Decided - The FindLaw Noteworthy Decisions and Settlements Blog

April 2011 Archives

Health Care Law Won't Get Supreme Court Review, Yet

Without comment, the Supreme Court unanimously voted to deny a request by Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli asking the Court to expedite the health care appeal and skip over the 4th Circuit.

While the ruling itself wasn't surprising to those involved in health care litigation, it does provide some insight into what will happen next year when the case is likely to be back in front of the Court.

Schools Can Punish Students for Off-Campus Speech

In 2007, school administrators barred Avery Doninger from running for senior class secretary after it came to their attention that she had called school staff "douche bags" in a blog post made from her home computer.

The 2nd Circuit ruled Monday that the school was within its rights, as current student free speech jurisprudence does not clearly establish that it violated Doninger's First Amendment rights.

Mass. Police Can't Act on Smell of Burnt Marijuana in Car

Despite marijuana's distinct scent, Massachusetts' highest judicial authority, the Supreme Judicial Court (SJC), has ruled that the smell of marijuana alone is not sufficient enough for an officer to order an occupant out of a vehicle.

The reason? Possession of one ounce or less of marijuana is no longer a criminal offense in the state.

Strip Searches Don't Violate 4th Amendment, D.C. Circuit Rules

The D.C. Circuit has ruled that persons arrested for non-violent, non-drug-related misdemeanors may be subject to strip searches even without a showing of reasonable suspicion.

In other words, it's constitutional in D.C. to strip search a person who has been hauled in for trespassing.

Court Tosses Winklevoss Twins' Facebook Appeal

Despite his polite wording, the 9th Circuit's Chief Judge Kozinski put the smackdown on the Winklevoss twins and their hopefully final Facebook appeal.

After settling claims against Facebook alleging that Mark Zuckerburg had stolen their idea for a social network, the Winklevoss twins tried to renege on the agreement, claiming that it was acquired by fraud.

Upholding the agreement, Judge Kozinski implies that the twins should have hired better attorneys.

Arizona Immigration Law SB 1070 Takes Another Hit via 9th Circuit

The preliminary injunction prohibiting the enforcement of Arizona immigration law S.B. 1070 has been upheld by the 9th Circuit.

S.B. 1070, which inspired boycotts and international condemnation, was challenged by the Department of Justice on the grounds that it was preempted by the Supremacy Clause.

The 9th Circuit agreed with the lower court's assessment, finding that there are likely no set of circumstances under which the four challenged provisions of S.B. 1070 would be found valid.

Google Buzz Settlement Reached over Privacy Accusations

Since Google Buzz launched early last year, the social networking tool has been the topic of heated debate.

It was immediately recognized that Google Buzz privacy settings were nonexistent, forcing all Gmail users to opt-in despite promises otherwise.

The Federal Trade Commission announced earlier this week that a Google Buzz settlement has been reached with respect these privacy misrepresentations. The settlement is expected to impact the entire industry.