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"2014-15 Supreme Court Highlights"

Approaching the midpoint of its 2014-15 term, the Supreme Court has added to its docket several cases with potentially wide-reaching implications for a range of important policy and business issues. The Court accepted for...more

Fairfax Circuit Court Limits Homeowners’ Ability to Challenge Zoning Administrator

Contentious land use approvals often result in lawsuits, which, even when unsuccessful, can lead to costly delays for developers. In the recent case styled In Re: November 20, 2013 Decision of the Board of Zoning Appeals of...more

Supreme Court Decision on Same-Sex Marriage Expected this Summer

The U.S. Supreme Court recently announced it will rule on the legality of same-sex marriage and issue what is expected to be a historic decision with a widespread impact on American culture. Consolidating appeals from four...more

Case Could Alter the Reach of the Endangered Species Act

The U.S. District Court for the District of Utah attracted national attention with its November decision in People for the Ethical Treatment of Property Owners v. United States Fish and Wildlife Service, in which it ruled...more

U.S. Supreme Court hears disparate impact case

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argument in a case which questioned whether the Fair Housing Act (FHA) allows for a disparate impact theory of liability. The disparate impact theory of liability is one in which a...more

Third Time Is the Charm: U.S. Supreme Court Hears Argument in Disparate Impact Case

The U.S. Supreme Court recently heard oral argument in Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project, Inc.—the case presenting the issue of whether disparate impact claims are...more

California Supreme Court To Resolve Appellate Court Split on Federal Preemption in Railroad Regulation

On December 10, 2014, the California Supreme Court granted petition for review in Friends of the Eel River v. North Coast Railroad Authority to resolve a split between the First and Third District Courts of Appeal. (230...more

For the Redskins, NFL Playoff Season Means. . . Constitutionality Questions?

The NFL playoffs aren’t the only big football news happening this month! The U.S. Department of Justice recently decided to intervene in the Washington Redskins trademark litigation over the constitutionality of certain...more

Williams Mullen and Local Counsel, Bryan Davis, Win Declaratory Action Against HSD in New Mexico!!

For those of you who follow my blog, you know that the single state agency in New Mexico, Human Services Department (HSD), accused 15 behavioral health care providers, which made up 87% of the mental health care in NM, of...more

Drug Disposal Ordinance: Supreme Court Writ Filed

On December 29, 2014, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (“PhRMA”), the Biotechnology Industry Organization (“BIO”), and the Generic Pharmaceutical Association (“GPhA”) jointly filed a Petition for a...more

California Public Employees’ Pension Reform Act Of 2013 Partially Violates Prohibition Against Impairment Of Contracts When...

In Deputy Sheriffs' Association of San Diego County v. County of San Diego, et al., (January 11, 2015, D065364) 2015 WL 273138, the Fourth District Court of Appeal held that the provisions of the California Public Employees'...more

Light Up or Leave Me Alone: Medical Marijuana is an Ongoing Challenge for Employers

The 2014 election had four major marijuana ballot initiatives. Recreational legalization initiatives passed in Alaska, Washington State and the District of Columbia. A constitutional amendment in Florida to legalize medical...more

Speakers Only: Governmental Entities Must be Engaged in “Communicative Activity” to Qualify for Anti-SLAPP Protection

On January 22, the Washington Supreme Court decided Henne v. City of Yakima, its first decision interpreting Washington’s anti-SLAPP statute (SLAPP is short for Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation). This case has...more

Holt v. Hobbs Aftermath: Supreme Court Remands Native American Prisoners’ RLUIPA Claims

Less than a week after its decision in Holt v. Hobbs, the Supreme Court in Knight v. Thompson, No. 13-955 (2015), vacated and remanded the Eleventh Circuit’s rejection of Native American prisoners’ claims challenging prison...more

Real Property, Financial Services & Title Insurance Update: Weeks Ending January 16 & 23,2015

REAL PROPERTY UPDATE - Commercial Lease/Cotenancy Provisions: whether cotenancy provision in lease for retail space in shopping center, which requires other particular store(s) in shopping center to remain occupied by...more

Facebooker–Good Citizen or Fired?

Can an employee’s Facebook post be grounds for termination? The Fifth Circuit says, “Yes.” Graziosi v. City of Greenville Mississippi, No. 13-60900 (5th Cir. January 9, 2015). A police officer posted on her Facebook page and...more

Attorney fees claim becomes the tail that wags the litigation dog

In Ellis Law Group LLP v. Nevada City Sugar Loaf Properties LLC, 2014 DJDAR 13541, the California Court of Appeal for the Third Appellate District decided a case implicating the doctrine that self-represented law firms may...more

Appellate Division Review - Business Judgment Rule, Privilege, Child Support, Animal Rights

The more things change, the more they remain the same. As we enter a new year, New York’s Appellate Division faces the same and greater challenges: increasing caseloads, staff shortages, judicial vacancies, and legal disputes...more

When Can A Slanderous Facebook Posting Support Personal Jurisdiction?

Douglas Burdick v. The Superior Court of Orange County - Court Of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District (January 14, 2015) - This case helps clarify when an Internet posting may be sufficient to support personal...more

U.S. Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Cases Regarding the Constitutionality of Same-Sex Marriage Bans

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear four cases from Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, and Tennessee, respectively, regarding the constitutionality of same-sex marriage bans by the states. ...more

USA: Ninth Circuit Rejects EA’s “Incidental Use” Defense in Madden-Related Right of Publicity Suit

On January 6, 2015, the Ninth Circuit decided that Electronic Arts Inc.’s (“EA”) unauthorized use of former NFL players’ likeness as avatars in the Madden NFL video game series does not qualify for First Amendment protection....more

A Municipal Ordinance Requiring Registration and Maintenance of Vacant or Foreclosed Properties Preempted under Chapter 21E

A municipal ordinance imposing registration and maintenance obligations upon owners and secured lenders of buildings that are vacant or undergoing foreclosure was preempted by the Massachusetts remediation and clean-up...more

A Personal View: Magna Carta And International Trade

This is not a history lesson about the origins, context and subsequent amendments to Magna Carta, nor about how far it was or was not put into practice. It is a view from within the four corners of the 1215 version about the...more

Supreme Court of Canada Explains Constitutional Right to Collective Bargaining

In a decision released January 16, 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada once again revisited how much constitutional protection is afforded to the collective bargaining process. In Mounted Police Association of Ontario v. Canada...more

Alien Tort Case Development: Ninth Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Claims Against Occidental Petroleum

In mid-December, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal of claims filed pursuant to the Alien Tort Statute (“ATS”) against Occidental Petroleum. Plaintiffs in the case argued that Occidental should be held...more

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