Recent Articles from All Practice Groups

Court Sides With Baker Who Refused To Bake Custom Cake For Gay Wedding

When Jack Phillips refused, on religious grounds, to make a custom wedding cake for a gay couple, the couple filed a charge with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission alleging the refusal violated Colorado’s Anti-Discrimination Act. Phillips maintained he had a First Amendment right to refuse to bake the cake, but the Commission found him in violation of the Act and... Read More >

D.C. Real Estate Loan Drafting Guidance

Practical Law, a Thomson Reuters company that publishes online resources for attorneys, recently launched a state-by-state survey providing Real Estate Loan Drafting Guidance that caters to real estate finance practitioners.  Erica Litovitz and Brian W. Thompson contributed the DC-specific content, which Practical Law published on May 29, 2018 and is now available to subscribers of Practical Law. Published... Read More >

Private Investigations Not Compensated Under Mandatory Victims Restitution Act

The Mandatory Victims Restitution Act of 1996 requires defendants convicted of certain federal offenses to reimburse victims for “lost income and necessary child care, transportation, and other expenses incurred during participation in the investigation or prosecution of the offense or attendance at proceedings related to the offense.” 18 U.S.C. sec. 3663A(b)(4). When Sergio Lagos defrauded a lender for tens of... Read More >

Police Cannot Search Vehicle Within Curtilage Of A Home Without A Search Warrant

The Fourth Amendment has long required that any police officer entering the curtilage of a home to have a search warrant. However, the Fourth Amendment also has an “automobile exception,” permitting warrantless searches of vehicles due to their ready mobility. In Collins v. Virginia, a police officer entered the curtilage of a home (its driveway) without a warrant to... Read More >

Private Arbitration Agreements Preclude Employee Class Actions

In Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis, employees sued their employer in a class action for violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Those employees each had signed an agreement to arbitrate employment disputes under the Federal Arbitration Act, and the employer invoked those agreements to preclude the class actions. The employees argued that the National Labor Relations Act triggered... Read More >

Prior Precedents Did Not Preclude Tribal Sovereign Immunity In A Property Dispute

After the Upper Skagit Indian Tribe purchased a 40-acre parcel of land in Washington State, a survey of that parcel revealed that approximately an acre of it lay on the other side of a boundary fence, which the Tribe’s new neighbors, the Lundgrens, believed they had owned for decades. The Lundgrens file a quiet title action, and the Tribe asserted... Read More >

Complaints Of Use Of Full Restraints Moot After Criminal Cases Ended

A group of criminal defendants challenged the policy of the United States District Court for the Southern District of California, which permitted officers to put in-custody defendants in full restraints for nonjury proceedings in court. The district court denied the claims, but while the appeal before the Ninth Circuit was pending all of the cases involving those defendants resolved. The... Read More >

Drivers Have A Reasonable Expectation Of Privacy In A Car Rented By Another

In Byrd v. United States, Terrence Byrd was pulled over while driving a car rented by Latasha Reed, although the rental agreement did not list Byrd as an authorized driver. The police searched Byrd’s car and discovered 49 bricks of heroin in the trunk. Byrd moved to suppress the evidence as fruits of an unlawful search, but the district... Read More >

Court Rejects Facial-Insufficiency Challenge To Overbroad Wiretap Orders

A federal judge is only authorized to issue a wiretap order for wiretaps conducted within his or her jurisdiction. In Dahda v. United States, a Kansas federal judge issued wiretap orders authorizing wiretaps in Kansas, but also contained language permitting wiretaps in Missouri. Federal investigators conducted the wiretaps in Missouri, and the evidence they gathered led to Los and... Read More >

Court Strikes Down Federal Law Banning Sports Betting

In a 7-2 opinion by Justice Alito, the Court reversed the Third Circuit and held that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act was unconstitutional for violating the “anticommandeering rule” inherent in the Tenth Amendment, as it impermissibly sought to regulate state regulation of sports betting. The Act in question forbid states from authorizing betting schemes based on competitive sporting... Read More >

Sixth Amendment Permits Defendant To Insist On Not Conceding Guilt For First-Degree Murder

Robert McCoy was charged with first-degree murder for killing his estranged wife’s mother, stepfather, and son. The evidence was damning, but McCoy insisted that he was innocent. His attorney at trial, Larry English, decided that the best strategy in the face of the evidence was to admit to the jury that McCoy committed the murders, but argue that his mental... Read More >

Conservation Easements: Congress Giveth and the IRS & Tax Court Taketh Away

By: Nancy Ortmeyer Kuhn, Esq. Charitable conservation easements have long been controversial, and there was some concern that the new tax legislation enacted in December 2017[1] would limit the conservation easement charitable deduction.  However, there were no limits placed upon conservation easements, and even the syndicated easements[2] were left alone.  This particular area of the law is... Read More >

TOPA Update – Single-Family Homes, DC Legislation Passed

This is an update from the articles posted March 9, April 4, April 6, and April 10, 2018 relating to Single-Family Homes – DC Legislation Proposed to Exclude from TOPA. The District of Columbia Council passed legislation today, April 10, 2018, that excludes single-family homes from TOPA. Bill 22-315, was first introduced last... Read More >

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Court Strikes Portion Of Immigration and Naturalization Act as Void for Vagueness

In one of Justice Scalia’s last majority opinions before his death, the Court held that part of a federal law defining “violent crime” was unconstitutionally void for vagueness in Johnson v. United States, 576 U.S. --- (2015). The Immigration and Nationality Act similarly provided that a person could be deported for committing an “aggravated felony,” which included a “crime of... Read More >

DC Reduced Rate of Recordation Tax – Applies to Revocable Trust

The District recently passed legislation which reduces the Recordation Tax for most first-time homebuyers.  The Recordation Tax for a “first-time District homebuyer” purchasing “eligible property” is reduced to 0.725% (transfer taxes owed by the seller of 1.1% or 1.45% are unchanged) for houses and, for transfers of economic interests in a housing cooperative unit (co-op unit), the recordation tax rate is... Read More >

TOPA – Proposal to eliminate Bankruptcy and Court-Order Exemptions

Earlier this month, Bill 22-0739 was introduced to the District of Columbia Council. The Bill is named the TOPA Bankruptcy Tenant Displacement Prevention Amendment Act of 2018. The Bill seeks to amend the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act to remove TOPA’s exemption of bankruptcy sales and to require owners of property acquired via court order to submit to TOPA... Read More >

Court Awards Qualified Immunity To Officer Who Shot Woman Claiming Excessive Force

In Kisela v. Hughes, officers reporting to a call of a woman acting erratically with a large knife discovered Ms. Hughes emerging from her house with a knife in her hand, heading toward another woman, Ms. Chadwick, who it turned out was Hughes’ roommate. Hughes stopped six feet from Chadwick, and the officers drew their firearms and told Hughes... Read More >

Service Advisors Are Exempt From Fair Labor Standards Act Overtime-Pay Requirement

The Fair Labor Standards Act exempted “any salesman, partsman, or mechanic primarily engaged in selling or servicing automobiles” from overtime-pay requirements under the Act. In Encino Motorcars, LLC v. Navarro, a group of service advisors sued for overtime pay under the Act when the Department of Labor decided in 2011 that they were excluded from the exemption. The Court... Read More >

Art Burger To Teach Class: Grappling with Conflicts

Arthur D. Burger, Chair of Jackson & Campbell’s Professional Responsibility Practice Group, will be teaching a DC Bar CLE Course. The course, Grappling with Conflicts : How to Spot Them and What To Do About Them will be taught by Webinar on May 8, 2018 at 6:00 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. His co-panelist will be Julia Porter, Esq., Senior Assistant... Read More >

Court Rejects Fifth Circuit’s “Substantial Need” Test For Funding Under 18 U.S.C. sec. 3599(f)

Under 18 U.S.C. sec. 3599(f), a defendant charged with a crime punishable by death can petition the trial court for funds that would be “reasonably necessary” for investigative, expert, or other services needed for the defense. In Ayestas v. Davis, a man sentenced to death made such a petition to support his federal habeas claim for ineffective assistance of... Read More >

Government Must Prove Specific Interference With Targeted Tax-Related Proceedings For Tax Obstruction Charge

IRS code makes it a crime under 26 U.S.C. sec. 7212(a) to “obstruct or impede, or endeavor to obstruct or impede, the due administration of” the Internal Revenue Code, either “corruptly or by force or threats of force.” The IRS investigated Carlo Marinello, and ultimately charged him with several violations of the tax code, including for tax obstruction under Section... Read More >

DC Super-Priority Lien on a Condo Cannot Foreclose Subject to First Priority Mortgage

Following from its decision in Chase Plaza Condominium Assoc. v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, 98 A.3d 166 (DC 2014), in which the DC Court of Appeals held that a DC condominium foreclosing on its statutory six-month super-priority lien could by law extinguish an otherwise first-priority mortgage when the proceeds of the sale were insufficient to satisfy that mortgage, the Court was... Read More >

Art Burger to Participate on Panel, Ethics in a Changing World

On April 24 at 6:00 p.m. Arthur D. Burger, Chair of Jackson & Campbell’s Professional Responsibility Practice Group, will participate on a panel before the Federal Communications Bar Association for a CLE course entitled:  Ethics in a Changing World. Mr. Burger and the other panelists will discuss ethical issues attorneys should consider when changing firms, or when hiring lateral... Read More >

Court Restricts Collections Efforts Under Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act

In Rubin v. Islamic Republic of Iran, certain parties obtained a judgment against Iran under the state sponsors of terrorism exception to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act. They then sought to enforce that judgment against Iranian historical artifacts housed at the University of Chicago. The district court declined to permit the attachment, and the Seventh Circuit affirmed. The Court,... Read More >

Guilty Plea Does Not Bar A Constitutional Challenge To Conviction

Class v. United States When Rodney Class was indicted for possessing firearms in his locked vehicle parked at the U.S. Capitol, he moved to dismiss on the basis that the law violated his Second Amendment and Due Process rights under the Constitution. The district court declined Class’ motion, and he entered into a written plea agreement, which did not expressly... Read More >

Court Reads Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Law Narrowly, Excludes Internal Whistleblower

Digital Realty Trust, Inc. v. Somers In 2014, Paul Somers, a vice president for a real estate investment trust, reported to senior management several suspected securities-law violations by the trust. He was subsequently terminated. He brought suit claiming protection as a whistleblower as defined under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, which defines whistleblowers as... Read More >