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Judge Leonie M. Brinkema

Jun 3, 2022

Sheriff deputies defeat excessive force claim

Where the undisputed facts showed that the plaintiff actively resisted Loudoun County sheriff deputies who were arresting him for failing to appear for a court appearance, the deputies acted reasonably and were granted summary judgment. Background Douglas Vaughn filed his complaint in May 2019, and named two defendants: Loudoun County sheriff deputies Justin Denton and […]

May 19, 2022

Polo association defeats claims by player accused of bullying

Where a polo player was investigated for allegedly directing a racial slur toward a minor and then bullying him, but was cleared of the charges, his subsequent defamation, breach of contract and emotional distress claims against the investigating organization were dismissed. Background The amended complaint alleges that the United States Polo Association or USPA, defamed […]

Apr 19, 2022

Refusal to reinstate PCT application arbitrary

Where the United States Patent and Trademark Office, or USPTO, refused to reinstate the plaintiffs’ patent cooperation treaty, or PCT, application after they paid the required fees, that was arbitrary and capricious. The office had granted relief to at least three PCT applicants seeking cancellation of withdrawals when they showed they had not received the […]

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Apr 11, 2022

‘Inflexible and unforgiving’: Pavlov dogged by arbitrary USPTO decisions

In a case that “should give pause to those who engage in […] patent prosecution,” the United States Patent and Trademark Office, or USPTO, “acted arbitrarily and capriciously” when it repeatedly refused to reinstate an application initially filed with an incorrect address. Judge Leonie M. Brinkema of the Eastern District of Virginia saved an international […]

Mar 28, 2022

Government employee’s discrimination claims fail

Where a Department of State auditor alleged he was not selected for an assignment because of his race, color and sex, but the evidence showed there were legitimate business reasons for choosing someone else, including giving the opportunity to an auditor not previously deployed and who was not the same GS level, the government prevailed […]

Mar 14, 2022

Former Navy seaman can’t change dishonorable discharge

Where a Navy seaman who was charged with improperly touching a three-year old signed a probation agreement in which he admitted that he “committed the offense charged,” his challenge to the denial of his request to upgrade the status of his discharge for misconduct failed. Background James R. Heuss filed this civil action against the […]

Mar 8, 2022

OK to liquidate defendant’s 401(k) to satisfy restitution order

Where the defendant embezzled more than $19 million from his employer, his 401(k) account may be liquidated to satisfy a restitution order. The 401(k) trustee and the plan administrator will determine what amount to withhold to cover federal and state taxes that will be triggered by the lump-sum withdrawal. Background Between 2007 and 2017, Jon […]

Jan 18, 2022

Federal agency interfered with FMLA rights

Where an employee of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, or ODNI, gave sufficient notice that she was requesting leave to treat a serious medical condition, but she was forced to use annual leave because ODNI failed to provide notice about her right to take leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act, […]

Nov 23, 2021

Facially neutral land use regulations don’t violate RLUIPA

Where Prince William County required 35 categories of entities, including a church, to obtain a special use permit, or SUP, and the other 34 entities were seemingly secular, the church’s facial challenge to the statute failed. Background Prince William County moves to dismiss the six-count complaint filed by Alive Church of the Nazarene Inc., which […]

Oct 19, 2021

Fruit producer liable for costs of defending hepatitis outbreak

Where a strawberry producer guaranteed the quality of strawberries to its “customers,” and a smoothie café qualified as a “customer,” the producer was liable for the attorneys’ fees and costs incurred in defending lawsuits arising from an outbreak of hepatitis A infections linked to consumption of frozen strawberry smoothies. Background This suit arises out of […]

Oct 11, 2021

Bank isn’t liable for returning $456 million to sender

Where the state of California sent $456 million to the bank of a company from which it ordered 100 million N95 masks, but the state reversed the transaction after learning the company was only recently formed and its owners were lobbyists, the bank was not liable for returning the funds to California. Background On March […]

Sep 6, 2021

PPE complaints were not reason PA was fired

Where there was ample evidence that a physician assistant was terminated because of multiple complaints about his behavior from several individuals, and not because of his complaints about the lack of personal protective equipment, his employers prevailed on the retaliation claims. Background In June 2014, General Internal Medicine Group Inc., or GIMG, hired James Clark […]

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