Featured Petitions at the Supreme Court Press

Edward Lewis Tobinick, et al. v. Steven Novella, M.D.

This is a case about whether a defendant can be held liable under the Lanham Act for the alleged false commercial disparagement of a novel medical technique, when that defendant has the purported twin goals of preventing the public from preserving his medical practice revenue and of monetizing Internet traffic from the disparagement. (read more)

Mark Sheriff / Eric Jones et al. v. Pamela Gillie et al.

This case asks whether Congress, through the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, meant to interfere with the way in which a State engages in a sovereign function—its debt collection. Ohio requires its Attorney General to collect debts owed to the State. It authorizes the Attorney General to “appoint special counsel,” in addition to employees, “to represent the state in connection with” this debt collection. . (read more)

Christopher Burgos et al. v. New Jersey

In 2011, as a cure for a severely underfunded pension system, the New Jersey Legislature enacted amendments to N.J.S.A. 43:3C-9.5 which increased both State and employee contributions for a period of seven years in order to restore the pension system to a fiscally sound level. The language of the amendments clearly states that these pension contributions were contractual obligations of the State . . .(read more)

Richard Baumgartner v. United States

Richard Baumgartner was convicted of the federal misprision statute for providing positive character references on behalf of a drug user. Mr. Baumgartner challenges this conviction on First Amendment grounds and argues that his speech to a another person has no concealing affect, since it was not with law enforcement, and did not happen in the context of a criminal investigation. (read more)

Robert H. Schuller et al. v. Karen Naylor et al.

Section 502, subsection (b)(7) of title 11 of the United States Codes instructs bankruptcy courts to limit a “claim of an employee for damages resulting from the termination of an employment contract” to the amount of compensation provided under the contract for one year. Does this one-year cap apply to limit a claim of a retiree for payment of unpaid vested retirement benefits, where the retiree has already done the work and earned the benefits?(read more)

Agrawal v. Montemagno, Carlo, and the University of Cincinnati

Has the federal system quietly barred the courts to employment discrimination claims? Given the growing number of Supreme Court petitions addressing this question, the canary in the coalmine may already have been dead for quite a while. This petition argues that the Sixth Circuit has built a summary judgment firewall that is not permitting cases with genuine issues of fact to go to the jury. (read more)

McClure Dry v. Steele et al.

They say that neither snow, nor rain can stop the US Postal Service from delivery. However, what happens when something is mailed to a deceased person? What if that item is an all-critical legal notice that is meant to be served upon living heirs and representives of the deceased person? The case of McClure Dry v. Steele et al., No. 14-180, asks this very question. (read more)

Ditkowsky v. The IARDC

Many lawyers take up the law for idealistic reasons - to fight for the weak, to correct injustices, and preserve the rule of law. However, when the lawyer takes on corruption whose seed might be planted within the legal system itself, the system sometimes retaliates with a fury with the ultimate punishment for an attorney - a referral to the bar's disciplinary committee and long term suspension or disbarment.(read more)

McClamma v. Remon

Supervised release conditions are often contained on a "check the box" form where a judge can tick off the conditions applicable to an offense. However, when such a check box item becomes artfully interpreted by a zealous probation officer Josepha Remon, it can lead to absurd consequences as it did for petitioner Kyle McClamma.(read more)

McDermott v. Pifer

Social media is everywhere - Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google Plus, Linked In - humans are social creatures and they want to be connected. But what about judges, or as in this case, justices of the North Dakota Supreme Court? Is it appropriate for them to Facebook friend the defendant in this case and not recuse themself? (read more)

Hedges v. Obama

A group of world renowned journalists and human rights advocates, led by Pulitzer Prize winning reporter Christopher Hedges and Daniel Ellsberg of Pentagon Papers fame want to restore a permanent injunction against the National Defense Authorization Act §1021(b)(2) which permits the U.S. Military to indefinitely detain American citizens in off-grid foreign prisons if suspected of significantly assisting associated forces of Al Qaeda. The law which was struck down at the district level as unconstitutional, places foreign correspondents at risk. (read more)

How a Pro Se Defeated the Feds 9-0

Think it can't be done? Well it can when the feds target an innocent man WHO HAS ALREADY BEEN ACQUITTED once in a state trial. He stood up by himself and explained to the district judge that he had misapplied the law and permitted a trial to go forward on a statute that in no way could possibly apply to his case. The district judge ignored every one of the pro se defendant's motions and the federal prosecutor introduced manufactured evidence to devise a conviction. But justice was ultimate served when the Supreme Court informed the Second Circuit that the Petitioner was correct, calling the case "nonsense", "shifting", "imprecise" and "weak" (read more)

Verhagen v. State of Wisconsin

The Supreme Court set off a major change in criminal sentencing with its 2000 Apprendi ruling which required that any fact that increased the penalty for a crime beyond the prescribed statutory maximum is, in effect, an element of the crime, which must be submitted to a jury and proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Verhagen challenges a Wisconsin law where a person convicted of an OUI offense is subject to a major penalty enhancement, where there is record of a first offense that was put to a jury at a civil hearing where the defendant is not permitted the right to counsel, the right to confront witnesses, or the right against self-incrimination. (read more)

Stogner v. Sturdivant, Mellerine, et al.

Are officers who brutally assaulted a person resulting in his death entitled to qualified immunity, when the victim was not actively resisting, did not pose a physical threat, and was not fleeing, because the person was later found to be possessing drugs.  The Fourth Circuit opined that there was no distinction between active and passive resistance in justifying the use of police violence–a result that places peaceful protestors and civil disobedients at risk of official violence and fatal beatings. (read more)