U.S. Fourth Circuit - The FindLaw 4th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

February 2012 Archives

Fourth Circuit Reverses Seaman Analysis in Jones Act Appeal

Before you appeal a 12(b)(1) dismissal for lack of subject matter jurisdiction to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, ask yourself: Am I really sure this is a jurisdiction issue? Should we be debating a 12(b)(6) motion instead?

That moment of reflection could save you the embarrassment of an appellate court's admonishment that you don't know the "fundamental difference" between 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6) motions.

The attorneys in a recent Jones Act appeal, no doubt, wish they had paused to consider that issue after the Fourth Circuit criticized both the parties in this appeal and the district court for misunderstanding the basics of subject matter jurisdiction.

Fourth Circuit to Hold Hearing at UVA Law School on March 23

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals will hold oral arguments at the University of Virginia (UVA) Law School Caplin Auditorium on March 23, 2012. A Fourth Circuit panel holds an appellate argument session at the University every three years.

The court will hear four cases during the special session in March.

Media Outlets Support James Risen Reporter's Privilege Claim

New York Times reporter James Risen is getting support from fellow journalists in his reporter's privilege claim to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.

This week, First Amendment lawyers Lee Levine and Jeanette Bead filed an amicus brief supporting Risen, reports Politico.

Federal Judicial Center Guide Wins Thomas Jefferson Award

If you can’t get your fill of the law practicing before the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, perhaps you would like to leave your office for a field trip to the federal archives.

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) keeps most federal records at the NARA facilities in Washington, D.C. and College Park, Maryland. (Also known as, in the Fourth Circuit’s back yard.)

NYT's James Risen Claims Reporter's Privilege in CIA Leak Appeal

Like lawyers and priests, people tell journalists secrets. Unlike lawyers and priests, journalists get to spill those secrets to the public.

Occasionally the long arm of the law knocks on a journalist's door, demanding the names of secret-sharing sources. The journalist, of course, can choose to play the moral superiority trump card and declare, "I would rather go to jail than reveal my sources." Sometimes they wind up in jail. Sometimes they ask the courts to apply the reporter's privilege.

Intracompany Complaint Can Trigger Retaliation Lawsuit

Intracompany complaints about violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) can form the basis of retaliation lawsuit, according to a recent Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals opinion.

Plaintiff Kathy Minor and several other members of her department met with Bostwick Laboratories' chief operating officer, Bill Miller, in 2008 to call to Miller's attention the fact that Minor believed her supervisor had willfully violated the FLSA. Minor claimed the supervisor routinely altered employees' time sheets to reflect that they had not worked overtime when they had. At the conclusion of the meeting, Miller told the group that he would look into the allegations.

Within a week, Minor was fired.

Newt Gingrich Withdraws Virginia Republican Primary Challenge

The Newt Gingrich/Virginia Republican Primary court battle has sputtered to an undramatic end. Gingrich's lawyers filed paperwork with a Virginia federal court on Saturday -- and the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday -- indicating that they would be dropping their challenge to place Gingrich on the Virginia Republican Primary ballot.

Ron Paul and Mitt Romney are the only candidates who qualified for the Virginia Republican Primary. Texas Governor Rick Perry sued to have his name added to the ballot in December, and U.S. District Judge John Gibney Jr. granted Gingrich, John Huntsman, and Rick Santorum's motion to intervene.

FDCPA Claim Survives Mootness Challenge

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals recently issued a decision that could help your clients who have received settlement offers on their Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) claims.

Shortly after Margaret Warren's husband passed, she learned that her husband had an overdue personal VISA credit card account at Branch Banking & Trust Co. (BB&T). Warren tried to obtain the signature card on the account, which was listed only under her husband's name. BB&T, however, had started sending Warren statements bearing both her and her husband's name. Not knowing better, she started making payments.