As citizens of America’s oldest ally were waving their tricolours and celebrating the storming of the symbolic (but largely empty) Bastille prison and the beginning of the French Revolution (have any of you ever actually read the words to La Marseillaise? It’s stirring, but my goodness is it violent), those of us living in Washington and environs were melting, as the region’s temperatures climbed to rival those of the surface of the sun. But despite the 10,000 degree heat (okay, maybe not exactly the surface of the sun) we here at Bloomberg BNA have kept our eyes on the courts to keep you up to date. Thank goodness for air conditioning—probably the best thing ever to happen because of malaria.
Rowan on the (South Yadkin) River: The Fourth Circuit held last week (subscription required) that Rowan County, N.C.’s practice of (exclusively Christian) legislator-led prayer before county board meeting violates the establishment clause of the U.S. Constitution. But big wheel keep on turnin’: A similar case in the Sixth Circuit may yet come out the other way, setting up yet another blockbuster for the upcoming Supreme Court term. Proud Mary, keep on burnin’!
Paging Lisa Loeb: The Court Reporter can remember when “Stay” was ubiquitous, and to be entirely honest could probably sing the whole thing from memory, not that you’d want to hear it. But this kind of stay—when the Supreme Court steps in to halt the decision of a lower court while a different lower court reviews the decision—is far less common.
Inflate-Gate: Airbags are supposed to protect you in a car crash, and Takata’s have been doing…rather a poor job of it even when not on the road. So poor, in fact, that some are concerned that the $125 million set aside in the company’s bankruptcy to pay personal injury and wrongful death claims may not cut it (subscription required).
How Do I Get You a Loan?: In A Chipmunk Christmas, Alvin desperately needs money to buy a golden echo harmonica as a gift for the sick boy next door. In a fevered dream he finds himself at some weird bank/heaven hybrid thing (it has been a long time since the Court Reporter has seen this film) where Alvin informs the doorman (there’s a doorman) that he needs a loan. “Well of course you’re alone,” the doorman says, “there’s nobody with you!” Which is how you will be at parties when you talk about REPAYE, PAYE, IBR, ICR and all the other forms of income-based student loan repayment that may or may not keep individuals out of bankruptcy, and the increasing role that bankruptcy courts seem to be taking on in what could be a major U.S. economic crisis.
Hit Piece: A recent Washington state Supreme Court decision could have a big impact…wait, no…is on a collision course…ugh, no…dealt a blow to…OK, FORGET IT! The opinion is a significant development in the world of concussion litigation. As the Court Reporter told you last week, the state’s high court ruled that a high school football coach may be liable for a player’s death where the coach allegedly failed to comply with a state concussion protocol. The question is, where do we go from here? “I wouldn’t be surprised to see this issue arise in other states that may follow this decision,” one expert told Bloomberg BNA. “I think most courts would find it persuasive.” Some states may even consider legislation to insulate coaches from potential liability when they fail to follow concussion protocols.
And Now…Something Truly Big: In The Who’s Tommy*, the Pinball Wizard’s wicked uncle Ernie takes a picture of Tommy’s “miraculous recovery” when he ceases to be deaf, dumb, and blind. He attempts to sell the picture to a reporter, telling him: “What you’ve stumbled upon here, my son, could be ginormous.” The First Circuit’s Judge O. Rogeriee Thompson bears very little in common with Tommy’s (truly wicked) uncle Ernie, but she did use the same portmanteau—ginormous—in her July 13 opinion in Eldridge v. Gordon Bros. Grp., LLC. According to Bloomberg BNA research (that is, the Court Reporter ran a keyword search), she is the only judge to have chosen the word for an opinion. (Magistrate Judge Charles S. Miller Jr. used the word in his 2012 opinion in Rümmer v. North Dakota, but he was quoting the allegations of the plaintiff.) Sensational!
* The Court Reporter is referring to the stage show, notwithstanding the links to the movie version. Some videos are just easier to come by.
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