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Decisions In Insurance, Criminal, Employment, & Copyright Infringement Matters

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By FindLaw Staff on July 23, 2010 4:14 PM

US v. Rappe, 09-2478, concerned a challenge to a conviction of defendant for conspiring to commit an offense against the United States, obstructing justice, destroying property to prevent its seizure, and failing to register as a sex offender.  In vacating defendant's conviction under section 2250, the court remanded for resentencing as section 2250 does not apply to sex offenders whose interstate travel occurred prior to Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act's (SORNA) effective date, and here, defendant's most recent interstate trip occurred one day before SORNA was made applicable to defendant through an interim regulation issued by the Attorney General.

Roadway Express, Inc. v. U.S. Dep't of Labor, 09-1315, concerned a defendant-employer's petition for review of the Administrative Review Board's (ARB) decision on remand, finding that defendant failed to meet the burden of proving that it would have fired the plaintiff in the absence of his protected conduct.  In denying the petition, the court held that the ARB was entitled to find that reinstatement was an appropriate remedy in this case because there is more than enough evidentiary support for the ARB's conclusion that plaintiff's driving history does not indicate that he is unfit to drive a truck.

Griffith v. Rednour, 09-2518, concerned a challenge to the district court's dismissal of defendant's request for habeas relief for his murder conviction as untimely.  In affirming, the court held that a state proceeding is no longer pending once the state court has made its decision and the time to seek further review has expired.  Here, the year prescribed by section 2244(d)(1) expired on November 17, 2006 and defendant's federal petition was 13 days late.  Lastly, the court held that defendant's counsel's negligence does not extend the time for filing a collateral attack.

FM Indus., Inc. v. Citicorp Credit Serv., Inc., 08-3154, involved a suit for copyright infringement, related to a computer software designed to help lawyers to collect debts and lenders to monitor how its lawyers are doing.  In affirming the judgment of the district court for the most part, the court held that the district judge properly dismissed the complaint for lack of prosecution, and also held that the judgment ordering plaintiff to pay defendants' legal fees under 28 U.S.C. section 1927 for vexatiously multiplying the proceedings was proper.  However, the court reversed the district judge's award of fees against a copyright specialist who assisted defendant's counsel, as personal responsibility is essential to an award of sanctions under section 1927.

Auto-Owners Ins. Co. v. Munroe, 09-3427, concerned an insurer's action for declaratory judgment, arising from a settlement agreement between the plaintiffs in the underlying suit releasing those responsible for causing a severe tractor-trailer accident from any individual liability above their liability insurance coverage.  In affirming the district court's grant of the insurer's motion for summary judgment the court held that the insurance policy unambiguously limits coverage to $1,000,000 per occurrence, and here, there was a single occurrence because there was a single continuous event.  Court also held that the MCS-90 endorsement does not affect the insurer's liability because it applies only if triggered by an unpaid final judgment against one of the defendants in the underlying suit.

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