Order List

May 28, 2010 Supreme Court Update

Greetings, Court fans!

I'm back to bring you recent Court orders, including six cert grants in:

AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion (09-893), which asks: "Whether the Federal Arbitration Act preempts States from conditioning the enforcement of an arbitration agreement on the availability of particular procedures – here, class-wide arbitration – when those procedures are not necessary to ensure that the parties to the arbitration agreement are able to vindicate their claims."

Williamson v. Mazda Motor of America (08-1314), in which the Court granted cert only as to the first question in the petition: "Where Congress has provided that compliance with a federal motor vehicle safety standard 'does not exempt a person from liability at common law,' does a federal minimum safety standard allowing vehicle manufacturers to install either lap-only or lap/shoulder seatbelts in certain seating positions impliedly preempt a state common-law claim alleging that the manufacturer should have installed a lap/shoulder belt in one of those seating positions?"

Sossamon v. Texas (08-1438), in which the Court granted cert limited to the following question: "Whether an individual may sue a State or state official in his official capacity for damages for violations of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act."

AZ Christian School Tuition Organization v. Winn, (09-987) and Garriott v. Winn (09-991), both of which challenge Arizona's tuition tax credit program, and which the Court has consolidated. AZ Christian School Tuition Organization raised three questions for review: (1) Whether Respondents lack taxpayer standing because they do not and cannot allege that the Arizona Tuition Tax Credit involves the expenditure or appropriation of state funds; (2) Whether the Respondents' alleged injury (which is solely based on the theory that Arizona's tax credit reduces the state's revenue) is too speculative to confer taxpayer standing; and (3) whether the Respondents can establish taxpayer standing to challenge the decisions of private taxpayers as to where they donate their private money, given that the Arizona Supreme Court has determined under state law that the money donated to tuition granting organizations under Arizona's tax credit is private, not state, money. Garriott asks whether the court of appeals erred in holding that the tuition tax credit statute has the purpose and effect of advancing religion in violation of the Establishment Clause if most taxpayers who contribute to school tuition organizations (STOs) contribute to STOs that award scholarships to students attending religious schools.

Skinner v. Switzer (09-9000), which asks whether a convicted prisoner seeking access to biological evidence for DNA testing may assert that claim in a § 1983 action, or whether such a claim may be asserted only in a habeas corpus petition.

The Court also invited the SG to file briefs in the cases of Pliva, Inc. v. Mensing (09-993) and Actavis Elizabeth, LLC v. Mensing (09-1039), which together ask whether the Eighth Circuit erred in holding that generic drug manufacturers could be held liable under state law for failing to strengthen the warnings in the labeling for a generic drug, in light of a federal statutory requirement that a generic drug's labeling be the same as the Federal Drug Administration-approved labeling for the listed (or branded) drug.

That's it for the week. Have a great holiday weekend!


From the Appellate and Complex Legal Issues Practice Group at Wiggin and Dana
For more information, contact Kim Rinehart or any other member of the Practice Group at 203-498-4400