Findlaw Case Summaries: Constitutional Law 20

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

July 6-10. 2009.

U.S. 1st Circuit Court of Appeals, July 08, 2009 McCullen v. Coakley , No. 08-2310
In an action challenging a statute creating a fixed buffer zone around reproductive health care facilities, district court judgment rejecting the facial challenge and refuseing to enjoin enforcement of the new law is affirmed where: 1) there is nothing in the text or the legislative history of the statute that deprives that statute of content-neutral status, and thus an intermediate scrutiny analysis applies; 2) the statute is a valid time-place-manner regulation that advances a significant governmental interest without burdening substantially more speech than necessary and leaves open adequate alternative channels of communication; 3) plaintiffs’ overbreadth argument is without merit as the increased degree of the expansion of the buffer zone in the statute is reasonable, and thus the expansion is not a matter of constitutional significance; and 4) plaintiffs’ vagueness argument fails as plaintiffs want to engage in the anti-abortion protests that are proscribed in the atto! rney general’s challenged guidance letter, and a party to whose conduct a statute clearly applies may not successfully challenge it for vagueness.

U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, July 06, 2009 Pilgrim v. Luther, No. 07-1950 In a prisoner civil rights action, district court’s grant of summary judgment for defendant is affirmed where: 1) plaintiff’s First Amendment retaliation claim fails as a matter of law as entreaties to activity such as petitions protesting prison conditions are not entitled to First Amendment protection where other less disruptive means of airing grievances are available; and 2) plaintiff’s claims that defendant violated his due process rights are without merit as any error on the part of the corrections officer assigned to assisting plaintiff was harmless in light of defendant’s owns failures.

U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, July 10, 2009 Little v. KPMG LLP, No. 08-50100 In an action claiming that Plaintiff accounting firms lost business to Defendant when Defendant’s partner practiced without a Texas accounting license, the dismissal of the action is affirmed, where the alleged injury to Plaintiff was too speculative
U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, July 09, 2009 Narducci v. Moore, No. 06-3427 In a class action against local government officials for surreptitiously recording phone calls from the local finance department, alleging violations of the Fourth Amendment brought under 42 U.S.C. sec. 1983 and Title III, district court’s denial of summary judgment is affirmed where: 1) plaintiff presented sufficient evidence of a violation of the Fourth Amendment to withstand summary judgment, as he demonstrated a reasonable expectation of privacy in his phone line at work and that the workplace search was unreasonable in scope; 2) at the time of the recording, it was sufficiently clear that government employees enjoyed a reasonable expectation of privacy in the workplace to preclude qualified immunity; and 3) the district court properly found that defendants waived the qualified immunity defense to the Title III claims as they failed to raise the issue in their original submission.

U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, July 09, 2009 Wiesmueller v. Kosobucki, No. 08-2527 In a class action challenging the Wisconsin policy of allowing graduates of law schools in the state to be admitted to practice law without taking the Wisconsin bar exam, district court’s grant of defendants’ motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim is reversed and remanded where the case was dismissed prematurely, since questions remain as to whether the diploma privilege discriminates against graduates of out-of state law schools who would like to practice law in Wisconsin and burdens interstate commerce in violation of the Commerce Clause.

U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, July 08, 2009 Stormans, Inc. v. Selecky, No. 07-36039 In a First Amendment challenge to rules promulgated by the Washington State Board of Pharmacy requiring pharmacies to deliver lawfully prescribed FDA-approved medications, a preliminary injunction in favor of Plaintiffs is reversed, where the District Court erroneously treated Plaintiffs’ as-applied challenge as a facial challenge.

U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, July 10, 2009 Lone Star Security & Video, Inc. v. Los Angeles, No. 07-56521 In a 42 U.S.C. section 1983 action claiming that a city ordinance under which Plaintiff’s vehicle was towed was invalid under state law, summary judgment for Plaintiff is reversed, where Plaintiff’s claim that the ordinance contravened state law failed to raise a colorable federal question.

U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, July 06, 2009 Kleinsmith v. Shurtleff, No. 07-4187 In a constitutional challenge to a Utah statute requiring attorneys who acted as trustees of real property trust deeds in Utah to maintain a place within the state to meet with trustors in connection with foreclosures, summary judgment for Defendant is affirmed where Plaintiff failed to present evidence that could satisfy his burden to establish a discriminatory effect.

U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, July 10, 2009 Riggins v. Goodman, No. 08-1034 In an action claiming that Plaintiff police officer was discharged without adequate procedural safeguards after he suffered from a psychiatric episode that caused him to take administrative leave, the denial of qualified immunity is reversed, where the city’s three-step appeals process provided adequate pretermination due process for Plaintiff to challenge the decision.

U.S. D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, July 10, 2009 Zivotofsky v. Sec’y. of State, No. 07-5347 In an action seeking to compel the Secretary of State to record in official documents that Israel was the birthplace of a U.S. citizen born in Jerusalem, the action was nonjusticiable under the political question doctrine, as the U.S. takes no position on whether Jerusalem is part of Israel.

Supreme Court of Florida, July 06, 2009 Pleus v. Crist, No. SC09-565 Petition for writ of mandamus compelling the Governor of the State of Florida to fill a vacancy created in the state’s Fifth District Court is granted where the Florida Constitution mandates that the Governor appoint a judicial nominee within sixty days of the certification of nominees by the Judicial Nominating Commission. The Governor also lacks authority under the constitution to seek a new list of nominees from the Judicial Nominating Commission and has a mandatory duty to fill the vacancy with an appointment from the list certified to him.

California Appellate Districts, July 09, 2009 People v. Stuckey , No. C057782 Conviction for drug crimes is affirmed where: 1) the trial court did not err in denying defendant’s motions for appointment of experts under Evidence Code sec. 730 as the statute does not authorize request for experts to assist his attorney at sentencing proceedings; and 2) the court’s denial of defendant’s request for defense experts for the sentencing hearing did not violate his constitutional rights to due process, equal protection, and effective assistance of counsel as nothing in the federal or state Constitutions requires a trial court to appoint experts to serve as surrogate advocates at sentencing hearings.

Contact Information