Week 3 (2019)

Week of January 14, 2019 through January 18, 2019

Bennett v. Garner (Keenan 1/16/2019): The Fourth Circuit held that an employee’s action in the District Court to execute a state court judgment was not precluded under Virginia’s doctrine of res judicata, where he could not have brought his claims at the time of his earlier litigation. The Fourth Circuit, therefore, vacated the district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of the employer, and vacated the case for further proceedings. Full Opinion

City of New York v. United States Dep’t of Def. (Wilkinson 1/16/2019): The Fourth Circuit found that three municipalities lacked constitutional standing and failed to establish subject matter jurisdiction under the Administrative Procedure Act in their action against the Department of Defense (DOD). Therefore, the Court affirmed the district court’s dismissal of the municipalities’ action to compel DOD compliance with state law. Full Opinion

Minnieland Private Day Sch., Inc. v. Applied Underwriters Captive Risk Assurance Co., Inc. (Gregory 1/14/2019): The Fourth Circuit found that a reinsurance participation agreement was an insurance contract, such that Virginia Code § 38.2–312 rendered void an arbitration clause contained within it. Therefore, the Court affirmed the determination of the district court, holding that the agreement’s arbitration clause was void as a matter of law and, therefore, that Applied Underwriters must face Minnieland’s claims in Court. Full Opinion

US v. Carl Ross (Gregory 1/14/2019): The Fourth Circuit found that the imposition of a sentence, for convictions under 18 U.S.C. § 2252(a), was unreasonable where the district court failed to explain its rationale for the term of confinement and failed to address the defendant’s non-frivolous mitigation arguments. The Court found, therefore, that the district court committed procedural error in its sentencing of Defendant Ross. Thus, the Fourth Circuit vacated Ross’s sentence and remanded the matter for resentencing. Full Opinion

United States v. Ross (Gregory 1/14/2019): The Fourth Circuit found that the imposition of a sentence, for convictions under 18 U.S.C. § 2252(a), was unreasonable where the district court failed to explain its rationale for the term of confinement and failed to address the defendant’s non-frivolous mitigation arguments. The Court found, therefore, that the district court committed procedural error in its sentencing of Defendant Ross. Thus, the Fourth Circuit vacated Ross’s sentence and remanded the matter for resentencing. Full Opinion

Appalachian Voices v. State Water Control Bd. (Gregory 1/14/2019): The Fourth Circuit held that a state board’s certification of a natural gas pipeline plan under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act was not arbitrary and capricious, even in the face of concerns from environmental groups. In reviewing a state agency’s issue of a Section 401 Certification, the Fourth Circuit determines “whether the agency considered the relevant factors and whether a clear error of judgment was made.” Because it found that the certification passed muster, the Fourth Circuit denied the petition to review the decision of the Virginia State Water Control Board. Full Opinion


Highlight Case

No highlight case this week.

Wilson Daniel