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Adams, a resident and member of the State Bar of Delaware, wanted to be considered for a state judicial position. Following the announcement of several judicial vacancies, Adams considered applying but ultimately chose not to because the announcement required that the candidate be a Republican. Because Adams was neither a Republican nor a Democrat, he concluded that any application he submitted would be futile. Adams challenged the Delaware Constitution's provision that effectively limits service on state courts to members of the Democratic and Republican parties, citing Supreme Court precedent: A provision that limits a judicial candidate’s freedom to associate (or not to associate) with the political party of his choice is unconstitutional. The governor responded that because judges are policymakers, there are no constitutional restraints on his hiring decisions. The Third Circuit ruled in favor of Adams, concluding that judges are not policymakers because whatever decisions judges make in any given case relates to the case under review and not to partisan political interests. The portions of Delaware’s constitution that limit Adams’s ability to apply for a judicial position while associating with the political party of his choice violate his First Amendment rights. View "Adams v. Governor of Delaware" on Justia Law

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Newark police officers forcibly entered and searched the apartment of Roman’s girlfriend. They arrested Roman, who was present in the apartment after they found drugs in a common area that was shared by multiple tenants. Roman was imprisoned for over six months and indicted for various drug offenses. The New Jersey Superior Court found the search to be unlawful and the charges were dropped. Roman sued the City of Newark and various police officers under 42 U.S.C. 1983, alleging that the city had a pattern or practice of constitutional violations and failed to train, supervise, and discipline its officers. He also pleaded an unlawful search claim against the officers and contends they are liable for false imprisonment and malicious prosecution. The district court dismissed all of the claims as inadequately pled and held the city did not have an ongoing practice of unconstitutional searches and arrests. The Third Circuit vacated in part. While most of Roman’s claims do not withstand dismissal, he adequately alleged that the Police Department had a custom of warrantless searches and false arrests. He also sufficiently pled that the Department failed to train, supervise, and discipline its officers, specifically with respect to “the requirements of [the] Fourth Amendment and related law.” View "Estate of Roman v. Newark" on Justia Law

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Delivery drivers filed a putative class action, alleging that AEX misclassified them as independent contractors when they are actually employees under the New Jersey Wage and Hour Law (NJWHL), and the New Jersey Wage Payment Law (NJWPL). AEX argued that the Drivers’ claims are preempted by the Federal Aviation Authorization Administration Act of 1994 (FAAAA), 49 U.S.C. 14501- 06. The district court denied AEX’s motion and certified the order for interlocutory appeal. The Third Circuit affirmed. The FAAAA does not preempt the New Jersey law for determining employment status for the purposes of NJWHL and NJWPL. AEX has not shown that New Jersey’s "ABC classification" test has a “significant impact” on Congress’ deregulatory efforts with respect to motor carrier businesses, nor are the NJWHL and NJWPL—typical state wage and hour laws—the kinds of preexisting state regulations with which Congress was concerned when it passed the FAAAA. New Jersey’s ABC classification test has neither a direct, nor an indirect, nor a significant effect on carrier prices, routes, or services. View "Bedoya v. American Eagle Express, Inc" on Justia Law

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In March 2015, the Boards of Penn State Hershey Medical Center and PinnacleHealth formally approved a plan to merge. They had announced the proposal a year earlier; the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) were already investigating the impact of the proposed merger. This joint probe resulted in the FTC filing an administrative complaint alleging that the merger violated Section 7 of the Clayton Act, 15 U.S.C. 18. The FTC scheduled an administrative hearing for May 2016. The Commonwealth and the FTC jointly sued Hershey and Pinnacle under Section 16 of the Clayton Act, and Section 13(b) of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. 53(b) seeking a preliminary injunction. In September 2016, the Third CIrcuit reversed the district court and directed it to preliminarily enjoin the merger “pending the outcome of the FTC’s administrative adjudication.” Hershey and Pinnacle terminated their Agreement. The Commonwealth then moved for attorneys’ fees and costs, asserting that it “substantially prevailed” under Section 16 of the Clayton Act. The district court denied the motion, finding the Commonwealth had not “substantially prevailed” under Section 16. The Third Circuit affirmed, reasoning that it had ordered the injunction based on Section 13(b) of the FTC Act, not Section 16 of the Clayton Act. View "Federal Trade Commission v. Penn State Hershey Medical Center" on Justia Law

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Louis, a citizen of Haiti, entered the U.S illegally. He later applied for asylum. While that application was pending, he married a U.S. citizen and sought citizenship on that basis. Louis received a notice, dated August 2016, that he had to appear for an asylum hearing in June 2017; it stated that the immigration judge could hold the hearing and remove Louis if he did not attend. Louis, who does not speak English, consulted Thermitus, who is not a lawyer. Louis thought Thermitus was a lawyer. Thermitus did not hold himself out as a lawyer but as “an immigration expert that performed other work as well.” Thermitus stated Louis did not have to go to the hearing because he had another path to citizenship: marriage. Louis did not attend the hearing, which was held without him. Because he had conceded that he had entered the country illegally, the judge ordered him removed. Louis hired a real lawyer and unsuccessfully moved to reopen his case. The BIA affirmed because no “exceptional circumstances” had prevented Louis from attending his hearing. The Third Circuit denied a petition for review. Exceptional circumstances must be grave and beyond the applicant’s control. Holding the hearing without Louis did not violate due process because he had the opportunity to attend and chose not to. View "Louis v. Attorney General United States" on Justia Law

Posted in: Immigration Law

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Goldstein was arrested for involvement in a kidnapping scheme. Prosecutors obtained a court order under the Stored Communications Act,18 U.S.C. 2703(d), compelling Goldstein’s cell phone carrier to turn over his CSLI. CSLI metadata is generated every time a cell phone connects to the nearest antenna; service providers retain a time-stamped record identifying the particular antenna to which the phone connected, which can provide a detailed log of an individual’s movements. Section 2703(d) does not require a showing of probable cause to obtain CSLI but only requires “specific and articulable facts showing that there are reasonable grounds to believe” that the CSLI is relevant and material. The district court denied a motion to suppress. Goldstein was convicted. The Third Circuit affirmed, holding that Section 2703(d) complied with the Fourth Amendment because cell phone users have no reasonable expectation of privacy in their CSLI. The Third Circuit granted rehearing after the Supreme Court’s "Carpenter" holding, that “an individual maintains a legitimate expectation of privacy in the record of his physical movements as captured through CSLI” and that the government’s collection of CSLI requires a showing of probable cause under the Fourth Amendment. The Third Circuit then held that the government violated Goldstein’s Fourth Amendment rights when it acquired his CSLI but nonetheless upheld the admission of Goldstein’s CSLI because the government was acting under an objectively reasonable good faith belief that obtaining CSLI under Section 2703(d) was constitutional. View "United States v. Goldstein" on Justia Law

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In 2010, G.S., his parents, his sisters, and his paternal grandparents moved into a home in Rose Tree School District. The children attended Rose Tree schools. In 2014, G.S.’s parents lost the home. The family moved in with his maternal grandmother, outside the district. G.S. slept in the living room with his parents and sisters. Rose Tree deemed G.S. homeless and continued his enrollment under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, 42 U.S.C. 11432(g)(3)(A)(i). G.S. was involved in a disciplinary incident. G.S.'s parents challenged Rose Tree's suspension of G.S. and threats of expulsion. In a settlement Rose Tree agreed to pay for G.S. to attend a school outside of its jurisdiction in 2015–16; G.S.’s parents agreed to waive all claims through August 2016. The agreement purported to waive G.S.’s right to claim homelessness after the 2015–16 academic year. In 2016, G.S.’s parents notified Rose Tree of their intent to re-enroll G.S. for 2016–17. Rose Tree claimed that they had waived that right. The Pennsylvania Department of Education concluded that G.S. had a right to attend Rose Tree. Rose Tree continued to refuse to enroll G.S. but had continually enrolled his sister. The Third Circuit affirmed, in favor of G.S., finding that he satisfied the Act’s definition of homelessness. Continued enrollment in Rose Tree is in G.S.’s best interest. The waiver was unenforceable for lack of consideration; the tuition payment was in exchange for release of claims through August 2016. View "G.S. v. Rose Tree Media School District" on Justia Law

Posted in: Education Law

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In 2008, St. Croix residents Bryan, Beberman, and Francis took a Caribbean cruise aboard the Adventure of the Seas, stopping at several foreign ports before returning. to the United States. Some of the stops are known sources of narcotics. When they reboarded the ship in Puerto Rico, a can of shaving powder in Francis’s bag spilled over an officer for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The travelers claim that the officers' subsequent actions were retaliation for their laughing at that incident. The officers found nothing unlawful in their bags, but made a notation in the Treasury Enforcement Communications System (TECS) database that Francis had appeared “disoriented and nervous” and that it took him some time to state his employment. That database contained entries from 2000, 2004, and 2006 linking Bryan and Francis to suspicion of drug smuggling. Officers searched their cabins but found no contraband. The three travelers asserted Bivens claims against the officers for allegedly violating their Fourth Amendment rights and tort claims against the government under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA). The Third Circuit affirmed summary judgment in favor of the officers and the government. The officers are entitled to qualified immunity and the government is shielded from liability under the FTCA’s discretionary function exception. View "Bryan v. United States" on Justia Law

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Wright was charged as a felon in possession of a firearm. Two juries failed to reach a verdict. Both trials involved evidence that officers saw Wright driving a car well above the speed limit. When police began to follow, Wright sped up and fled, running several stop signs. After losing sight of Wright, officers noticed skid marks and found Wright’s car in a parking lot below the road. Detectives at the top of the hill saw Wright search the rear passenger compartment, back out of the vehicle with a semi-automatic handgun in his hand, and try to “rack the slide.” They drew their weapons and told Wright to drop the gun. Wright eventually tossed the gun to the side and lay on the ground. An officer picked up the gun, which was loaded with eight rounds--one in the chamber. Wright did not present a case. After the second mistrial, the court barred a retrial and dismissed the indictment with prejudice, relying on its “inherent authority,” without citing any misconduct or any prejudice to Wright beyond the general anxiety and inconvenience of facing a retrial. The Third Circuit reversed. Under these circumstances the court lacked the inherent authority to bar the retrial and dismiss the indictment. Prejudice sufficient for the court to rely on its inherent authority to intervene in a proper prosecution occurs only where the government's actions place a defendant at a disadvantage in addressing the charges. A court’s power to preclude a prosecution is limited by the separation of powers, specifically, the executive’s law-enforcement and prosecutorial prerogative. View "United States v. Wright" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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T Mobile unsuccessfully applied to Wilmington’s Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) for permission to erect an antenna. The Telecommunications Act of 1996 allows a disappointed wireless service provider to seek review in a district court “within 30 days after” a zoning authority’s “final action,” 47 U.S.C. 332(c)(7)(B)(v), T Mobile filed suit. After the case had proceeded for over a year, the district court concluded that it lacked jurisdiction because the claim was not ripe; T Mobile filed its complaint before the ZBA released a written decision confirming an earlier oral rejection of the zoning application. T Mobile had not supplemented its complaint to include the ZBA’s written decision within 30 days of its issuance. The Third Circuit remanded the case. While only a written decision can serve as a locality’s final action when denying an application and the issuance of that writing is the government “act” ruled by the 30-day provision, that timing requirement is not jurisdictional. An untimely supplemental complaint can, by relating back, cure an initial complaint that was unripe. The district court had jurisdiction and should not have granted Wilmington’s motion for summary judgment. View "T Mobile Northeast LLC v. Wilmington" on Justia Law