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4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals

Jun 11, 2023

Circuit split over tax mailbox rule deepens

In an issue of first impression, the court joined the Second and Sixth Circuits in holding that 26 U.S.C. § 7502, a uniform statutory mailbox rule for tax filings, supplanted the common-law rule. The decision deepens a split with the Eighth and Tenth Circuits, both of which say the statute merely supplemented the common-law rule. […]

Jun 11, 2023

Virginia Tech defeats attempt to enjoin university’s policies

Where an organization alleged that two Virginia Tech policies violate the First Amendment rights of its students, but the organization lacked standing to challenge one policy, and failed to show the second policy violated the First Amendment, its motion for injunctive relief was denied. Background Speech First Inc. asserts that two Virginia Tech policies — […]

Jun 11, 2023

Suit over death of detainee reinstated

Where the district court dismissed claims alleging that medical professionals exhibited deliberate indifference to the needs of a detainee, but the complaint sufficiently alleged that the medical professionals knew of and disregarded a substantial risk of serious injury to decedent, the claims were reinstated. Background Shelly Kaye Stevens, as personal representative of the estate of […]

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. […]

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