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

November 2012 Archives

Court Requires 'Substantial Evidence' of Break in Impasse

When Hostess was unable to reach a labor agreement with union leaders, the company found itself in bankruptcy court.

When Erie Brush & Manufacturing failed to reach an agreement with its union reps, it found itself before the National Labor Relations Board on unfair labor practice charges.

An NLRB Administrative Law Judge Board concluded that Erie had violated the National Labor Relations Act by refusing to bargain with the Union over an approximately six-week period in 2006. The ALJ held that this refusal to bargain tainted a union decertification petition, so that Erie's withdrawal of recognition of the Union also violated the Act.

This week, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed that decision.

Hearst Trumps Master Slack in Good-Nite Union Decertification Case

There are plenty of business owners who dislike dealing with unions, but bigwigs are limited in what actions they can take to dissolve their employees' unions.

For example: Cornering staff members and asking them to sign a union decertification petition? Not okay.

There's No Right to Import Endangered Species Trophies

You might expect that a group called Conservation Force would be militantly committed to conserving wildlife or plant life. Instead, this "wildlife conservation" group actually wants to preserve hunting, because it "uniquely provides self-actualization, completeness and expression which are complex, higher order needs deserving of protection."

And what better way to achieve self-actualization and completeness than to display an endangered species hunting trophy?

The obstacle on this path completeness? The Endangered Species Act.

Software Pirate's Gain Not Necessarily Adobe Systems' Loss

In 2009, Gregory Fair pleaded guilty to criminal copyright infringement and mail fraud after selling more than $1 million in pirated copies of Adobe Systems programs on eBay. In addition to a 41-month prison sentence, the court ordered Fair to pay Adobe $743,098 in restitution, The Washington Post reports.

Last week, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals vacated the restitution order.

Government Appeals Guantanamo Lawyer Access Ruling

Guantanamo Bay detainees' lawyers could once again be fighting for their clients' constitutional rights before the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

You may recall the Boumedienne v. Bush — the landmark Supreme Court decision holding that Guantanamo detainees have a constitutional right to habeas corpus — matriculated from the D.C. Circuit. The latest issue to evolve from that decision is whether a detainee has a continued right to access counsel after a habeas petition is denied.

Navy Chaplain Lawsuit Has a Prayer of Success

Last week, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals gave a group of military chaplains another chance to pursue their 13-year-old discrimination case against the U.S. Navy, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The Navy maintains a Chaplain Corps of commissioned Naval officers who have the “responsibility … to provide for the free exercise of religion” for all members of the Navy and their families. Chaplains perform a “unique” role, serving both “as clergy or … professional representatives of a particular religious denomination and as … commissioned naval officers.” The Navy divides the Chaplain Corps into four “faith groups”: Catholic, liturgical Protestant, non-liturgical Protestant, and Special Worship.

In this case, “non-liturgical Protestant” military chaplains allege that the Navy systematically discriminates against members of their religious denominations when awarding promotions, thereby violating “the clearest command of the Establishment Clause … that one religious denomination cannot be officially preferred over another.”

Are Graphic Warning Labels Heading for En Banc Review?

The legal battle over the Food and Drug Administration's proposed graphic warning label requirements for cigarettes could be headed for one more round in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Justice Department, still stinging from its loss in the influential appellate court, is asking for en banc review of a panel decision finding that the FDA did not present substantial evidence showing that the new warnings would accomplish the agency's stated objective of reducing smoking rates, reports the Blog of Legal Times.

Tobacco companies oppose en banc review. Obviously.