Calendar of Cases

Peter v. NantKwest Inc.

Peter v. NantKwest Inc.

The Court will consider whether the text of 35 U.S.C. § 145, which provides for a patent applicant who is dissatisfied by the decision of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board with respect to patentability, to seek remedy by civil action against the Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, and which provides for the recovery of “[a]ll the expenses of the proceedings,” allows the Director of the USPTO to discretionarily seek to recover the personnel-related expenses that the USPTO incurs in defending applicant-instituted Section 145 proceedings.

Ramos v. Louisiana

Petitioner Evangelisto Ramos was convicted in a Louisiana state court of murder. At the time, Louisiana accepted non-unanimous jury verdicts in criminal cases, and Ramos’s jury convicted him on a 10–2 vote. The Supreme Court has previously held that the Sixth Amendment to the Constitution requires unanimous verdicts in federal court, but that the Sixth Amendment does not require unanimity in state courts. Citing that decision, the Louisiana Court of Appeal affirmed Ramos’s conviction. Ramos has appealed to the Supreme Court, seeking to reverse the Court’s precedent approving non-unanimous jury verdicts in state courts.

Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia | Altitude Express, Inc. v. Zarda

In each of these consolidated cases, an employer fired an employee because of the employee’s sexual orientation. In Bostock, Clayton County fired Gerald Lynn Bostock, the county’s child welfare services coordinator, after he participated in a gay softball league and recruited league members to volunteer in the county’s Court Appointed Special Advocates program. In Zarda, Altitude Express, a recreational skydiving outfit, fired skydiving instructor Donald Zarda after he told a customer that he was gay.

Financial Oversight and Management Board of Puerto Rico v. Aurelius Investment, LLC

In response to the worst financial crisis in Puerto Rican history, Congress enacted a law that, among other things, created the Financial Oversight and Management Board as an “entity within the territorial government of Puerto Rico.” Congress vested the Board with authority to file cases to reorganize Puerto Rico’s debt (actions that are similar to bankruptcy proceedings). Congress provided for the appointment of Board members by the President. The appointment process required the President to select from a slate of candidates offered by congressional leadership, or to submit nominees for Senate confirmation. President Obama appointed members from the lists offered by congressional leadership (and did not submit them for Senate confirmation). When the Board filed claims to reorganize Puerto Rico’s debt, debt-holders argued that the Board lacked authority, because its members were appointed in violation of the Appointments Clause.

Kansas v. Garcia

Kansas separately charged and convicted three individuals of identity theft after they provided a false Social Security number on their employment forms. The defendants appealed, claiming that federal immigration law preempted their convictions. In particular, they argued that federal immigration law limits the use of information on the federal I-9 form, which requires an employee to attest to his or her authorization to work, to federal immigration enforcement, and not state crimes. The defendants contend that this provision preempts their convictions for providing false information on their W-4 and K-4 wage-withholding forms.

Rotkiske v. Klemm

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), enacted in 1977, prohibits abusive debt collection practices and sanctions permissible ones. It allows for civil suits for violations, including actual damages, statutory damages, and attorney’s fees. The statute, 15 U.S.C. § 1692k(d), states that FDCPA actions must be filed within one year from the date on which the violation occurs. This FDCPA suit was started in June 2015, four years after the last collection attempt. It was dismissed as untimely by the district court, which was affirmed by the Third Circuit, creating a split among jurisdictions.