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Edit Delete South Carolina Court Of Appeals


Mitul v. Beaufort County Assessor, Oct-18-2014

J. Konduros finds that the administrative law court properly ruled in a tax assessment case. At issue is the court's issuance of an amended tax bill for property where a hotel was constructed. Because the software used to compile the data made an error, and the court corrected that error by issuing an additional tax bill, there is no evidence that it overstepped it authority. Affirmed.

Edit Delete 11th Circuit


Cambridge University Press v. Patton, Oct-17-2014

J. Tjoflat finds that the lower court improperly found defendant only partly liable for copyright infringement and awarded it fees. Plaintiff publishing houses alleged that Georgia State University and the University System of Georgia infringed plaintiffs' copyrights by allowing professors to make digital copies of book excerpts available to students for free. The question is whether this policy constitutes fair use or infringement. The court did not properly emphasize some factors in the fair use analysis. Because this policy involved using plaintiffs' works for their market purpose, the threat of market substitution is more serious. The court also should have analyzed each work individually and avoided overlooking the creative and evaluative aspects of the works. It must reconsider the case with these standards in mind. Reversed.

Edit Delete 2nd Circuit


Security Plans v. CUNA Mutual, Oct-17-2014

J. Sack finds that the district court improperly granted summary judgment to defendant on plaintiff's claim that a covenant of good faith and fair dealing was violated in calculating performance-based payments owed on the purchase of its business. Defendant contended it owed nothing under the formula that used three years of returns on plaintiff's former business. Plaintiff, though, argued a company-wide error in managing the acquired insurance policies reduced the calculation. Because no determination was made whether defendant acted arbitrarily or irrationally in calculating the payments -- key assessments under the good faith covenant -- a material dispute exists. Vacated in part.

Edit Delete 3rd Circuit


Schmidt v. Skolas, Oct-17-2014

J. Sloviter finds that the lower court improperly dismissed a shareholder suit against a now-defunct biotechnology company as untimely. The complaint alleges that defendant sold the company's assets for far less than their true value through insider deals. Although plaintiff filed suit more than two years after the assets were sold, he claims that he was not aware of the insider nature of the sales until later, and the statute of limitations should be tolled. The panel agreed, finding that plaintiff's duty to exercise reasonable diligence in determining the fairness of the sales is lessened when a fiduciary relationship establishes a presumptive level of trust in the fiduciary. Reversed.

Edit Delete 4th Circuit


Mohamed v. Holder, Oct-17-2014

J. Niemeyer finds that petitioner, who came to the U.S. from Sudan in 2003, should have been granted review of the finding that his failure to register as a sex offender, following his 2010 Virginia guilty plea to sexual battery, constituted a crime involving moral turpitude, rendering him deportable. The government contends that the registration statute seeks to reduce repeated sex offenses. But the statute is merely a regulatory or administrative provision that only requires that a certain class of people, sex offenders, present information. The government did not contend "that such a requirement is imposed by any moral norm," even if the statute tries to reduce "the risk of future immoral conduct." Reversed.

Edit Delete 6th Circuit


Russell v. Lundergan-Grimes, Oct-17-2014

[Order.] Per curiam, the 6th Circuit finds that the state should be granted a partial stay of the lower court's ruling declaring unconstitutional a statute prohibiting campaigning within 300 feet of a polling place on Election Day. The case raises close questions, and without a stay, Kentucky would be the only state in the nation without any buffer zone between polling places and poll workers. The public interest in the orderly administration of elections requires a partial stay. Polling places in a public forum may enforce the 300-foot buffer zone, but the lower court's ruling shall remain in effect for polling places on private property.

Edit Delete 8th Circuit


Carlson v. U.S. Bank, Oct-17-2014

J. Federman finds that the bankruptcy court did not abuse its discretion in dismissing appellant's Chapter 13 bankruptcy case with limitations on refiling. Appellant failed to provide the court with the Bankruptcy Court's orders. "Since we do not know the factual basis for the dismissal and bar to refiling, we cannot hold that such factual basis was clearly erroneous." Affirmed.

Edit Delete 8th Circuit


Moore v. Colvin, Oct-17-2014

J. Kelly finds that the lower court improperly denied petitioner supplemental security income. The administrative law judge found that petitioner could only reach above his head occasionally, and janitorial work is legally considered to require frequent reaching above the head. The judge should not have relied on vocational expert testimony as to this issue since it is a recorded legal rule. Reversed.

Edit Delete 9th Circuit


Young v. U.S., Oct-17-2014

J. Murguia finds that the district court improperly dismissed plaintiff's allegations that the National Park Service failed to warn visitors at Mount Rainier National Park of a known hazard. Plaintiff fell 12 feet into a unmarked, snow-covered sinkhole near the park's visitor center. Contrary to the court's ruling, the claim was not barred by the discretionary function exception to the Federal Tort Claims Act, as the agency's failure to warn was not a "policy decision." Reversed.

Edit Delete Alabama Supreme Court


Wright v. A-1 Exterminating Company, Oct-17-2014

J. Wise grants two petitions for a writ of mandamus related to protective orders issued by the trial court that stated plaintiffs were "barred and enjoined" and had to "remove all mention" of their lawsuit against defendant from any social media site and related web search engines. Plaintiffs had sued defendants because it had not properly treated their property for termites, and they claimed the trial court's protective orders "constitute impermissible prior restraints on speech." Defendant argued that the orders were necessary to "protect its right to a fair trial." But the orders were "overbroad," as "the trial court should balance its interest in protecting A-1's right to a fair trial against the First Amendment rights of the plaintiffs and their attorneys." Also, "any protective order in this regard must be narrowly tailored so that it uses the least restrictive means necessary to protect A-1's right to a fair trial."

Edit Delete Alabama Supreme Court


Cooper v. MTA, Oct-17-2014

J. Main finds that the trial court improperly granted judgment to defendant regarding the payment of a promissory note. The parties were members of a company, and each was liable for obligations under the note. But when the company went into default, plaintiff transferred his to defendant, which "assumed full responsibility" for the loan. Issues of material fact precluded summary judgment. Reversed.

Edit Delete Alabama Supreme Court


Kraselsky v. Calderwood, Oct-17-2014

J. Stuart finds that the trial court properly held that defendant was not responsible for the death of plaintiff's mother, who was given the medication Demerol despite an allergy to the drug. Defendant stated at his deposition that plaintiff's mother complained of a headache when taking Demerol and he concluded that this was "no more than a side effect and not symptomatic of a true allergy." The cause of death was found to be heart failure with blood clots, respiratory failure and sepsis. Affirmed.

Edit Delete California Courts Of Appeal


Friends of the Eel River v. North Coast Railroad Authority, Oct-17-2014

[Modified opinion.] [Consolidated.] J. Needham finds that a trial court correctly denied plaintiffs' CEQA challenge of a decision by defendant North Coast to allow the Northwestern Pacific Railroad Co. to run freight on its tracks. An environmental review at the state level is preempted by the federal Interstate Commerce Commission Termination Act, which has such expansive language that it effectively preempts all state laws that could possibly affect, manage or govern railway transportation. Affirmed.

Edit Delete California Courts Of Appeal


Stine v. Dell'Osso, Oct-17-2014

J. Banke finds that a trial court incorrectly dismissed plaintiff's legal malpractice action against defendants for their poor representation of a conservator who took more than $1 million from the estate. While defendants said they owed plaintiff no duty of care because their relationship was with the old conservator, plaintiff, as the current conservator, has standing to sue them on behalf of the estate for having handled the old conservator's legal matters. Furthermore, plaintiff cannot be considered "equally liable" for the sins of the old conservator, as defendants claimed. Reversed.

Edit Delete California Courts Of Appeal


Nixon Peabody v. Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Oct-17-2014

J. Epstein finds that a trial court incorrectly allowed real party Cabot Golf CL-PP 1 and others to cancel their voluntary dismissal of a failure to disclose property action against plaintiffs. Real parties tried to resurrect their state court action after realizing that by dismissing two federal actions they had run afoul of the federal courts' two-dismissal rule. But they cannot show that they did not consent to the dismissal request, or that they had not authorized their attorney to make it. And the deadline for revisiting the decision has passed.

Edit Delete California Courts Of Appeal


Johnson v. Appellate Division of the Superior Court of Santa Cruz County, Oct-17-2014

J. Elia finds that the appellate division incorrectly upheld defendant's misdemeanor conviction. State law requires that appeals must be heard before a three-judge panel, and defendant's case was heard before only two judges. Defendant is "entitled to the benefit of whatever influence a third judge may have," regardless of whether he could show he was prejudiced by the proceedings.

Edit Delete Delaware Supreme Court


Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors of Motors Liquidation Company v. JPMorgan Chase Bank N.A., Oct-17-2014

The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit puts a question before the Court involving a dispute that turns on the effect of a Uniform Commercial Code termination statement. filed with the Delaware Secretary of State on behalf of General Motors Corporation. The question is whether a secured lender needs to "review and knowingly approve for filing a UCC-3 purporting to extinguish the perfected security interest, or must the secured lender intend to terminate the particular security interest that is listed on the UCC-3?" L. Strine answers that "it [is] enough that the secured lender review and knowingly approve for filing a UCC-3 purporting to extinguish the perfected security interest." A termination statement becomes effective under Section 9-509 of the Delaware Uniform Commercial Code, which has the effect specified in Section 9-513, when the secured party authorizes the filing to be made.

Edit Delete Florida Courts Of Appeal


The Cincinnati Insurance Co. v. Canon Ranch Partners, Oct-17-2014

J. Villanti finds that the trial court improperly denied plaintiff an appraisal. Plaintiff was within its rights to ask for an appraisal of a covered property. Reversed.

Edit Delete Florida Courts Of Appeal


Velaga v. Gudapati, Oct-17-2014

J. Villanti finds that the trial court improperly ordered plaintiff to obtain life insurance to secure child support. The court did not consider the cost of the insurance or whether plaintiff could afford it. Reversed.

Edit Delete Georgia Court Of Appeals


State v. Martinez-Palomino, Oct-17-2014

J. Miller finds that the trial court incorrectly granted defendant a new trial following his convictions for kidnapping and aggravated child molestation. Defendant failed to show that allowing a recording of the child victim's forensic interview to be played for the jury denied him a fair trial, because both the victim and the interviewer testified at trial and were available for cross-examination. Furthermore, defendant's counsel did not object to the playing of the video to the jury, hoping he could help defendant's case by showing inconsistencies between the victim's interview and her trial testimony. Reversed.

Edit Delete Illinois Appellate Court


Matter of Lasota v. , Oct-17-2014

J. Hyman finds that the lower court properly dissolved the parties' marriage. The parties were married in Poland, but moved to Illinois and purchased real estate there when respondent moved to Poland and obtained a divorce judgment. The Polish court lacks jurisdiction over petitioner wife, who remained in Illinois. Petitioner hired Polish attorneys and allowed some to appear on her behalf, but this was only to object to jurisdiction, and she made no filings indicating submission to jurisdiction. Affirmed.

Edit Delete Illinois Appellate Court


Rohr Burg Motors v. Kulbarsh, Oct-17-2014

J. Cunningham finds that the lower court properly dismissed defendant's affirmative defenses and counterclaims to plaintiff's contract action. Although the vehicle that plaintiff sold defendant had a significant mechanical problem, the parties entered into a release agreement under which plaintiff would make defendant whole in exchange for his returning the vehicle. This release superseded the original contract and disposed of all claims, but defendant's failure to return the vehicle was a breach. Plaintiff's initial slight delay in sending payment did not amount to a breach. Affirmed.

Edit Delete Illinois Appellate Court


McCarthy v. Taylor, Oct-17-2014

J. Gordon finds that the lower court properly upheld a handwritten amendment to a trust. The creator named plaintiff as the successor trustee initially, but made a handwritten amendment just before suicide that appointed defendant. The amendment only had to be in writing under Illinois law. It did not have to be a particular formalized or witnessed document. What matters here is what the decedent trustee believed was required of her, and she clearly intended to make defendant the successor regardless of the fact that plaintiff would have no chance to challenge. Affirmed.

Edit Delete Illinois Appellate Court


Matter of Daveisha C. v. , Oct-17-2014

J. Hyman finds that the lower court properly entered a protective order related to respondent's interview in the adjudication of a wardship. She is a minor who was neglected and sexually abused and thus entitled to give a "victim sensitive interview" that a public guardian cannot copy and give to all parties. This is the case even when the public guardian says that the order is too great a restraint on discovery. Rather, this must be balanced against the presumptive ward's best interests and the sensitivity of the testimony. Affirmed.

Edit Delete Illinois Appellate Court


Oviedo v. 1270 S. Blue Island Condominium Assoc., Oct-17-2014

J. Mason finds that the lower court improperly ordered defendant to allow plaintiff to inspect its records. The request was not for a proper purpose or necessary litigation, and defendant has already produced many records that it did not have to produce. A unit owner cannot make a written demand for documents and then receive copies as a predicate to filing a lawsuit. Plaintiff also failed to set up an appointment to review further records that were made available, indicating bad faith. Reversed.

Edit Delete Illinois Appellate Court


American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees, Council 31 v. Illinois Labor Relations Board, State Panel, Oct-17-2014

J. Neville finds that the respondent properly found that two administrative law judges were managerial employees barred from participating in collective bargaining under the Illinois Public Labor Relations Act. The judges work at the Illinois Commerce Commission, the policies of which are directly enforced through the judges' orders. Those orders are nearly always adopted by the commissioners, which makes the judges de facto managers. An employee need not participate in formulating company policy to be a manager. Affirmed.

Edit Delete Illinois Appellate Court


People v. Moman, Oct-17-2014

J. Epstein finds that the lower court properly convicted defendant of obstructing a peace officer based on his kicking a jail guard during an attempted shackling. The offense was not charged, but aggravated battery was, and obstruction in this manner amounts to a lesser included offense. The evidence against defendant was clear and overwhelming, so he cannot claim that this possibly slight deviation from the indictment prejudiced him. Affirmed.

Edit Delete Illinois Appellate Court


1010 Lake Shore Assoc. v. Deutsche Bank National Trust, Oct-17-2014

J. Simon finds that the lower court properly found for plaintiff in a suit to recover assessments that defendant owed after purchasing the subject condominium unit at a judicial sale. An entity that purchases a unit in this way only has a duty to pay its share of common expenses assessed from the first day of the month after the date of the sale, and making that payment extinguishes its lien. However, this does not apply until assessment payments are made after the sale. Plaintiff is entitled to attorney fees as well since defendant's defense is meritless based on the underlying documents. Affirmed.

Edit Delete Illinois Appellate Court


People v. Falco, Oct-17-2014

J. Pierce finds that the lower court improperly convicted defendant of possession of a firearm with defaced identification marks. Counsel was ineffective because he failed to request a jury instruction regarding intent. Defendant cannot be held accountable if he was not aware that the gun was defaced. This is not a strict liability crime, but an uninformed juror may have believed it to be given its straightforward nature. Reversed.

Edit Delete Illinois Appellate Court


O'Toole v. Chicago Zoological Society, Oct-17-2014

J. Lavin finds that the lower court improperly dismissed plaintiff's negligence claim following her slip and fall at defendant's zoo. The Tort Immunity Act is the only means to sue governmental entities for such claims, but its one-year statute of limitations does not apply to the zoo since it is not a local public entity. Although the zoo's operations further the public interest, this does not give it immunity. It had to submit an annual itemized budget to the government, but many private contractors must do this as well. Reversed.

Edit Delete Illinois Appellate Court


Matter of Pratt v. , Oct-17-2014

J. Harris finds that the lower court properly modified respondent's child support payments. Although petitioner ex-wife now has a new husband and job, the court adequately considered this already. Restricted stock options do not count for child support purposes even though respondent was awarded them as marital property in the dissolution judgment. Affirmed.

Edit Delete Illinois Appellate Court


People v. Madison, Oct-17-2014

J. Hyman finds that defendant's appeal must be dismissed. She was found unfit to stand trial for misdemeanor battery, but her appeal to this is now moot since she has been medicated and can now stand trial. This issue is not capable of repetition given the simplicity of the trial and the low likelihood that the issue will arise again. The fact that a criminal conviction impinges on one's rights does not raise the collateral consequences exception to the doctrine of mootness.

Edit Delete Illinois Appellate Court


Matter of Foster v. , Oct-17-2014

J. Thompson finds that the lower court partly properly dissolved the parties' marriage. Petitioner husband has substantial inheritances that he has placed in a stock account that should not have been considered marital property. Inheritances are generally separate property. However, some of the other provisions may be enforced, such as the finding that respondent did not dissipate marital assets and also had substantial income Affirmed.

Edit Delete Illinois Appellate Court


Clark v. Illinois State Board of Elections, Oct-17-2014

J. Connors finds that the lower court properly invalidated a proposed new term limit law in Illinois that would have decreased the number of legislative districts and increased the number of representative districts as well. The referendum that led to the law combined unrelated questions like term limits and district composition in violation of the state constitution's free and equal clause. Such combinations prevent voters from freely and equally expressing their preferences as to each proposition and invites confusion. Affirmed.

Edit Delete Iowa Supreme Court


Gits Manufacturing Co. v. Frank, Oct-17-2014

J Wiggins finds that the appeals court improperly found that appellee was not totally disabled. The employee developed a lung condition in her work as a welder that prevents her from doing regularly scheduled work in her field, and she does not have training to work in another field. Based on evidence from the employee, her husband and a doctor, lower courts properly found she was totally disabled and thus entitled to workers' compensation benefits. Also, the appeals court properly denied the employer credit for Social Security and long-term disability payments. Reversed in part.

Edit Delete Kansas Courts Of Appeal


In re Tax Appeals of Lyerla Trust v. , Oct-17-2014

[Corrected opinion.] J. Leben finds that the court of tax appeals improperly considered the validity of five taxpayers' contractual arrangements with an attorney and tax consulting firm and improperly dismissed the taxpayers' appeals. Problems with the signatures on the appeal notices were not a "jurisdictional hurdle" preventing the court from considering the appeals, as those problems could have been corrected. Regulations show that the signature requirement is not jurisdictional anyway. But also, the court had no authority to declare the validity of contracts between taxpayers and third parties who have been hired by the taxpayer to provide representation. Reversed.

Edit Delete Kansas Courts Of Appeal


Kansas v. Grotton, Oct-17-2014

Per curiam, the court finds that the district court properly sentenced defendant to two concurrent life sentences for the rape and sexual exploitation of her 4-year-old daughter, along with a 6-month sentence for obstructing official duty during her arrest. Defendant claimed her sentence should have been capped at 12-months, or double the length of her primary "on-grid" conviction of obstructing official duty. However, the court found that the Kansas Sentencing Guidelines Act, as a whole, did not intend a "double rule" to apply to the serious "off-grid" crimes. The case should be remanded to the district court for resentencing, and defendant's lack of criminal history should be considered. Affirmed in part.

Edit Delete Kansas Courts Of Appeal


Rakestraw Brothers v. Court of Tax Appeals, Oct-17-2014

J. Leben finds that the court of tax appeals improperly dismissed an appeal regarding oil lease taxes on the basis that plaintiff was represented by a petroleum engineer rather than an attorney or company officer. Plaintiff's choice of representation was valid under the circumstances and was not subject to jurisdictional determinations. Reversed.

Edit Delete Kansas Courts Of Appeal


MFA Enterprises v. Donald Delange, Oct-17-2014

J. Bruns finds that the district court properly rejected defendant's claim of adverse possession. Although defendant occupied a property for nearly twenty years without paying rent, the lease agreement was still in effect. Defendant partially performed under the contract by paying taxes on the land's improvements, and neither party officially terminated the agreement. Affirmed.

Edit Delete Kansas Supreme Court


In the Matter of Colvin v. , Oct-17-2014

Per curiam, the Kansas Supreme Court suspends attorney William E. Colvin from the practice of law for 30 days in response to repeated violations of the Kansas Rules of Professional Conduct. Colvin undermined the judicial process by filing a frivolous appeal in a divorce matter and by failing to correct false statements in his motions. Colvin has previously paid a $10,000 penalty related to this misconduct.

Edit Delete Louisiana Court Of Appeal


Perkins v. BBRC Investments, Oct-17-2014

J. McDonald finds that the lower court improperly found for plaintiffs in their nursing negligence suit. Their allegations were too vague to meet the specificity requirements of medical negligence suits under the Nursing Home Residents' Bill of Rights. Reversed.

Edit Delete Nebraska Supreme Court


Nebraska v. Kays, Oct-17-2014

J. McCormack finds that the court of appeals properly convicted defendant on several counts of sexual assault of a child. While there was confusion caused by the court reporter's erroneous recording that a thirteenth juror participated in deliberations, this confusion was simply an error of entry on the reporter's part. Indeed, the reporter provided a re-proofread bill of exceptions clarifying that only twelve jurors deliberated and were polled, and evidence fully supports that this was an authentic portrayal of what occurred at trial. Affirmed.

Edit Delete Nebraska Supreme Court


Federal National Mortgage Association v. Marcuzzo, Oct-17-2014

J. Cassel finds that the lower court properly found for plaintiffs on their forcible entry and detainer action, as defendants failed to demonstrate that a question of title existed. Therefore, since there was no doubt regarding the title, the county court possessed jurisdiction to proceed. Affirmed.

Edit Delete Nebraska Supreme Court


Nebraska v. Henderson, Oct-17-2014

J. Miller-Lerman finds that the trial court properly convicted defendant on charges that included first degree murder. Defendant's belief that evidence obtained from the search of his cell phone should be suppressed is without merit. While the search of his phone was not justified based on the fact that the warrant was "too broad to protect privacy interests," the search was conducted in "good faith reliance on the warrant." Therefore, since the court was not "misled by false information in the affidavit," the "good faith exception applies to this case." Affirmed.

Edit Delete New Hampshire Supreme Court


State v. Rawnsley, Oct-17-2014

J. Conboy finds that the lower court properly convicted defendant of robbery, after admitting testimony by defendant's former wife allegedly in violation of marital privilege. However, defendant did not object to the testimony before the trial court, and there is no plain error on review. Affirmed.

Edit Delete New Hampshire Supreme Court


In the matter of Spenard and Spenard v. , Oct-17-2014

J. Hicks finds that the lower court improperly divided the parties' marital property because the husband did not disclose several promissory notes on his financial affidavits. Therefore, the ruling on property division must be vacated and remanded. However, the court correctly found that the wife has the ability to earn $4000 per month, based on the findings of a private investigator, and rejected the wife assertion that she has a medical disability. Reversed in part.

Edit Delete New Jersey Appellate Division


E & J Equities v. Board of Adjustment of Township of Franklin, Oct-17-2014

J. Espinosa finds that the lower court properly upheld defendant's ban on digital billboards. Municipalities are allowed to restrict off-premise multiple message signs such as the one plaintiff sought to erect. A regulation like this need not be the least restrictive means of enforcing a public interest. As long as it is narrowly tailored, it can pass constitutional muster. Defendant's interest is reasonable given that digital billboards are more intrusive and affect the aesthetics of the town more than normal billboards. Even if the ban was listed, other state law would prevent more than one digital billboard from being erected in the town given the existing billboard presence. Affirmed.

Edit Delete New York Appellate Divisions


Diamond v. DeJoseph, Oct-17-2014

[Combined with 519765.] Per curiam, the appellate court finds that the lower court properly dismissed petitioners' challenges to the Democratic and Conservative parties' nominating conventions that named respondent as candidate for state Supreme Court justice in the Fifth Judicial District in the Nov. 4 election. Petitioners asserted disproportionate representation in the selection of delegates to the parties' conventions, but election rules for proportional representation were observed. Affirmed.

Edit Delete New York Appellate Divisions


Stack v. Fisher, Oct-17-2014

Per curiam, the appellate court finds that the lower court improperly granted petitioner's claim of voting error in nominating respondent as Conservative Party candidate for state Supreme Court justice in the Third Judicial District in the Nov. 4 election. Because the party took New York's recent reapportionment into consideration in determining the number of delegates to its nominating convention, proportional representation was achieved and respondent's nomination was thus valid. Reversed.

Edit Delete North Carolina Business Court


DSM Dyneema v. Thagard, Oct-17-2014

Plaintiffs filed a claim of misappropriation of trade secrets against defendants, as related to the development of fibers used in enhanced combat helmets. J. Bledsoe finds that plaintiff must specifically identify the trade secrets at issue with "sufficient particularity," as defendants must be provided sufficient notice in order to determine whether plaintiff's requested discovery is relevant.

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