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The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees that persons shall be free from searches that invade their reasonable expectation of privacy without a warrant issued on the basis of probable cause. Search incident to an arrest represents one of four primary exceptions to the requirement for search warrants. In State v. Smith, the Supreme Court of Ohio confronted a modern question about the scope of searches incident to arrest: when police arrest a person with a cell phone, may the arresting officers search the information stored in the phone? Concluding that a cell phone should not be characterized as a closed container, the Supreme Court of Ohio held that a cell phone’s storage capacity creates and justifies a high expectation of privacy in the cell phone’s stored information and the state may not invade that interest without a warrant. . .
Section 704(a) of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) creates a cause of action for retaliation against claims of discrimination in the employment context. To prevail in a Title VII retaliation claim, a plaintiff must prove that he or she engaged in Title VII protected activity, the defendant possessed knowledge of the protected activity, the defendant took an adverse employment action against the plaintiff, and a causal connection existed between the protected activity and the adverse employment action. In Thompson v. North American Stainless, LP, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit (Sixth Circuit) considered whether section 704(a) extended to a thirdparty retaliation claim brought by the fiancée of a discrimination claimant. The Sixth Circuit held that section 704(a) of Title VII does not create a cause of action for third-party retaliation claims where the claimant has not personally engaged in protected activity. . .
Although their application is no longer mandatory, the United StatesSentencing Guidelines (USSG) still serve an important role in determining a defendant’s sentence after conviction and whether a trial judge will accept a negotiated plea agreement. Once imposed, a judge can only reduce a defendant’s sentence for “extraordinary and compelling reasons,” including the subsequent lowering of the USSG range upon which the sentence was based, as per 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(2). In United States v. Dews, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit considered whether a sentence to a term of months imposed pursuant to a Rule 11 plea agreement is based on a USSG range for purposes of qualifying for reduction under § 3582(c)(2). The Fourth Circuit held that when a Rule 11 plea to a term of imprisonment is negotiated by the parties and accepted by the court because it is within the applicable USSG range, a defendant may receive a sentence reduction in accordance with § 3582(c)(2). . .
Although Delaware statutory law entrusts a corporation’s board of directors with the power to manage the corporation’s business and affairs, fiduciary duties severely circumscribe the authority allocated to the board. Such duties are essential to safeguard the shareholders’ equity stake from opportunistic board behavior, for although shareholders are statutorily empowered to replace self-serving directors, widespread dispersion of ownership may effectively usurp such control of the corporate enterprise. In Gantler v. Stephens, the Supreme Court of Delaware considered whether the business judgment rule protected a board’s decision to reject a merger proposal and abandon a sale of the company. Under the unique facts presented, the court held that because a majority of the board had breached its duty of loyalty to shareholders, the court would not apply the business judgment rule, but rather would determine the objective fairness of the board’s actions. . .
In Massachusetts, the legislature has long considered the act of reselling tickets for profit, or “ticket scalping,” as harmful to the public and thus has kept the practice heavily regulated. Accordingly, it is illegal for a ticket reseller to charge consumers a price in excess of two dollars above face value, unless the additional cost can be wholly attributable to service charges. In Herman v. Admit One Ticket Agency LLC, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) considered whether a potential buyer who received a quote for a ticket priced significantly above face value, has standing to sue the ticket reseller for violating the Anti-Scalping Statute, although no purchase took place. The SJC concluded that a prospective buyer lacks standing, as he would be unable to show that he was ready, willing, and able to buy a ticket at a lawful price unless he had actually purchased a ticket. . .
Article III of the United States Constitution (Article III) explicitly limits the jurisdiction of the federal courts to deciding only “cases” and “controversies.” Although the United States Supreme Court has interpreted Article III as implicitly requiring prospective parties to establish a basis for standing, it has provided no clear guidance as to what standing is constitutionally required of nonparties seeking to intervene in an existing litigation. In Canadian Wheat Board v. United States, the Court of International Trade considered whether a party seeking to intervene in an existing lawsuit must independently satisfy the standing requirements of Article III. The Court of International Trade held that where a valid case or controversy exists between the remaining parties, an intervenor need not provide an independent basis for standing under Article III. . .
The Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) ensures judicial enforcement and validity of private arbitration agreements. Section 7 of the FAA is the only section that deals with discovery, and grants arbitration panels the authority to summon persons before the panel as witnesses and bring with them materials to be used as evidence in the case. In Life Receivables Trust v. Syndicate 102 at Lloyd’s of London, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (Second Circuit) considered whether section 7 of the FAA authorizes arbitrators to compel prehearing document discovery from entities not parties to the arbitration proceedings. The Second Circuit, relying on the plain language of section 7, reversed the order enforcing a prehearing subpoena for documents from entities not parties to the arbitration proceedings. . .
Since the 1930s, federal courts have expressed great reluctance toward allowing cameras into courtrooms for the purpose of recording or broadcasting proceedings. Although the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure ban the use of cameras in criminal proceedings, there is no such rule of practice governing civil proceedings. In In re Sony BMG Music Entertainment, the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, addressing a matter of first impression, considered whether a federal district judge had authority to permit “gavel-togavel” webcasting of a hearing in a civil case. Forbidding enforcement of the district court’s order, the First Circuit determined that the district court abused its discretion by interpreting Local Rule 83.3 to include a “discretionary catchall” exception to the rule’s general prohibition against the simultaneous broadcast of court proceedings. . .
The Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees the fundamental right that “[i]n all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right . . . to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.” Nevertheless, indigent defendants may relinquish their court-appointed counsel by three methods: voluntary waiver, waiver by conduct, and forfeiture. In Commonwealth v. Means, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) considered whether the trial court’s application of the doctrine of forfeiture, a novel matter in Massachusetts, was constitutional and appropriate in comparison to well-founded guidelines set forth by other federal and state jurisdictions. The SJC, taking into account its own precedent, further examined the impact of a defendant’s mental incapacity on the applicability of the forfeiture doctrine. In determining that employment of forfeiture was incorrect, the SJC held that the trial court unconstitutionally infringed upon a defendant’s Sixth Amendment rights by denying the defendant a proper hearing prior to the exercise of the forfeiture doctrine. . .
Congress strictly regulates telephone surveillance—or “wiretapping”—through the comprehensive Title III of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 (Title III). One of Title III’s primary enforcement mechanisms is § 2515, an exclusionary rule that calls for suppression of any evidence derived from unauthorized wiretaps. In United States v. Crabtree, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit considered whether § 2515 prohibits the government from introducing evidence derived from illegal private wiretaps in a criminal proceeding. The court held that § 2515 requires suppression of all illegally intercepted communications, even where the government was not the interceptor but rather a mere passive recipient of privately intercepted communications. . .