Forum-Shopping Plaintiffs Take a Major Hit in US Supreme Court

supreme courtForum-shopping plaintiffs’ attorneys have long sought to file their claims against large businesses in jurisdictions with reputations for favoring plaintiffs—without regard to whether the claims actually arose in those jurisdictions.  They justify their assertions of personal jurisdiction in such cases by arguing that a company that does business nationwide should be amenable to suit in any State in which it conducts substantial business.  In its 2014 Daimler AG v. Bauman decision, the US Supreme Court called into serious question the validity of such venturesome assertions of jurisdiction.  The Court’s decision last week in Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court may have put such claims entirely to rest. Continue reading

“Gordon v. CFPB” Provides a Good Vehicle to Rein in Executive Branch Authority

CFPB[Ed. Note: For more on the Gordon cert petition, watch WLF’s May 22 press conference, which featured former Solicitor General Gregory Garre, at our YouTube channel.]

The US Constitution imposes important checks on the exercise of executive power by the federal government.  In particular, Article II specifies that executive power may be exercised only at the behest of properly appointed “officers” of the United States, and it sets forth detailed requirements for the appointment and Senate confirmation of such officers.  However, a recent decision from the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit threatens to undermine those checks on federal power by permitting the Executive Branch to retroactively ratify actions taken by officials not properly appointed as “officers.”  The Supreme Court should review and overturn the appeals court decision, which is the subject of a pending certiorari petitionGordon v. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Case No. 16-673.  Washington Legal Foundation represents Mr. Gordon in the Supreme Court. Continue reading

FEDERAL REGULATORY READING LIST: Resources for New FDA Drug and Device Regulators

FDAThe Food and Drug Administration (FDA) faces a difficult balancing act in its role as the federal regulator of drug and medical-device manufacturers.  On the one hand, it is charged with ensuring that medical products are both safe and effective for their intended uses.  On the other hand, it must avoid imposing overly stringent regulations, lest it harm public health by blocking or delaying access to life-saving products, or to truthful information about those products.

Through its public-interest litigating, publishing, and communications capabilities, Washington Legal Foundation has long been at the forefront of efforts to ensure that FDA maintains the proper balance.  Those activities have generated an impressive body of material that would be instructive for new FDA leadership to review.  We provide a summary of and links to those documents below (limited to WLF’s FDA-related work product in the past several years) to simplify access to that work product. Continue reading

California Supreme Court Continues Its “Grasping” and “Exorbitant” Personal Jurisdiction over Nonresident Defendants

California supreme courtIn its seminal 2014 decision, Daimler AG v. Bauman, the U.S. Supreme Court imposed strict limits on the authority of courts to exercise personal jurisdiction over out-of-state corporate defendants.  It condemned as “grasping” and “exorbitant” a California court’s efforts to exercise jurisdiction over claims lacking any connection with the State based solely on a corporate defendant’s regular conduct of business there.  But apparently the California Supreme Court did not get the message.  This week it ruled 4-3 that out-of-state plaintiffs whose tort claims arose outside the State could sue an out-of-state corporation in California courts simply because other plaintiffs who live in California have filed similar claims against the corporation.  Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court (BMS).  That decision conflicts both with Daimler and basic notions of due process.  The U.S. Supreme Court ought to reverse it in short order. Continue reading

Federal Courts Must Enforce Limits on President’s Appointment Powers

CFPBNo one any longer contests that President Obama acted in excess of his constitutional powers when, on January 4, 2012—a day on which the Senate was not in recess—he purported to grant a recess appointment to Richard Cordray to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).  Yet, in a troubling decision issued last week, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia indicated that it was of no moment that for a period of 18 months Cordray, although no more than a private citizen, issued dozens of significant decisions in the name of CFPB.  Judge Ellen Huvelle ruled in State National Bank of Big Springs v. Lew that Cordray, after finally receiving Senate confirmation, could simply wave a magic wand and retroactively approve all of his unauthorized acts.  That decision eviscerates the Constitution’s explicit limitations on the President’s appointment powers and encourages future Presidents to disregard those limitations. Continue reading

The Supreme Court’s “Universal Health” Ruling: A Net Win for Federal Government Contractors

supreme courtThe U.S. Supreme Court’s June 16, 2016 decision in a closely watched False Claims Act (FCA) case, Universal Health Services, Inc. v. United States ex rel. Escobar, had a little bit in it for everyone.  It held (as had most of the federal appeals courts) that a contractor can be held liable under the FCA for making a fraudulent claim for payment from the federal government, even if the claim was never expressly made but was merely implied.  On the other hand, Universal Health unanimously vacated a First Circuit ruling that had reinstated the plaintiffs’ claims, concluding that the First Circuit applied an insufficiently rigorous test for determining whether the defendant’s allegedly false claims were “material.”

So which side really “won” the case?  If the correct answer to that question turns on whether the Court’s decision will make it more difficult for private relators to prevail in future FCA cases, then the decision was a win for FCA defendants.  For example, the Court unequivocally rejected assertions—frequently raised by FCA plaintiffs—that an FCA claim is proven any time a contractor submits a claim for payment of a contractual claim despite awareness that it has breached a significant provision of its contract. Continue reading

Sería Prematuro Para La Justicia Federal Levantar La Medida Cautelar Sobre Los Bonos Argentinos

Argentina*Editor’s Note: This is the Spanish-language version of a WLF Legal Pulse post, It Would Be Premature for Federal Court to Lift the Argentina Bond Injunction, published earlier today.

El gobierno argentino afirma haber dado vuelta la página y que son serios acerca de tomar las medidas necesarias para recuperar el visto bueno de la comunidad financiera internacional. El gobierno del nuevo presidente, Mauricio Macri, ha entrado en negociaciones extendidas con los tenedores de bonos en default, algunos de los cuales no han recibido ningún pago hace más de 15 años. Esa aparente predisposición a un compromiso merece un aplauso. Pero las acciones hablan más fuerte que las palabras. El pedido argentino de levantar la orden judicial vigente (realizado en los escritos presentados el jueves pasado en el juzgado y para ser presentado hoy por vía oral ante del juez) no se justifica hasta que la Nación lleve a cabo sus negociaciones en la buena fe prometida. Continue reading