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Tag Archives: Judge Diana Gribbon Motz

Unauthorized use of personnel files not ‘protected’ (access required)

The unauthorized inspection and copying of personnel files by a sheriff’s office employee in support of her discrimination claim was in violation of a valid, generally-applicable state law prohibiting such conduct and did not constitute “protected activity” sufficient to support ...

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Title VII doesn’t protect illegal collection of evidence (access required)

4tth Circuit Seal FEA

An employee cannot break the law in order to collect evidence in support of a workplace discrimination lawsuit, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled. Judge Diana Motz, writing for a unanimous panel, said that for an employee’s ...

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4th Cir.: EPA’s water oversight not yet triggered by state inaction (access required)

Although West Virginia has not promulgated or submitted required pollutant limits for its “biologically impaired” waterways, this failure doesn’t yet amount to a constructive submission of “no limits,” which would trigger EPA duties under the Clean Water Act. Background West ...

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4th Cir.: Tip from identifiable source supported seizure (access required)

Officers acting in part on a tip from a 911 caller who gave only his first name had a reasonable articulable suspicion that the defendant had committed a crime, based on corroborating facts the officers discovered at the scene. The ...

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4th Cir.: Failure to raise appellate issue was ineffective assistance (access required)

It was unreasonable for the defendant’s prior appellate counsel not to argue that his money laundering convictions were invalid because of a “merger” issue. Thus, the district court should not have denied the defendant’s habeas claim based on ineffective assistance ...

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4th Cir.: Shooting suicidal man was excessive force (access required)

An officer violated the Fourth Amendment in shooting a suicidal man who had a knife but was threatening only himself. The officer was entitled to qualified immunity, but the unconstitutionality of his actions is clearly established as of the date ...

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4th Cir.: Economic loss rule erases conversion win (access required)

A defendant on the hook for almost $2 million in compensatory and punitive damages for conversion is entitled to judgment as a matter of law, since the plaintiffs’ conversion claim was based entirely on losses covered by the parties’ contract. ...

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4th Cir.: State disability findings may deserve substantial weight (access required)

An administrative law judge erred in according little weight to a North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services determination that the Social Security claimant qualified as disabled. The ALJ also didn’t consider the limited extent to which the claimant ...

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Bon Mots: March 2018 Edition

As seasoned attorneys know, the lofty principles that attract aspiring lawyers can quickly be overshadowed by client emergencies, Sisyphean scheduling conundrums, unreasonable opposing counsel, billing targets, intrafirm politics, and understaffed courts. But from time to time, our esteemed judges take ...

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4th Cir.: Exclusionary rule applies only after egregious conduct (access required)

In civil deportation proceedings, the exclusionary rule’s predicate of “egregious” – not merely unreasonable – Fourth Amendment violations by federal officers also applies to conduct by state and local officers. Background In 2009, Maryland Transportation Authority Police Officer Acker stopped ...

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