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Supreme Court Update: Collins v. Virginia & Lagos v. United States

We were expecting an avalanche of decisions today, but instead we got a mere flurry. In Collins v. Virginia (No. 16-1027), the Court held (8-1) that the automobile exception to the warrant requirement does not permit the warrantless entry of a home or its curtilage in order to search a vehicle stored therein; and in Lagos v. United States (No. 16-1519), the Court unanimously held that private investigation costs are not compensable under the Mandatory Victim Restitution Act. (The Court also dismissed as improvidently granted City of Hays v. Vogt (No. 16-1495), leaving in place a circuit split over whether the Fifth Amendment is violated when statements are used at a probable-cause hearing, but not at a criminal trial.) That's two weeks in a row now where the Court has done very little to reduce its rather large backlog of undecided cases. There are now only four announced decision days before the end of the term, and 29 argued cases remaining. To be sure, the Court can (and often does) add extra decision days in June, but even so, there's a lot of work yet to be done.

We'll have summaries of today's decisions later in the week. But the relatively light load gives us an opportunity to catch up on recent cert grants. Although the Court is also way behind on this front, here are six new cases that it's accepted for next term:

Virginia Uranium v. Warren (16-1275) asks whether the Atomic Energy Act preempts a state law that facially regulates an activity outside the scope of the AEA, but has the purpose and effect of regulating activities that the AEA entrusts to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission;

Jam v. International Finance Corp. (No. 17-1011) asks whether the International Organizations Immunities Act confers the sam immunity on international organization as foreign governments have under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act;

Royal v. Murphy (No. 17-1107) asks whether the 1866 territorial boundaries of the Creek Nation constitutes an "Indian reservation" under 18 U.S.C. 1151(a);

Culbertson v. Berryhill (No. 17-773) asks whether the 25% fee cap for representation of an individual claiming Social Security benefits includes only fees for representation in court, or also fees for representation before the Social Security Administration;

BNSF Railway v. Loos (No. 17-1042) asks whether a railroad's payment to an employee for time lost from work is subject to employment taxes under the Railroad Retirement Tax Act; and

Air and Liquid Systems Corp. v. Devries (No. 17-1104) asks whether products-liability defendants can be held liable under maritime law for injuries caused by products they did not make, sell or distribute.

That brings the total number of cases set for OT18 to . . . nineteen. But given the difficulties The Nine seem to be having deciding anything this term, maybe it's best to take on a light load next year.

We'll be back soon with summaries of what the Court has decided. Stay tuned.

© 1998-2020 Wiggin and Dana LLPNational Law Review, Volume VIII, Number 150


About this Author

Kim Rinehart Healthcare lawyer Wiggin Dana

Kim focuses on class action defense, professional liability matters, complex commercial disputes, and appeals. She is passionate about learning the intricacies of her clients’ businesses, crafting novel legal arguments, and devising creative litigation strategies. Her goal: an effective and efficient approach tailored to the unique needs of each case.  

Chair of the firm's Class Action Defense Practice Group, Kim has substantial experience defending class action lawsuits involving a broad range of industries, including health care, insurance,...

Tadhg Dooley Appelate Attorney Wiggin Dana New Haven, CT

Tadhg is a Partner in the firm’s Litigation Department, where his practice focuses on appellate and complex civil litigation. He has extensive experience handling appeals in state and federal courts throughout the country and has obtained favorable results for a diverse range of clients, from federal prisoners to foreign presidents, big companies to small towns. Among other recent successes, Tadhg helped a municipality overturn a $6.8 million verdict in the Connecticut Appellate Court, and helped a dental practice overturn a $3.7 million verdict in the Georgia Supreme Court. Tadhg has also been called on to craft amicus curiae briefs advancing the positions of clients in the U.S. and Connecticut Supreme Courts.

At the trial level, Tadhg has represented clients confronting a variety of legal challenges, including defamation and libel suits, consumer class actions, alleged Title IX violations, and lawsuits concerning institutional responses to child sexual abuse. Among other favorable outcomes, he recently persuaded a trial court to dismiss a sexual-abuse lawsuit brought by 19 plaintiffs against a national youth services organization and successfully defended a Connecticut municipality in a bench trial relating to the validity of its mayoral election.

Tadhg has devoted significant time to pro bono matters at the trial and appellate levels. Along with Wiggin and Dana attorney Ben Daniels, he runs the Appellate Litigation Project at Yale Law School, supervising students representing indigent clients in the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Second and Third Circuits. He has been honored by Connecticut Legal Services for his pro bono work on behalf of a single mother facing a defamation lawsuit and received Wiggin and Dana’s Pro Bono Achievement Award in connection with his successful appeal of an Espionage Act sentence in the Second Circuit.

David Roth Litigation lawyer Wiggin Dana

David is Counsel in Wiggin and Dana’s Litigation Department and a member of the firm’s Appellate, Art and Museum Law, and Intellectual Property Litigation practice groups. He has assisted insurers, universities, large companies, cultural institutions, and sovereign nations in a variety of complex civil litigation and appeals. Representative matters include trademark, copyright, and patent cases; insurance class-actions; art-ownership disputes; and high-stakes business litigation. David has also represented private individuals and companies in several criminal matters and...