Recent Articles from All Practice Groups

Court Limits Tolling Of Statute Of Limitations In Class Actions To Future Filers

Under prior Court precedent, when a class action is filed but then fails to gain certification, the statute of limitations is tolled for those within the putative class, allowing them to intervene as individual plaintiffs in that action, or bring an individual suit. In China Agritech, Inc. v. Resh, instead of bringing a separate individual suit or intervening, the... Read More >

Closely Divided Court Upholds Ohio Law Maintaining Voter Rolls

Under Ohio law, when a voter fails to vote for two years, the state sends the nonvoter a postage prepaid return card to verify his or her address. Voters who do not return the card and do not vote in any election for four more years are then presumed to have moved and are removed from the voting rolls. In... Read More >

Court Dismisses As Moot Lawsuit Over Unlawful Immigrant’s Abortion

When a pregnant minor unlawful immigrant sought to get an abortion while in the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement, the Office’s policy prohibited her from getting an abortion without the Director’s permission. The minor moved for a temporary restraining order of the policy, which the district court granted. The minor then attended preabortion counseling as required under Texas... Read More >

Criminal Defendants Sentenced Under Mandatory Minimums Not Entitled To Relief Under 18 U.S.C. sec. 3582(c)(2)

In Koons v. United States, after several criminal defendants pleaded guilty to drug conspiracy charges, the district court discovered that the mandatory minimum sentence provided under 21 U.S.C. sec. 841(b)(1) was higher than the sentencing range provided under the Sentencing Guidelines. The district court decided that the mandatory minimums trumped the Guidelines, and sentenced the defendants under that range,... Read More >

Court Permits Bankruptcy Discharge Despite Oral Misrepresentation Over Ability To Pay Legal Bill

When R. Scott Appling fell behind in paying his legal bills, he orally told his attorneys that he would repay them with a tax refund he was expecting to get. When he got the (lower than expected) refund, he used it to pay other expenses instead, lying to his attorneys so they would continue with the representation. After the attorneys... Read More >

Court Resolves Confusion In Certain Plea Agreements, Holds They Are Subject To Sentencing Guidelines

In 2011, the Court had to decide whether a criminal defendant who entered into a plea deal under Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 11(c)(1)(C) could petition to reduce his or her sentence under 18 U.S.C. sec. 3582(c)(2) (which permits a reduction upon a change in the Sentencing Guidelines) if the Sentencing Guidelines were later amended to lower the sentencing range... Read More >

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 >