, Arpaio's public life is not really over because he's making his own headlines.

Last month, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia struck down several provisions of President Trump's Executive Orders issued in May of this year. The trio of EOs limited the power of federal employee unions, and as commentators explained, would make it easier to fire union employees.

However, not pleased with the federal court ruling that several provisions could not be enforced, the Justice Department has filed their notice of appeal to the DC Circuit Court.

Former Exec Sues Cushman & Wakefield for Race, Gender Discrimination

Nicole Urquhart-Bradley, a former executive at Cushman & Wakefield, says the "old boys club" there is alive and well.

As the only black woman in her position, she should know because she was once the firm's "ambassador for diversity." But in Urquhart-Bradley v. Cushman & Wakefield, she says she was held back and ultimately fired.

Her lawyers want $30 million in the race and gender case. Apparently, the cost of membership in the old boys club has gone up.