On April 23, 2014, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in CTS Corp. v. Waldburger. The question in this case is whether the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit correctly interpreted the preemption provision of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) to apply to state statutes of repose--which typically impose a final time limit for bringing suit a certain amount of time after the defendant took action--in addition to state statutes of limitations, which simply impose time limits based on when a particular cause of action accrues.
To discuss the case, we have Allyson Ho, who is a partner at Morgan Lewis.
On February 25, 2014, the Supreme Court issued its decision in in Walden v. Fiore. This case involves a dispute over personal jurisdiction. For a court to validly adjudicate a dispute, it must possess jurisdiction over the parties before it. Here the question is whether due process permits a federal court in Nevada to exercise personal jurisdiction over a law enforcement defendant in Atlanta, Georgia regarding an allegedly improper seizure of the plaintiffs’ gambling winnings that took place in transit at Atlanta’s airport. In addition, there is a question of whether Nevada is a proper venue to adjudicate the parties’ dispute under the terms of an applicable federal statute.
In a unanimous decision delivered by Justice Thomas, the Court held that the United States District Court for the District of Nevada lacked personal jurisdiction over the petitioner. Given the lack of jurisdiction, the Court did not reach the venue issue. The decision of the Ninth Circuit was reversed.
To discuss the case, we have Paul Stancil, who is a Professor of Law at the University of Illinois College of Law.
On December 3, 2013, the Supreme Court issued its decision in Atlantic Marine Construction Co. v. United States District Court for the Western District of Texas. This case involves a forum selection clause, which is contractual language specifying the judicial forum for resolution of any litigation that may arise regarding the contract in question. The question before the Supreme Court was twofold: (1) Does the Court's earlier decision in Stewart Organization, Inc. v. Ricoh Corp. require federal courts to enforce forum selection clauses strictly, or are such clauses subject to a discretionary balancing-of-conveniences analysis; and (2) how should courts allocate the burden of proof between parties seeking to enforce or avoid the clause?
The Supreme Court unanimously reversed the judgment of the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, which had effectively declined to enforce the forum selection clause. In a decision delivered by Justice Alito, the Court held that a forum-selection clause may be enforced by a motion to transfer venue under 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a). When a defendant files such a motion, the Court declared, the lower courts should transfer the case unless extraordinary circumstances unrelated to the convenience of the parties clearly disfavor a transfer. The burden is on the party acting contrary to the selection clause to show that the public interest overwhelmingly disfavors a transfer. The Court remanded the case for the Fifth Circuit to consider that issue in the context of this case.
To discuss the case, we have Stephen Sachs, who is an Assistant Professor of Law at Duke University School of Law. It should be noted that Professor Sachs submitted an amicus brief in support of neither party.