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Friday, January 15, 2010

Supreme Court to consider release of names on same-sex marriage petition
Jaclyn Belczyk at 3:08 PM ET

[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website; JURIST news archive] on Friday granted certiorari [order list, DOC] in five cases. In Doe v. Reed [docket; cert. petition, PDF], the Court will consider whether the First Amendment allows a state to compel the release of identity information about petition signers. The case arose over an order to publish the names of those who signed a Washington state petition to overturn a state law [JURIST report] giving same-sex partners the same rights as married partners. The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled [opinion, PDF] that the names should be released, but the Supreme Court issued a temporary stay [JURIST report] in October. The legislation was approved [JURIST report] by Washington voters in November.

In Krupski v. Costa Crociere [docket; cert. petition, PDF], the Court will consider the appropriate construction of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(c)(1)(C) [text], which permits an amended complaint to "relate back" for statute of limitation purposes when the amendment corrects a mistake concerning the proper party's identity. The US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit held [opinion, PDF] that the rule does not apply to substitution of the correct defendant for a related corporation with a similar name where the plaintiff has imputed knowledge of the identity of the added defendant prior to filing suit. The Court has been asked to resolve a circuit split on the issue.

In Hardt v. Reliance Standard Life Insurance Co. [docket; cert. petition, PDF], the Court will consider whether § 502(g)(1) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) [materials] provides a district court discretion to award reasonable attorney's fees only to a prevailing party, and whether a party is entitled to attorney's fees when she persuades a district court that a violation of ERISA has occurred, successfully secures a judicially-ordered remand requiring a redetermination of entitlement to benefits, and subsequently receives the benefits sought on remand. The US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit held [opinion, PDF] that § 502(g)(1) provides a district court discretion to award reasonable attorney's fees only to a prevailing party.

In Monsanto Co. v. Geertson Seed Farms [docket; cert. petition, PDF], the Court will consider three issues: (1) whether the Ninth Circuit erred in holding [opinion, PDF] that National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) [EPA materials] plaintiffs are specially exempt from the requirement of showing a likelihood of irreparable harm to obtain an injunction; (2) whether the Ninth Circuit erred in holding that a district court may enter an injunction sought to remedy a NEPA violation without conducting an evidentiary hearing sought by a party to resolve genuinely disputed facts directly relevant to the appropriate scope of the requested injunction; and (3) whether the Ninth Circuit erred when it affirmed a nationwide injunction entered prior to the Supreme Court's decision in Winter v. National Resources Defense Council [opinion, PDF; JURIST report], which sought to remedy a NEPA violation based on only a remote possibility of reparable harm. The case arose over an injunction against the planting of Monsanto's "Roundup Ready alfalfa," pending an environmental impact statement.

In Rent-A-Center, West v. Jackson [docket; cert. petition, PDF], the Court will consider whether the district court is required in all cases to determine claims that an arbitration agreement subject to the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) [materials] is unconscionable, even when the parties to the contract have clearly and unmistakably assigned this "gateway" issue to the arbitrator for decision. The Ninth Circuit held [opinion, PDF] that that the district court was required to determine whether the arbitration agreement was unconscionable.






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