Findlaw Case Summaries: Constitutional Law 19. March 9 – 13, 2009.

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March 9 – 13, 2009:

U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals, March 10, 2009 Fontroy v. Beard, No. 07-2446 In an action involving the First Amendment rights of prisoners, district court’s judgment is reversed where the defendant’s new prison mail policy requiring attorneys and courts to affix control numbers to mail sent to inmates is reasonably related to legitimate penological interests and thus does not unconstitutionally infringe on First Amendment rights, as there is a rational connection between the mail policy and the prison’s interest in prison security and safety.

U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, March 12, 2009 Moore v. Williamsburg Regional Hosp., No. 07-1966 In a wrongful termination action by a physician against a hospital, summary judgment for Defendants is affirmed, where: 1) the Health Care Quality Improvement Act immunized Defendants from Plaintiff’s state-law claims; and 2) the hospital was not a state actor and thus was immune from Plaintiff’s federal due process claims.

U.S. D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, March 13, 2009 Delaware Dept. of Natural Res. & Envt’l. Ctrl. v. FERC, No. 07-1007 Petitioner state agency’s petition for review of FERC’s approval of an application to operate a natural gas site is dismissed, where Petitioner lacked standing to challenge the order because it was expressly conditioned on Petitioner’s approval.

U.S. Fed. Circuit Court of Appeals, March 12, 2009 Rose Acre Farms, Inc. v. US, No. 07-5169 Court of Federal Claims holding that USDA regulations which restricted defendant’s egg sales during a two-year period constituted a taking for which just compensation is due is reversed where: 1) plaintiff’s monetary loss due to the regulations was not insignificant but did not approach the level of severe economic harm; 2) the character of the government’s regulations strongly favors a non-taking; and 3) although the reasonable investment-backed expectations favor plaintiff, they are not strong enough to be dispositive. The government did not commit a compensable taking and is thus not liable to plaintiff for just compensation.

California Appellate Districts, March 09, 2009 California Sch. Bd. Assoc. v. State of California , No. C055700 In a challenge to state legislative action, trial court’s grant of injunctive and declaratory relief is affirmed in part and reversed in part where: 1) the Legislature’s direction to the Commission on State Mandates to redecide specific test claims decisions that were issued before the amendment of Gov. Code section 17556 (f) violated the separation of powers doctrine; and 2) Gov. Code section 17556 (f) is consistent with article XIII B, section 6 of the California Constitution, to the extent that the amended statute provides that the state need not reimburse local governments for imposing duties that are expressly included in or necessary to implement a ballot measure.

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