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VA Lawyers Weekly

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    A district judge did not err in declining to advise a capital-eligible defendant of his statutory right to have two lawyers appointed to defend him, or commit plain error in failing to exclude a cooperating witness’s testimony after the government did not provide its list of witnesses three days before trial; the 4th Circuit affirms ...

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    A district court did not abuse its discretion at appellant’s civil commitment proceeding as a sexually dangerous person when it only allowed simultaneous interpretation for appellant, who is deaf, rather than consecutive interpretation; the 4th Circuit affirms the district court judgment and appellant’s civil commitment. The Court Interpreters Act, 28 U.S.C. §§ 1827-28, requires only ...

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    At defendant’s trial for selling counterfeit Viagra and Cialis, the trial court did not err in limiting defendant’s right to cross-examine government witnesses on the “gray market” for non-counterfeit prescription pills, the 4th Circuit says. Defendant argued he should be permitted to use “gray goods” evidence to establish an “affirmative defense,” namely that the purported ...

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    A divided 4th Circuit panel reverses a $10.8 million insurance judgment in favor of a Maryland chemical company, Millennium Inorganic Chemicals Ltd., who sued for “contingent business interruption” coverage following a massive 2008 explosion at a natural gas production facility in Australia, which cut off  Millennium’s fuel supply. The insurance carriers argued that Millennium was ...

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    An email company and its sole managing member, who refused to turn over encryption keys in response to court orders under both the Pen/Trap statute, 18 U.S.C. §§ 3123-27, and the Stored Communications Act, 18 U.S.C. §§ 2701-12, in a government criminal investigation of a target, cannot seek review of a contempt order and monetary ...

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    In these consolidated appeals by two defendants involved in conspiracy to distribute cocaine, the 4th Circuit affirms the district court’s application of sentencing enhancements for use of a minor, possession of a dangerous weapon and leadership, and applies harmless error analysis in light of the district court’s assertion that it would have handed down the ...

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    An Algerian detained by Pakistani authorities in 2002 and released to Algeria in 2008 after being detained at Guantanamo Bay military base as an “enemy combatant” of the U.S. cannot sue the U.S. government for the detainee’s alleged ill treatment; the 4th Circuit upholds dismissal of the suit for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Plaintiff ...

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    The prospective buyer of a Ford dealership does not have standing to sue a manufacturer-franchiser, who exercised its right of first refusal under the franchise agreement, for tortious interference with contract and business expectancy and violation of a Virginia statute governing dealership sales; the 4th Circuit affirms dismissal of the suit. Kimnach Ford Inc. operated ...

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    The 4th Circuit affirms a district court’s denial of a freight company’s motion to vacate a writ of maritime attachment issued earlier in favor of Flame SA, a Swiss shipping company, under Fed. R. Civ. P. Supplemental Rule B; federal law controls and the district court and the Forward Freight Swap Agreements at issue here ...

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    In these consolidated appeals from a multi-billion dollar judgment rendered in Ecuador against the Chevron corporation, which Chevron alleges was fraudulently obtained, the 4th Circuit upholds a district court order requiring two Maryland-based attorneys acting for the Ecuadorian plaintiffs to produce documents in one appeal, based on principles of comity, but dismisses the companion appeal ...

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    An applicant for adjustment of status after his mother married a U.S. citizen was not eligible for adjustment of status as the minor child of his mother because he turned 21 before he entered the U.S.; the 4th Circuit defers to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ interpretation of the relevant statutory provisions. In his ...

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    The 4th Circuit upholds a 37-month sentence on defendant’s guilty plea to illegal reentry, enhanced by eight levels based on defendant’s prior California conviction for first-degree burglary and considering his long history, from 1990, of illegally entering the U.S. from Mexico and engaging in criminal activity while here. Defendant asserts the district court erred in ...

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    Although defendant, who pleaded guilty to armed robbery of a Family Dollar store, may have received a different sentence under a change in the law on charging “brandishing,” he waived his appeal rights with his guilty plea, and the 4th Circuit upholds his conviction and sentence, including his mandatory minimum sentence under the Armed Career ...

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    A co-worker’s persistent “boorish” and “moronic” sexual comments, gestures and invitations to plaintiff and other co-workers, whose complaint supervisors allegedly ignored, supported plaintiff’s request for a trial on her hostile environment claim, but the 4th Circuit upholds summary judgment for employer on plaintiff’s retaliatory termination claim. The alleged primary harasser called plaintiff “fresh meat,” made ...

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    A woman who says she was subjected to frequent lewd comments by a co-worker can go forward with her Title VII hostile environment claim against her company, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled. The woman and the man she was dating were fired for an altercation with the alleged harasser, a man ...

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    A federal appeals court has rejected a statistical expert offered in a legal challenge to an employer’s use of background checks brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is the fourth federal appellate court to find fault with statistician Kevin Murphy’s work, according to one of the judges, ...

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    Three members of the Latin Kings, a violent street gang operating in North Carolina, cannot overturn their RICO convictions under 18 U.S.C. § 1962(d) with challenges to the trial court’s jury instructions on RICO’s statutory requirement for interstate commerce, jury findings on specific racketeering acts and the trial judge’s second Allen charge to the deadlocked ...

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    In a split panel decision, the 4th Circuit affirms summary judgment for defendant Georgia Power Company in litigation by companies that bought PCB-contaminated used electrical transformers from Georgia Power, and who now seek contribution costs under CERCLA for clean-up at a site where the used transformers were repaired and rebuilt for resale; the circumstances of ...

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    In light of the evidence that defendant was a “management figure” in a multi-year marijuana distribution conspiracy and the “point man” for numerous marijuana-buying trips to Texas, defendant cannot show that he was prejudiced by his lawyer’s failure to ask for an instruction directing the jury to determine drug weight attributable to him under Pinkerton ...

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    The 4th Circuit affirms summary judgment in favor of World Fuel Services Trading DMCC in its in rem action against the vessel, M/V Hebei Shijiazhuang, to enforce a maritime lien for the supply of necessaries – “bunkers” of marine fuel – under the Federal Maritime Lien Act. The district court held that DMCC was entitled ...

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