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April 2012 Archives

Judge Janice Brown Writes Scathing Economic Rights Concurrence

A D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals case involving a dairy farmer is drawing attention, particularly in light of a concurring judge’s scathing opinion.

In a sharply worded concurrence, Judge Janice Rogers Brown of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals made the reluctance of her concurrence clear, as she explained that her vote on the three-judge panel was the result of decades of bad Supreme Court precedent.

NLRB Poster Rule on Hold While Appeal Pending in D.C. Circuit

On April 17, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals issued an injunction against the National Labor Relations Board, preventing it from implementing its new posting rule.

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace requested the injunction. Their legal challenge to the posting requirements was dismissed last month by a district court.

Judges Seem Unmoved by Tobacco Companies' Oral Arguments

Lawyers for cigarette makers faced an uphill battle before the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in their appeal on penalties from a 13-year-old case. On Friday, a three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments in U.S. v. Philip Morris USA Inc.

The defendants include Altria Group Inc (a unit of Philip Morris USA), R.J. Reynolds Tobacco and Lorillard Tobacco Co. The companies are appealing the District Court’s decision from a 1999 case brought under the Racketeer Influence and Corrupt Organizations Act.

Get Involved with the D.C. Circuit: Join the Pro-Bono Committee

Interested in becoming move involved with the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals? The Judicial Conference of the D.C. Circuit recently announced a vacancy on its Standing Committee on Pro-Bono Legal Services.

The role is for a 3-year term and will begin on July 1, 2012.

D.C. Circuit Rules Against New York-New York Hotel in Union Lawsuit

Here’s a case out of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals involving union activity and handbill-passing by non-employees.

It’s settled law that a property owner can’t bar its employees from distributing union-related handbills. It’s also well settled that the same law does not apply to non-employees.

But here’s where it gets tricky. What if an employee of an on-site vendor or on-site contractor wants to hand out handbills? Do the same rules apply? After all, the employee is not an employee of the property owner.

OSHA Violations Must be Reported Within 6 Months, DC Circuit Says

Last Friday, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that reporting violations under the Occupational Safety and Health Act could only be brought within a six-month period.

The appeals court decision reversed the decision of an administrative panel that gave a five-year statute of limitations on reporting OSHA violations.

Oral Arguments This Week on Graphic Cigarette Labels

On April 10, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals will be hearing oral arguments on the constitutionality of graphic images on cigarette packages.

On February 29, a U.S. District Court ruled that the images were unconstitutional. The labels in question include images of a sewn up cadaver and diseased lungs. The district court judge held that the images, which take up 20 percent of the cigarette carton, infringe upon the First Amendment free-speech rights of the tobacco companies.

Stay Pending Appeal Could Prevent Mootness, D.C. Circ. Says

Mootness is something every lawyer knows about, theoretically speaking. When obtaining equitable relief, however, the issue of mootness need to be thought of well in advance of appeal, as proper steps need to be taken early in the game.

Here’s an example from the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, where preemptive thinking could have kept the issue ripe for appeal.

Appeals Court Hears Oral Arguments in Iraq Contractor Case

Last month, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments in the Doe v. Rumsfeld case.

Citing Bivens v. Six Unknown Fed. Narcotics Agents as an authority, the case involved alleged detention and interrogation abuses against a U.S. military contractor, “John Doe,” in Iraq. Doe, an Arabic translator for a Marine intelligence unit, is a U.S. citizen.