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Judge Diana Gribbon Motz

Painter working at easel
Jul 24, 2023

Retirement comments aren’t evidence of age bias

A dean’s and provost’s internal deliberations about a professor’s retirement plans and resistance to technology after not renewing her contract were not “direct evidence” of age discrimination, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has held.

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 — […]

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 […]

Feb 28, 2023

Resentencing ordered on firearm discharge claim

Where a man pleaded guilty in 2012 to discharging a firearm in connection with a Hobbs Act conspiracy, but the Supreme Court has since held that conviction could not stand, the man was entitled to resentencing. Background In 2012, Donzell Ali McKinney pled guilty to conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act robbery and a violation of […]

Feb 17, 2023

Virginia recognizes Ghanaian ‘customary law’ divorce

Where two citizens of Ghana were divorced pursuant to Ghanaian customary law, Virginia would recognize that divorce, although neither person was present nor domiciled in Ghana at the time. Background Barbara Boateng and Kingsley Kwame Gyasi — both Ghanaian citizens — divorced pursuant to Ghanaian customary law. At the time of the divorce, neither Boateng […]

Jan 5, 2023

Farmworker provisions survive constitutional attacks

Where a labor union alleged that two provisions of North Carolina’s Farm Act violated its First Amendment Rights, its argument was rejected. The provisions left undisturbed the ability of farmworkers and farmworker unions to associate with one another and advance their cause through the judicial system. Background Section 20.5 of North Carolina’s 2017 Farm Act […]

Aug 25, 2022

ADA protects gender dysphoria as a covered ‘disability’

Where gender dysphoria falls within the broad definition of “disability” under the Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA, a transgender woman’s claim that she was discriminated against on the basis of her gender dysphoria may proceed. Although the statute excludes “gender identity disorders not resulting from physical impairments” from the definition of “disability,” at the [&helli[...]

Car being evaluated after crash
Jun 27, 2022

Attorneys prevail in consumer protection suit

A group of North Carolina personal injury attorneys prevailed in a consumer protection suit after the court found the plaintiffs failed to preserve the argument that the reports accessed by the attorneys were a “motor vehicle record.” The ruling, handed down by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, affirmed a decision from the lower […]

Jun 23, 2022

Error deemed harmless

Where the district court erred by referring to statements from the defendant’s ex-wife during a sentencing hearing without balancing the parties’ interests, requiring a showing of good cause or disclosing them to the defendant, the error was harmless. The record provided no evidence that a lower sentence would have been imposed absent the improperly admitted […]

Jun 23, 2022

Personal injury attorneys dodge privacy claims

Where personal injury attorneys who solicited clients based on information collected by law enforcement after motor vehicle accidents in North Carolina were sued for allegedly violating the Driver’s Privacy Protection Act or DPPA, the attorneys prevailed. While the lawyers obtained the personal information from accident reports, the plaintiffs failed to preserve the argument that those […[...]

May 12, 2022

Alleged sentencing error deemed harmless

Where the defendant argued the district court erred by imposing a sentencing enhancement for use or possession of a firearm or ammunition in connection with another felony offense, but the court explained why it would have imposed the same sentence without the enhancement, the alleged error was harmless. Background In October 2016, Robert Christopher Cisson […]

Stand out from the crowd concept
Apr 18, 2022

Class certification affirmed over member’s objection

A district court properly approved the settlement of a long-running class action suit brought by life insurance policyholders, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has held. Writing for the 4th Circuit in its March 15 opinion, Judge Diana Gribbon Motz rejected the objection by a single policyholder and laid down for the first time […]

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