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Supreme Court Update: Orders - June 2018

The Nine kicked off the week with four new decisions, though only three came with signed opinions. In Husted v. A. Philip Randolph Institute (No. 16-980), the Court held (5-4) that Ohio's "use it or lose it" practice of cancelling the voter registrations of individuals who fail to vote for two years and fail to respond to an address-verification does not violate the National Voter Registration Act. In Sveen v. Melin (No. 16-1432), the Court held (8-1) that a Minnesota law providing that a divorce automatically nullifies the prior designation of a surviving spouse as a life-insurance beneficiary does not violate the Contracts Clause of the Constitution. And in China Agritech v. Resh (No. 17-432), the Court unanimously held that, while the timely filing of a class action tolls the applicable statute of limitations for all class members, if class certification is denied, a putative class member cannot, in lieu of promptly joining or filing an individual action, commence a class action anew beyond the time allowed by the applicable statute of limitations.

We'll have summaries of those three decisions in due course. But we won't be summarizing Washington v. United States (No. 17-269), a case concerning tribal fishing rights under treaties dating back to the 1850s. Not only are the treaties old, but this particular dispute has been kicking around so long that it came before Justice Kennedy back when he was a judge on the Ninth Circuit in 1985. After discovering that he'd participated in an earlier phase of the case, Justice Kennedy recused himself, leaving the Court short-handed. The remaining eight Justices apparently could not agree on whether Washington's construction and maintenance of thousands of barrier culverts (which permit the flow of water, but not salmon) beneath roadways constructed across salmon-bearing streams violated the State's treaty obligations. As you'll recall from the Scalia-Gorsuch interregnum, that means the Ninth Circuit's decision—which upheld an injunction ordering the State to make approximately $2 billion in culvert repairs—is "affirmed by an equally divided Court."

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Kim Rinehart Healthcare lawyer Wiggin Dana
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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,...

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Tadhg Dooley Litigation lawyer Wiggin Dana
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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.

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David Roth Litigation lawyer Wiggin Dana
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David is an Associate 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...

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