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Week 16 (2018)

Week of April 16, 2019 through April 20, 2018

SD3 II LLC v. Black & Decker (Agee 4/19/2018): The Fourth Circuit held that a saw manufacturing company could not claim fraudulent concealment to extend the statute of limitations on an antitrust claim because they were put on notice various times before filing suit. The district court held that the statute of limitations ran in a motion for summary judgment hearing, but the Fourth Circuit initially revered that on the limited issue of dismissing a group boycott claim. The Fourth Circuit again received this case after the district court did not find grounds of fraudulent concealment because the plaintiff had actual notice of the injury approximately eight years before filing suit. Full Opinion

Dwoskin v. Bank of Am. (Wilkinson 4/19/2018): The Fourth Circuit held that mortgage insurance disclosures are only mandated if the lender-paid mortgage insurance as a condition of obtaining a loan, even when advertised as “No Fee Mortgage Plus” loans. The Fourth Circuit affirmed the district court dismissal of the homeowners claim under a plain reading of the Home Owners Protection Act. Full Opinion

Ramirez v. Sessions (Gregory 4/17/2018): The Fourth Circuit held that obstruction of justice in the form of petit larceny by an immigrant during does not constitute crimes involving moral turpitude. The court granted the immigrant’s petition for review, vacated his order of removal, and ordered the Government to facilitate his return to the United Sates from El Salvador. Full Opinion

Highlight Case

United States v. Hamidullin, No. 15-4788

Decided April 18, 2018

The Fourth Circuit affirmed that a Russian Army officer did not qualify for combatant immunity after his arrest for a terrorist attack upon a US Army base in Afghanistan because the Taliban was not an internationally recognized government in Afghanistan.

Hamidullin, formerly with the Russian Army, was arrested in Afghanistan after planning and participating in attacking an Afghan Border Post at Camp Leyza. He was indicted on grounds of conspiracy and providing material support to terrorists, among others, before being convicted by a jury on all accounts and receiving multiple life sentences. Hamidullin appealed on grounds that he was entitled to combatant immunity.

The Third Geneva Convention, drafted after World War Two, codifies the combatant immunity for prisoners of war, that are also members of other militias or regular armed forces, in international armed conflicts.

The Fourth Circuit held that the district court had jurisdiction to adjudicate the case because the conflict was non-international at the time of the appellant’s arrest. The conflict was non-international because the international community did not recognize the new government by the invading power (the Taliban). Because of this, the provisions of the Third Geneva Convention apply, so the district court had jurisdiction over an attack on an army base.

Hamidullin’s appeal was based on the argument that the conflict was an international armed conflict. However, the Fourth Circuit disagreed, and evaluated the entitlement to combatant immunity under a different article of the Third Geneva Convention. Hamidullin argued, in the alternative, that he is eligible for common law combatant immunity because he objectively and reasonably relied on the authority of the Taliban as a government. The Third Geneva Convention redefined common law combatant immunity, and the court declined to broad the scope beyond that of the Geneva Convention. Thus, because the Taliban was not an internationally recognized government, as a prisoner of war and member of a regular armed force, the appellant was not entitled to combatant immunity.

Full Opinion

Maura Ashton