Articles Posted in U.S. Supreme Court

To view the full-text of cases you must sign in to All summaries are produced by Findlaw
May 24, 2010.

ANTITRUST & TRADE REGULATION, COMMERCIAL LAW, INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY, SPORTS LAW, TRADEMARK American Needle, Inc. v. Nat’l Football League, No. 08–661 In an antitrust action challenging the NFL’s grant to Reebok of an exclusive license to create apparel incorporating the NFL’s intellectual property, the Seventh Circuit’s affirmance of summary judgment for defendants is reversed where the alleged conduct related to licensing of intellectual property constituted concerted action that was not categorically beyond the coverage of Section 1 of the Sherman Act. ..

ATTORNEY’S FEES, CIVIL PROCEDURE, ERISA, HEALTH LAW, INSURANCE LAW, LABOR & EMPLOYMENT LAW Hardt v. Reliance Std. Life Ins. Co., No. 09–448 In an action alleging that defendant violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) by wrongfully denying her benefits claim, the Fourth Circuit’s order vacating the district court’s award of attorney’s fees to plaintiff is reversed where: 1) a fee claimant need not be a “prevailing party” to be eligible for an attorney’s fees award under 29 U.S.C. section 1132(g)(1); and 2) a court may award fees and costs under section 1132(g)(1), as long as the fee claimant has achieved some degree of success on the merits.
Continue reading

The following is presented as a service of the ABA Criminal Justice Section

The ABA Section of Criminal Justice is pleased to provide Professor Rory Little’s Perspective, a Case Brief in U.S. v. Stevens which includes the Holding, Facts, and Analysis in the case.


A Service from the ABA Criminal Justice Section,

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled against a defendant convicted of the rape of a 9-year-old girl after a night of heavy drinking.

The Supreme Court said in a per curiam opinion that overstated estimates of a DNA match at trial did not warrant reversal of a conviction when there is still “convincing evidence of guilt.”

To view the full-text of cases you must sign in to All summaries are produced by Findlaw

CRIMINAL LAW & PROCEDURE, EVIDENCE, HABEAS CORPUS, PER CURIAM McDaniel v. Brown, No. 08-559 In habeas proceedings arising from a rape conviction, a circuit court of appeals’ order affirming the grant of petitioner’s habeas petition is reversed and remanded where: 1) the court of appeals’ analysis failed to preserve the factfinder’s role as weigher of the evidence by reviewing all of the evidence in the light most favorable to the prosecution, and it erred in finding a state court’s resolution of petitioner’s claim to be objectively unreasonable; and 2) petitioner forfeited his claim that a prosecution expert incorrectly described the statistical implications of certain DNA evidence.

CRIMINAL LAW & PROCEDURE, HABEAS CORPUS, SENTENCING Smith v. Spisak, No. 08–724 In capital habeas proceedings, a grant of petitioner’s habeas petition is reversed where a state court’s rejection of claimed errors regarding jury instructions and verdict forms, as well as ineffective assistance of counsel, was not contrary to, or an unreasonable application of, clearly established federal law as: 1) the jury instructions and forms in the penalty phase made clear that, to recommend a death sentence, the jury had to find unanimously that each of the aggravating factors outweighed any mitigating circumstances, but they did not say that the jury had to determine the existence of each individual mitigating factor unanimously; and 2) even assuming that defense counsel’s closing argument was inadequate in the respects claimed by petitioner, there was no reasonable probability that a better closing argument without such defects would have made a significant difference.

January 11, 2010 No. 08-809.

The defendant, Troy Brown, had alleged on appeal that the state mischaracterized the probability that his DNA matched that of someone in the general population. He also claimed that a prosecution expert had misstated the chances of a DNA match between himself and his two brothers. All three lived near the victim.

“DNA evidence remains powerful inculpatory evidence even though the state concedes [its expert] overstated its probative value,” the Supreme Court wrote in McDaniel v. Brown.

David Badertscher
Legal experts and prosecutors are quite concerned about possible results of the June 25, 2009 U.S. Supreme Court decision Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts 07-591. In this decision the Court has ruled that forensic analysts conducting tests must be in court to testify about their test results and that lab sheets that identify a substance as a narcotic, or breath test printouts describing a suspect’s blood-alcohol level are no longer to be considered as sufficient evidence. A person is now required to be in court to talk about the test results. The basic question the Supreme Court addressed in this opinion was: “Is a state forensic analyst’s laboratory report prepared for use in a criminal prosecution “testimonial” evidence subject to the demands of the Sixth Amendment’s Confrontation Clause as set forth in Crawford v. Washington?”* In its ruling the Supreme Court answered, yes.
_________________________ *The above quote was taken from discussion of this opinion in the U.S. Supreme Court Oyez website at. . This site also includes links to the text of the opinion as well at to the Syllabus, dissent, concurrance, and argument. For additional information see discussion in a July 15, 2009 Washington Post article by Tom Jackman, and follow the link on the U.S. Supreme Court website.

To view the full-text of cases you must sign in to All summaries are produced by Findlaw.

June 1, 2009.

CIVIL PROCEDURE, INJURY AND TORT LAW, PER CURIAM, TRANSPORTATION CSX Transp., Inc. v. Hensley, No. 08-1034 In an action brought under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act, based on Plaintiff’s fear of developing cancer due to asbestos exposure, judgment for Plaintiff is reversed where the trial court denied an instruction that Plaintiff must have a “genuine and serious fear” to recover damages, because that instruction was required by the Court’s prior decision in Ayers v. Norfolk & Western R. Co., 538 U.S. 135 (2003). Read more…

Contact Information