Tagged: Federal Question

Refusal to Wear a Face Mask May Leave You Constitutionally Unprotected

Is there a constitutional free speech right to refuse to wear a face mask in public indoor spaces during a recognized public health emergency? The Third Circuit Court of Appeals recently determined there is not, as part of a precedential decision in the consolidated cases of Falcone v. Dickstein, et al. and Murray-Nolan v. Rubin, et al. The Third Circuit addressed the First Amendment issue in the Murray-Nolan case. Specifically, the issue the court confronted was whether, during the COVID-19 pandemic, plaintiff Gwyneth Murray-Nolan, an “advocate for parental choice in masking children at school,” was protected under the First Amendment in her refusal to wear a mask during a Board of Education (“BOE”) meeting, despite the BOE’s mask requirement and the Governor’s Executive Order mandating that New Jersey schools require the use of face masks. (The Falcone case, though likewise arising from an individual’s opposition to a mandatory masking policy, was decided on different grounds.) The plaintiff’s refusal to wear a mask was intended by her as a silent protest against the BOE’s masking policy and its lack of action to unmask children in schools. While the court recognized that the First Amendment protects some conduct in some settings, the court held that the refusal to wear a mask failed to satisfy the constitutional standard...

Wrap Up of United States Supreme Court’s 2015-2016 Term

With the close of the United States Supreme Court’s 2015-16 term, we offer this wrap up of the Court’s term, focusing on decisions of special interest from the business and commercial perspective (excluding patent cases): Upon being granted a discharge from a Bankruptcy Court, a bankrupt’s debts are discharged unless a particular debt falls within one of the Bankruptcy Code’s statutory exclusions. One of those exclusions is for debts arising from “false pretenses, a false representation, or actual fraud.” Husky Int’l Elecs., Inc. v. Ritz asked whether a debt arising from a fraudulent transfer made for the purpose of frustrating a creditor, but accomplished without making a false representation, is subject to this exclusion.

Time Bars for Joint Authors and Copyright Registration Cancellation: The Third Circuit Weighs in on Two Issues of First Impression

On January 29, the Third Circuit issued an opinion in Brownstein v. Lindsay that addressed two issues of first impression under United States Copyright Law. One was whether a court has authority to cancel a copyright registration. The second was when the statute of limitations begins to toll on a co-author’s claim of copyright ownership against his or her co-author.

Second Circuit Clarifies the Pleading Standard for “Substantial Assistance” in SEC Enforcement Cases Against Aiders and Abettors

In SEC v. Apuzzo, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals recently lowered the pleading standard for aiding and abetting of securities fraud in SEC enforcement actions by reversing the District Court’s finding that proximate causation of the ultimate harm was required to establish substantial assistance. When evaluating aiding and abetting claims, courts previously extended the proximate cause requirement that applies in litigation between private parties to SEC enforcement proceedings. The SEC’s complaint in Apuzzo outlined the details of a complex, but calculated, fraud scheme. The defendant-appellee, Joseph Apuzzo, was the CFO of an equipment manufacturer — Terex Corporation.