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March 30 – April 3, 2009:
U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, April 01, 2009 Garcia v. Yonkers Sch. Dist. , No. 07-3167 In an First Amendment action between students and school district, district court’s grant of attorney’s fees to plaintiff is reversed where plaintiffs were not prevailing parties in the matter as the court did not issue a preliminary injunction or a temporary restraining order and therefore there was no basis for according prevailing party status. ..
U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, April 02, 2009 Andrew v. Clark, No. 07-1184 In a 42 U.S.C. section 1983 action alleging that Defendants violated Plaintiff’s First Amendment rights by retaliating against him for releasing an internal police memorandum, the complaint’s dismissal is vacated, where there was a dispute as to whether Plaintiff released the memorandum as part of his official duties.
U.S. 1st Circuit Court of Appeals, March 30, 2009 Coors Brewing Co. v. Méndez-Torres, No. 07-2682 In an action challenging a beer tax exemption as unconstitutional under the Commerce Clause, district court’s grant of defendant’s motion to dismiss is reversed and remanded where: 1) the court erred in finding that the decision of the jurisdictional issue in the earlier Calderón action precluded consideration of that issue in the current suit; 2) plaintiff’s action is not barred by the Butler Act limiting federal jurisdiction in Puerto Rico or by principles of comity; 3) the PR Supreme Court’s decision in Brewers does not provide a basis for granting defendant’s motion to dismiss; and 4) defendant failed to meet the burden of showing sufficient privity between plaintiff and plaintiff’s PR beer distributor, and thus the the prior final judgment involving the distributor does not preclude the present action.
U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, March 30, 2009 Chaklos v. Stevens, No. 07-3444 In a First Amendment free speech action, district court’s grant of summary judgment is affirmed where defendants are entitled to qualified immunity because the law does not make clear that their action against plaintiffs was unconstitutional, as plaintiffs’ letter addressed a matter of public concern but it was not obvious whether their interest in making such speech outweighed defendants’ interest in efficient service.
U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, April 01, 2009 Ortiz v. Downey , No. 06-2453 In a prisoner civil rights action, district court’s dismissal of plaintiff’s complaint for failure to state a claim is reversed and remanded where plaintiff’s First Amendment free exercise claim should not have been dismissed as his claim that defendant denied him religious articles and the opportunity to attend Mass without adequate penological justification was plausible on its face. Dismissal of plaintiff’s access to courts claim is affirmed, and on remand the district court should also permit plaintiff to amend his complaint to add a specific claim under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act. .
U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, April 02, 2009 Rujawitz v. Martin , No. 08-1625 In an employment action, district court’s grant of defendant’s motion to dismiss is affirmed where the denial of backpay and order of transfer did not violate plaintiff’s substantive due process rights as the presence of disciplinary procedures does not establish a substantive property interest in continued employment protected under the Fourteenth Amendment.
U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, March 31, 2009 Green v. Jefferson Cty. Comm., No. 08-15888 In a Due Process challenge to changes in a county’s retirement system, summary judgment for Defendant is affirmed, where res judicata barred Plaintiffs’ claims because Plaintiffs shared an identical interest with plaintiffs in previously-filed state court actions asserting the same claims.
U.S. D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, April 03, 2009 Hettinga v. US, No. 07-5403 In an action challenging the constitutionality of certain contribution requirements for milk handlers, the dismissal of the complaint for failure to exhaust administrative remedies is reversed, where the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act’s exhaustion requirement does not apply to challenges to the act itself.