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Author Archives: Deborah Elkins

Tort – Defamation – Conspiracy – Government Contract Billing (access required)

A government contractor has absolute immunity from civil liability for defamation for statements about plaintiff’s billing practices in response to a government contracting officer’s immunity, and defendant contractor’s consultant agreement with plaintiff also allowed defendant’s contracts manager to make the ...

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Consumer Protection – TILA – Rescission Notice – Payment Schedule (access required)

Rejecting the “hypertechnical” enforcement of Truth-in-Lending remedies used in some federal circuits, an Alexandria U.S. District Court dismisses a borrower’s suit seeking rescission on the grounds that the lender allegedly did not clearly state payments were due at monthly intervals ...

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Criminal – Habeas Corpus – DUI Charges – W.Va. Recidivist Law (access required)

Although the state trial court told defendant the most he could get for two DUI-related charges was six years, the court’s life-imprisonment sentence under West Virginia’s recidivist proceedings, after defendant pleaded guilty to the DUI charges, did not warrant habeas ...

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Criminal – Sentencing – Amendment 706 – Career Offender Status (access required)

A drug defendant’s sentence is vacated and remanded for the district court to consider his motion for a reduced sentence under 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2), which the district court refused to consider because defendant had been designated a career offender ...

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Civil Rights – Excessive Force – Gambling Arrest – Immunity – Interlocutory Appeal (access required)

The 4th Circuit dismisses a police officer’s interlocutory appeal of an order denying him qualified immunity in the fatal shooting of a Fairfax optometrist during his arrest on illegal gambling charges, and his estate’s cross-appeal of the district court order ...

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Criminal – Sentencing – Rule 35 Reduction – Amendment 706 (access required)

Declining to follow two of its own unpublished opinions, the 4th Circuit holds that a district court has authority to consider sentences below the federal sentencing guidelines, with Amendment 706’s modification of offense levels for cocaine base, even though the ...

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Contract – Securities Dealers – Arbitration Award – Vacatur (access required)

In a “rare” move, the 4th Circuit upholds vacatur of an NASD arbitration award of compensatory damages to three Raymond James financial advisors from Richmond who alleged wrongful termination by the financial services firm. On appeal, appellants argue that when ...

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Lawyers’ contempt convictions reversed  (access required)

The Supreme Court of Virginia has overturned summary contempt convictions and jail terms for two Virginia Beach lawyers and their law clerk. The contempt findings arose during a felony jury trial in which law partners Claude M. Scialdone and Barry ...

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4th Circuit on bolstering, Batson

A Richmond federal prosecutor crossed a line during closing argument in a weapons trial when she told the jury that two government witnesses “told the truth,” the 4th Circuit says. Federal precedent says it is improper for a prosecutor to ...

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