[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website; JURIST news archive] on Tuesday granted certiorari [order list, PDF] in 14 cases. In Smith v. Bayer Corp. [docket; cert. petition, PDF] the court will determine two issues. First the court will decide whether, under the re-litigation exception of the Anti-Injunction Act [28 USC § 2283], a district court can enjoin parties from seeking class certification under state procedural rules after denying certification to a similar class, but with neither identical parties or claims as those in the state court. Secondly, the court will determine whether the district court has personal jurisdiction over absent class members to enjoin them from requesting class certification in state court. The US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit held [opinion, PDF] that the relitigation exception permitted an injunction barring relitigation in state court of a federal court's denial of class certification. The court also held that the protections available to absent class members in the context of an adverse certification ruling satisfy due process and are sufficient to bind them in personam to the district court's certification decision.
The court will also hear the case of Kentucky v. King [docket; cert. petition, PDF] to determine when lawful police action impermissibly "creates" exigent circumstances that preclude warrantless arrests. The case was appealed from the Supreme Court of Kentucky [official website] to determine which of the five tests currently being used by US circuit courts should be used to determine this issue. The Kentucky court held [opinion, PDF] that the officers were not in hot pursuit of a fleeing criminal and, therefore, the exigent circumstances used to validate the warrantless arrest were self-created.
In Astra USA, Inc. v. Santa Clara County [docket; cert. petition, PDF] the court will determine whether, in the absence of a private right of action to enforce a statute, federal courts have the federal common law authority to confer a private right of action simply because the statutory requirement sought to be enforced is embodied in a contract. The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held [opinion, PDF] that a plaintiff as a third party beneficiary has a private right of action under federal common law to enforce pricing requirements under the Public Health Service Act [42 USC § 256b text], even though the sct does not contain an express or implied private right of action. Newly-appointed justice, Elena Kagan, will be recused from this case.
The court will also hear the case of Federal Communications Commission v. AT&T, Inc. [docket; cert. petition, PDF] to determine whether exemption 7(c) of the Freedom of Information Act [5 USC § 552 text] protects the "privacy" of corporate entities. The exemption excludes from mandatory disclosure records or information compiled for law enforcement purposes when such disclosure could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of "personal privacy." Kagan is recused from this case.
In the consolidated cases of General Dynamics Corp. v. United States [docket; cert. petition, PDF] and The Boeing Company v. United States [docket; cert. petition, PDF], the court will determine whether, under the Due Process Clause, the government can maintain its claim against a party when it invokes the state secrets privilege [JURIST news archive] to completely deny that party prima facie defense to the claim. General Dynamics and Boeing had a fixed-price contract to build an aircraft carrier-based version of the "stealth" fighter plane, but ran into difficulty meeting deadlines and producing models. The companies claim that these issues were the result of the Navy's refusal to release access to secret technology about the land-based "stealth" fighter under the state secrets doctrine. The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit held that the Navy was justified in canceling the contract because the companies were not fulfilling their contractual obligations.
In J. McIntyre Machinery v. Nicastro [docket; cert. petition, PDF], the court will consider whether a "new reality" of "a contemporary international economy" permits a state to exercise, in
personam jurisdiction over a foreign manufacturer pursuant to the stream of commerce theory solely because the manufacturer targets the US market for the sale of its product and the product is purchased by a forum state consumer. The case involves an accident in a New Jersey scrap metal facility on a machine made by a British company that sold the machine through an unaffiliated distributor. The Supreme Court of New Jersey ruled [opinion text] that a foreign manufacturer that places a defective product in the stream of commerce through a distribution scheme that targets a national market, which includes New Jersey, may be subject to the in personam jurisdiction of a New Jersey court in a product-liability action.
That case will be argued in tandem with Goodyear v. Brown [docket; cert. petition, PDF], in which the court will decide whether a foreign corporation is subject to general personal jurisdiction, on causes of action not arising out of or related to any contacts between it and the forum state, merely because other entities distribute in the forum state products placed in the stream of commerce by the defendant. This case involves the death of two North Carolina youths in France when a tire made in Turkey failed and the bus in which they were riding crashed. The Court of Appeals of North Carolina ruled [opinion, PDF] that defendants were subject to personal jurisdiction.
In United States v. Tinklenberg [docket; cert. petition, PDF], the court will decide whether the time between the filing of a pretrial motion and its disposition is automatically excluded from the deadline for commencing trial under the Speedy Trial Act of 1974 [18 USC § 3161(h)(1)(D) text] or is instead excluded only if the motion actually causes a postponement, or the expectation of a postponement, of the trial. The US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled [opinion, PDF] that Jason Louis Tinklenberg's trial violated the Speedy Trial Act. Kagan is recused from this case.
In Stern v. Marshall [docket; cert. petition, PDF], the court will revisit the estate battle [JURIST report] of model Anna Nicole Smith (Vickie Lynn Marshall).
In Schindler Elevator Corp. v. US ex rel. Kirk [docket; cert. petition, PDF], the court will decide whether a federal agency's response to a Freedom of Information Act [text; JURIST news archive] request is a "report ... or investigation" within the meaning of the False Claims Act public disclosure bar [31 USC § 3730(e)(4)].
The court also granted certiorari in Freeman v. United States, Bullcoming v. New Mexico and Sykes v. United States [dockets].