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Week 32 (2020)

Week of August 3, 2020 through August 7, 2020

Mey v. DIRECTV, LLC (Rushing 8/7/2020): The Fourth Circuit concluded that the Wireless Customer Agreement between the plaintiff-appellee, Diana Mey, and the defendant-appellant DIRECTV, LLC, included an agreement to arbitrate within the scope of the agreement between the parties. The dispute, therefore, favored arbitration. Finding that an agreement to arbitrate was formed, the court reasoned that the alleged Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) violations, 47 U.S.C. § 227, were encompassed in the arbitration agreements scope where the parties agreed to “arbitrate all disputes and claims between us.” The Fourth Circuit reversed the district court’s dismissal of appellant’s motion to compel arbitration because the language in the arbitration agreement—“all disputes and claims”—did not exclude Mey’s TCPA claims. Full Opinion

Casa De Maryland, Inc. v. Trump (Wilkinson 8/5/2020): The Fourth Circuit declined to define what individuals would be included in the Immigration and Nationality Act’s “public charge” provision, which states “that any alien ‘who is likely at any time to become a public charge is inadmissible.’” The Fourth Circuit reversed and remanded the district court’s ruling finding that Casa de Maryland’s argument seeking to strike the rule, where President Donald Trump, in his official capacity, sought to define public charge as any alien likely to receive public benefits within a specified time frame. The court reasoned that Congress specifically left the phrasing ambiguous to ensure varied interpretations could be enacted based on “the needs and wishes of the nation at a particular point in time.” The executive branch is responsible for implementing this purposefully ambiguous term. Full Opinion

Ballengee v. CBS Broadcasting, Inc. (Rushing 8/3/2020): The Fourth Circuit affirmed the district court’s grant of summary judgment for the defendant-appellee, CBS Broadcasting, on two defamation claims. Plaintiff-appellant, Ballengee, appealed to the Court of Appeals. Finding that there could be no material dispute of fact that the statements the defendant made were substantially true. After reviewing the district court’s decision to grant summary judgment de novo, in the light most favorable to the non-moving party (Ballengee) the Fourth Circuit found that there was no genuine dispute of material fact and CBS was entitled to judgment on a matter of law where no reasonable juror could find that the two “allegedly defamatory statements in the CBS report were false, rather than substantially true.” Full Opinion

Maryland Shall Issue, Inc. v. Hogan (Agee 8/3/2020): The Fourth Circuit held that the plaintiff-appellants had standing to challenge Maryland’s Firearm Safety Act of 2013 (FSA) for violating the appellant’s Second Amendment right. Appellant’s claim that the FSA’s enforced regulations harm them based on the time requirements to lawfully carry a firearm infringe upon their Second Amendment right where they are banned from unlicensed acquisition of a handgun for self-defense and protection of the home. The Fourth Circuit found that because one of the plaintiffs had standing and suffered an injury to bring the claim, for Article III purposes, the other plaintiffs did as well. Viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, the Fourth Circuit concluded that the district court improperly weighed the evidence. The Fourth Circuit reversed the district court’s decision to grant the defendant-appellee’s motion for summary judgment. However, it affirmed the district court’s decision to grant the defendant’s motion to dismiss the claim for lack of standing in regard to the individual plaintiff-appellants. Full Opinion