4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals

Jun 6, 2023

Admissions policy withstands constitutional attack

Where a new admissions policy at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science & Technology visits no racially disparate impact on Asian American students, the district court erred when it concluded the policy violates the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection. Background The question is whether the admissions policy adopted by Virginia’s Fairfax County School Board […]

Jun 6, 2023

Defendant’s stipulation may be enforced in later trial

In an issue of first impression, the court joined other circuits that have unanimously concluded that a district court may enforce in a later trial a stipulation entered into in an earlier trial, unless the stipulation was expressly limited to the first proceeding. Background Christopher Robertson was indicted on 22 counts of robbery-related activity and […]

Jun 5, 2023

Firm’s search warrant fight not covered by insurance

A law firm’s expenses to fight a search warrant and defend one of its partners during a criminal investigation weren’t covered losses under the firm’s malpractice insurance policy, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has held. The government seized documents from a law firm representing the target of a racketeering investigation. After prevailing in […]

Jun 1, 2023

State officials sued for violating federal law

Where a company sought to enjoin North Carolina state officials from citing the company for alleged workplace violations, on the basis the citations violated federal law, their suit may proceed. Because the officials were sued in their official capacity and the declaratory and injunctive relief sought was prospective, the officials were not entitled to Eleventh […]

Jun 1, 2023

Defendant wins new trial in foreign-agent case

Where the defendant was convicted of acting as an unregistered agent of a foreign government, the district court did not abuse its discretion in ordering a new trial. The district court weighed the evidence and provided an explanation for its decision. Background In 2019, a jury convicted Bijan Rafiekian of one count of acting as […]

Jun 1, 2023

Court refuses to excuse defendant’s default

Where a defendant failed to challenge a count during his plea proceedings or on direct appeal, and there were no grounds for excusing the default, his challenge to that count failed. Background In 2011, Andra Green pled guilty to two counts of using a firearm to commit murder in the course of a “crime of […]

Jun 1, 2023

Law firm denied coverage for search warrant compliance

Where the government executed a search warrant at a law firm, that wasn’t a “claim” under the firm’s insurance policy. The warrant authorized law enforcement to carry out the search and seizure without regard to any response by the target of the warrant. Background The law firm of Brown Goldstein Levy LLP, or BGL, and […]

Marlboro cigarettes
May 26, 2023

Feds immune in seized smokes suit

The United States has immunity in a tort suit over property that was seized for purposes of both civil forfeiture and criminal investigation, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held in an issue of first impression. The federal government seized 1,560 cartons of cigarettes during a smuggling investigation, but later offered to return them […]

May 23, 2023

Compulsory counterclaim not subject to exhaustion

In an issue of first impression, the court joined the Third and Fifth Circuits in concluding that the pre-suit requirements of 20 U.S.C. § 1415(i)(2) apply only to the party “bringing the action.” Because the counterclaim brought by a student and parent here was compulsory, they were not required to first exhaust their administrative remedies. […]

May 23, 2023

Firm’s claims for fees from former clients dismissed

Where a law firm sued its former clients to recover unpaid legal fees and expenses, but the North Carolina state bar had previously found the firm’s lead partner misled the clients into retaining the firm and engaged in other unethical conduct, the district court did not err dismissing the firm’s claims. Background Halscott Megaro PA […]

May 23, 2023

Intervention denied where case was already on appeal

Where persons and entities moved to intervene in an action in the district court, but the district court had already entered final judgment that had been appealed to this court, the notice of appeal divested the district court of jurisdiction to entertain the intervention motion. Background This appeal marks another installment in a series of […]

May 23, 2023

College prevails on professor’s retaliation claims

Where a college professor argued she was terminated for unlawful reasons, but the record showed the decision was because she was not a good fit for the college and because of reports of threatening and unprofessional behavior, the college prevailed on the retaliation claims. Background In 2017, Summer Lashley signed a one-year contract to teach […]

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