Litigation Update

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Litigation UpdateDec 10, 2019 - 12:00pm

Supreme Court issues favorable 8-1 decision in debt collection case

The Supreme Court held that the statute of limitations for Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”) claims begins to run on the date the alleged FDCPA violation occurs, not the date on which the violation is discovered.

Litigation UpdateNov 26, 2019 - 6:30am

‘The Conservative Case for Class Actions’ Doesn’t Pass the Smell Test

When a fellow former law clerk to Justice Antonin Scalia claims that our client, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, betrays conservative legal ideals through its unyielding opposition to abuse of class-action suits by the plaintiffs’ bar, we take it seriously. But the argument that Professor Brian Fitzpatrick raised in his November 13 National Review piece does not stand up to scrutiny. Professor Fitzpatrick, relying principally upon the U.S. Chamber’s brief in the landmark 2011 Supreme Court case AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion, attempts to ascribe to the Chamber a position he invented: Opposed to class actions in all cases, and instead pining for more federal enforcement against business. No self-respecting legal conservative, he argues, would favor law enforcement by the executive branch in lieu of private-sector lawyers, motivated by profit in the form of contingency fees (lots and lots of contingency fees). Well, our former boss Justice Scalia did, for good conservative reasons: history, tradition, and political accountability. As Justice Scalia wrote in Wal-Mart Inc. v. Dukes, class actions are an exception to the long-standing rule, dating to English common law and the Founding era, that litigation is conducted on behalf of the individual named parties. Today’s class-action colossus is a creation largely of the mid-1960s — hardly the heyday of conservative legal reform.

Litigation UpdateAug 30, 2019 - 4:45pm

U.S. Chamber and New Jersey Civil Justice Institute file complaint in federal court challenging New Jersey’s A.B. 121, which effectively bans the use of bilateral arbitration in employment agreements for employers in New Jersey

The complaint alleges that New Jersey’s law, as applied to arbitration, is preempted by the Federal Arbitration Act, and seeks declaratory and injunctive relief against the Attorney General of New Jersey from enforcing the law against employers with arbitration agreements.

Litigation UpdateAug 23, 2019 - 4:30pm

D.C. Circuit issues mixed ruling in challenges to Obama Administration’s 2015 Ozone NAAQS

A three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit denied the petitions for review filed by the U.S. Chamber, other industry groups, and states against the EPA’s primary and secondary ozone standards. 

Litigation UpdateJun 26, 2019 - 12:00pm

Supreme Court significantly limits but declines to eliminate judicial deference to agency interpretation of its own regulations

Auer deference used to be a heavy thumb on the scale in favor of the government in litigation against a business over what an agency’s own regulation means.  If the decision in Kisor is followed in the lower courts, then this should mean less leeway in the courts for government regulators vis-à-vis business.  Although the Court did not go so far as we asked, the Kisor decision is an improvement in the law on deference.

Litigation UpdateJun 24, 2019 - 9:45am

Supreme Court rejects narrow interpretation of FOIA exemption that protects confidential business information

The Supreme Court in Food Marketing Institute v. Argus Leader Media held that the Freedom of Information Act’s (FOIA) exemption for “confidential” business information provided to the government is not limited to information that would cause competitive harm if disclosed.  This decision upends several decades of unfavorable D.C. Circuit precedent that made it more difficult for companies to prevent the disclosure of business information submitted to the government.  The Chamber urged the Court to take this case at the cert. stage and filed a brief at the merits stage supporting this result.

Litigation UpdateJun 21, 2019 - 1:00pm

Supreme Court rejects North Carolina’s attempt to tax an out-of-state trust based solely on a beneficiary’s residency

The Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision in North Carolina Department of Revenue v. Kaestner Family Trust, holding that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution prohibits a state from taxing an out-of-state trust’s income simply because a beneficiary of the trust lives within the state.  The U.S. Chamber filed an amicus brief at the merits stage supporting this result.

Litigation UpdateJun 20, 2019 - 9:30pm

Supreme Court avoids resolving question about a district court’s power to determine the legality of an agency regulation subject to judicial review in a court of appeals under the Hobbs Act

In this case, PDR Network v. Carlton & Harris Chiropractic, the Supreme Court granted certiorari to answer the question whether “the Hobbs Act required the District Court in this case to accept the FCC’s legal interpretation of the TCPA.”  The U.S. Chamber filed an amicus brief at the merits stage in support of neither party, encouraging the Court to protect reliance interests by holding that the Hobbs Act generally prohibits collateral challenges to agency rules, while also recognizing private defendants’ due process rights in district court proceedings to contest the applicability of agency regulations enforced against them. The Court sent the case back to the Fourth Circuit to determine whether the FCC’s order was truly the type of binding order addressed by the Hobbs Act and, if so, whether defendants may have another avenue for challenging its validity.  

Litigation UpdateJun 17, 2019 - 3:00pm

Supreme Court agrees with U.S. Chamber that operating a public forum for speech does not make a private company a state actor, even where those operations are licensed or heavily regulated by the state

In Manhattan Community Access Corp. v. Halleck, the Supreme Court issued a decision holding that a private company does not qualify as a state actor subject to the First Amendment’s Free Speech Clause simply because it is otherwise heavily regulated or it operates a public forum for speech. 

Litigation UpdateJun 17, 2019 - 11:15am

Supreme Court holds that the federal Atomic Energy Act does not preempt Virginia’s ban on uranium mining

The Atomic Energy Act (AEA) gives the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission exclusive regulatory authority to ensure the safety of uranium processing but leaves the regulation of uranium mining up to the States.