Bradshaw v. Rickey (05-101) and Order List

November 28, 2005 Supreme Court Update

Greetings, Court fans, and welcome back from what we hope was a restful Thanksgiving weekend!
The Court issued one unanimous per curiam opinion today in Bradshaw v. Rickey (05-101), where it reversed the Sixth Circuit's grant of habeas relief to Kenneth Rickey. An Ohio jury convicted Rickey of felony murder and sentenced him to death after a fire he started to kill his ex-girlfriend and her husband ultimately killed his ex-girlfriend's two-year-old child. After the Ohio Supreme Court affirmed, the district court denied Rickey's habeas claims. The Sixth Circuit reversed, finding that habeas relief was warranted for two reasons: (1) "transferred intent" was not a permissible theory for aggravated felony murder under Ohio law (thus, there was no felony murder because Rickey intended to kill his ex-girlfriend, not her child); and (2) his counsel provided ineffective assistance in retaining and mishandling an arson expert and in his inadequate treatment of the State's expert. With respect to the first ground, the Court found that the Ohio Supreme Court already had decided that transferred intent was a viable basis for felony murder – in Rickey's direct appeal! While that statement was arguably dicta, the Sixth Circuit should have followed it. With respect to Rickey's ineffective assistance claim, the state argued that the Sixth Circuit should not have granted relief because Rickey had failed to present the factual basis for his claim to the state habeas courts first. Meeting procedure with procedure, Rickey responded that the state had waived this argument by failing to raise it below. The Court remanded to the Sixth Circuit to allow it the first bite at this apple.
In its order list today, the Court granted cert in three new cases. They are:
Anza v. Ideal Steel Supply Corp. (04-433): Is a competitor "injured in his business or property by reason of a violation" of RICO when the alleged predicate acts of racketeering activity were mail fraud but the competitor was not the party defrauded and did not rely on the alleged fraudulent behavior?
eBay, Inc. v. MercExchange LLC (05-130): Did the Federal Circuit err in setting forth a general rule in patent cases that a district court must, absent exceptional circumstances, issue a permanent injunction after a finding of infringement? In addition to this question from the petition, the Court added one of its own: Whether this Court should reconsider its precedents, including Continental Paper Bag Co. v. Eastern Paper Bag Co., 210 U.S. 405 (1908), on when it is appropriate to grant an injunction against a patent infringer?
Sereboff v. Mid Atlantic Medical Services, Inc. (05-260): Can a plan fiduciary bring a civil action against a plan participant to obtain "appropriate equitable relief" under Section 502(a)(3) of ERISA when a term of the plan requires the participant to reimburse medical expenses advanced by the plan if the participant recovers money from a third-party tortfeasor and possesses such payments in an identifiable fund?
Finally, the Court asked the SG to weigh in on an antitrust petition in Weyerhaeuser Co. v. Ross-Simons Hardwood Lumber Co. (05-381), which asks: May an antitrust plaintiff alleging predatory buying establish liability, as the Ninth Circuit held, by persuading a jury that the defendant purchased more inputs "than it needed" or paid a higher price for those inputs "than necessary," so as "to prevent the plaintiffs from obtaining the [inputs] they needed at a fair price," or must the plaintiff instead satisfy what the Ninth Circuit termed the "higher" standard of Brooke Group Ltd. v. Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp. by showing that the defendant (1) paid so much for raw materials that the price at which it sold its products did not cover its costs and (2) had a dangerous probability of recouping its losses?
Until next time, thanks for reading!
Kim & Ken
From the Appellate Practice Group at Wiggin and Dana. For more information, contact Kim Rinehart, Ken Heath, Aaron Bayer, or Jeff Babbin at 203-498-4400.