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Week 43 (2020)

Week of October 19, 2020 through October 23, 2020

United States v. Horowitz (Niemeyer 10/20/2020): The Fourth Circuit held that when an individual signs tax returns that falsely state that he or she has no foreign bank accounts, the individual has “recklessly” violated U.S. tax law, even where the individual contends that they lacked knowledge of the reporting requirement. Further the court held that, where in reporting potential tax assessments against an individual, a government Penalty Coordinator deletes the date in the data input of the penalty assessment, this deletion has no legal effect of reversing the tax assessment and therefore no genuine issue of fact exists as to whether the enforcement action was timely filed. Therefore, the court affirmed the District Court of Maryland’s judgment in favor of the government. Full Opinion

Wise v. Circosta (Wynn 10/21/2020): The Fourth Circuit held that it was improper to grant an injunction to extend the deadline of absentee ballots for the general election in North Carolina, stating that where there is a close issue of state law, the federal court should abstain from federal intervention into local affairs. Judges Wilkinson, Agee, and Niemeyer dissented from the opinion, arguing that it was proper to grant the requested injunction against the implementation of last-minute ballot rule changes. Ultimately the court upheld the district court’s denial of the motions for emergency injunctive relief against the North Carolina State Board of Elections for the board’s extension of its deadline for the receipt of absentee ballots for the general election. Full Opinion

Laird v. Fairfax County (Richardson 10/23/2020): The Fourth Circuit held that—in the context of an employment discrimination and retaliation action in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act—where an employee and an employer reach a settlement which involves a transfer to a new position with the same pay and similar responsibilities, such a transfer does not equate to an “adverse action” required to make out a prima facie case of discrimination and retaliation. The court affirmed the district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of Fairfax County. Full Opinion

Robbie Holland