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Judge Stephanie Dawn Thacker

Sep 7, 2023

Ex-official’s FMLA interference claim fails

Where a former national intelligence official asserted a claim for interference under the FMLA based on her non-selection for a permanent position, but the record reflected several reasons for her non-selection independent of the FMLA interference, the agency prevailed on the claim. Background Hannah P., a former employee of the Office of the Director of […]

Jul 25, 2023

Professor can’t show he was punished for speech

Where a college professor alleged that he was subjected to adverse employment actions in retaliation for protected speech, but two of the communications weren’t protected, and there was no causal connection between the third communication and the alleged retaliation, his suit was dismissed. Background Stephen Porter has been a tenured professor at North Carolina State […]

Jul 4, 2023

Defendants sanctioned for repeated discovery violations

Where defendants sued for making telemarketing calls repeatedly violated their discovery obligations, the district court did not err in striking their defenses and then entering judgment in the plaintiff’s favor for over $828,000. Background After receiving a flood of telemarketing phone calls concerning debt relief through lower interest rates on credit cards, Diana Mey sued […]

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 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

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 […]

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. […]

Mar 13, 2023

Suit over ‘Whitey’ Bulger’s death dismissed

Where the estate of James “Whitey” Bulger alleged that the United States and prison officials should be held responsible for failing to protect him from an attack by fellow inmates and failing to prevent his transfer to a “violent” facility, the suit was dismissed. Background William Bulger, on behalf of the estate of former federal […]

Mar 6, 2023

4th Circuit: ACPA covers domain re-registrations

Cybersquatters may violate federal law even if they aren’t the original registrants of the challenged domain, according to a ruling from the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. In a matter of first impression, the Fourth Circuit affirmed summary judgment against a Chinese company accused of violating the Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act, or ACPA, by […]

Feb 5, 2023

ACPA applies to re-registrations

In an issue of first impression, the court held that although a company was not the initial registrant of the relevant domain name, it could nonetheless be held liable for cybersquatting because the Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act, or ACPA, encompasses subsequent re-registrations as well. Background Prudential Insurance Company of America owns several registered trademarks on […[...]

Airport security check
Jan 30, 2023

4th Circuit: No implied right to record TSA agents

A lower court’s recognition of a new cause of action against Transportation and Security Administration, or TSA, officers who seized a man’s cell phone and prohibited him from recording his husband’s pat down at an airport has been grounded by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Claiming violations of his First and Fourth Amendment […]

Jan 5, 2023

Lawsuit against TSA agents dismissed

Where a man alleged that two Transportation and Security Administration, or TSA, officers, violated the First Amendment by prohibiting him from recording a pat-down search and the Fourth Amendment by seizing him and seizing and searching his cell phone, but there were special factors “counselling hesitation” in allowing a claim in this context, including that […]

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