Good morning. Firearm regulation returns to the U.S. Supreme Court this morning, as the justices weigh whether to uphold a law that criminalizes gun ownership for people under domestic violence restraining orders. Plus, Nike is suing rivals over sneaker technology; two U.S. energy companies go to court againstWinston & Strawn; Epic Games and Google are facing off at trial; and a jury found a dentist guilty of arranging the murder of law professor Dan Markel. Up today, the 9th Circuit will hear a dispute over asylum restrictions. Thanks for reading.
The U.S. Supreme Court today will step back into the fray of firearm rights, taking up the legality of a federal law that makes it a crime for people under domestic violence restraining orders to have guns. Andrew Chung and John Kruzel write that the case will be the latest major test of the willingness of the high court’s conservative majority to further expand gun rights.
The Biden administration appealed a lower court’s ruling striking down the law as a violation of the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment right to “keep and bear arms.” The law was intended to protect victims of domestic abuse. But the 5th Circuit in February said the measure failed a stringent test set by the justices in 2022 that required gun laws to be “consistent with the nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation.”
Advocacy groups for victims of domestic violence have warned of the grave danger posed by armed abusers, citing studies that show that the presence of guns increases the chances that an abused intimate partner will die, Chung and Kruzel write. U.S. Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar will argue for the DOJ, facing off against J. Matthew Wright, an assistant federal public defender in Amarillo, Texas.
Gibson Dunn teamed up with a group of Jewish organizations to launch a legal helpline for college students and teachers who experience antisemitism on campus, amid boiling tensions at some U.S. colleges as students take sides and have hosted dueling pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian demonstrations. Volunteers from the law firm, the Anti-Defamation League, Hillel International and the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law are leading the helpline.
Two U.S. energy companies filed a $175 million lawsuit against Winston & Strawn in Texas state court, alleging the firm botched their planned purchase of oil and gas wells in 2021. The law firm allegedly inserted “critical drafting errors” in the contracts that plaintiffs Bridgeland Resources and Zargon Acquisition signed with E&B Natural Resources Management Corporation and Rotterdam Ventures that undermined the arrangement. A spokesperson for the law firm did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
A Tallahassee jury has found a South Florida dentist guilty of arranging the 2014 murder of Florida State University law professor Dan Markel. Charlie Adelson, 47, was found guilty of one count each of first-degree murder, conspiracy and soliciting the murder, and faces a maximum sentence of life in prison. The jury heard seven days of testimony, during which Adelson, the law professor’s former brother-in-law, took the stand in his own defense.
That’s the number of U.S. colleges out of 17 that so far have said they will settle claims that they conspired to restrict the amount of financial aid awarded to students, in violation of federal antitrust law. Vanderbilt, represented by White & Case, has become the second school to settle, after the University of Chicago. Vanderbilt denied the plaintiffs’ allegations. The terms of the deal were not immediately disclosed. Chicago agreed to pay $13.5 million and provide some cooperation. Other schools sued in the case include Brown, Yale, Dartmouth and MIT.
“You’d never ever get to the size they are based on organic growth.“
—JetBlueCEO Robin Hayes testified in Boston federal court, saying he had long believed consolidation among smaller airlines was “in some ways inevitable” to compete with larger ones. Hayes defended JetBlue’s proposed $3.8 billion acquisition of Spirit Airlines, which is being challenged by the DOJ and Democratic state attorneys general from six states and the District of Columbia. Read more about his testimony.
Coming up today
A 9th Circuit panel will hear arguments from immigration advocates challenging the Biden administration’s asylum ban. U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar in Oakland, California, in July blocked a new regulation restricting asylum access at the U.S.-Mexico border. But the circuit court said the rule could remain in effect during the pendency of the appeal. Biden’s new asylum regulation presumes most migrants are ineligible for asylum if they passed through other nations without seeking protection elsewhere first, or if they failed to use legal pathways for U.S. entry. Tigar’s ruling followed a legal challenge by the ACLU and other groups, who revived a 2018 case brought against similar asylum restrictions implemented by Trump that Tigar previously struck down.
In San Francisco, an antitrust jury trial pitting “Fortnite” maker Epic Games against Google over its Play Store rules will resume before U.S. District Judge James Donato. Epic’s lawyers, including Christine Varney of Cravath, argue Google is a monopolist that has abused its power in app distribution and in-app payments. Google’s legal team, including attorneys from Munger Tolles, deny the allegations. Google has asserted counterclaims against Epic for alleged breach of contract. Epic is seeking an injunction against Google, but not monetary damages.
The U.S. Senate Judiciary will hold a hearing focused on what is called the “social media and the teen mental health crisis.” Dozens of U.S. states are suing Meta and its Instagram unit, accusing them of fueling a youth mental health crisis by making their social media platforms addictive. Many private individuals and school districts have filed their own cases. Meta, which owns Facebook, said it has developed more than 30 tools to support teens and their families and will continue to work closely with experts, policymakers and parents.
Court calendars are subject to last-minute docket changes.
In the courts
Nike filed federal lawsuits against rivals New Balance and Skechers, accusing them of infringing patents related to Nike’s technology for making upper portions of sneakers. The lawsuitssaid that several New Balance athletic shoes and Skechers sneakers misuse Nike’s patented “Flyknit” technology for running, soccer and basketball shoes. (Reuters)
Danish drugmaker Novo Nordisk asked a Louisiana federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit over the side effects of the company’s blockbuster drug Ozempic, saying the vomiting and pain described in the complaint are noted side effects included on the drug’s label. The plaintiff’s attorneys at Morgan & Morgan did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Novo’s defense team includes lawyers from DLA Piper. (Reuters)
An inventor seeking credit for a Hormel patent covering a method for pre-cooking sliced bacon saw his case at the U.S. Supreme Court fizzle. A U.S. appeals court determined in May that David Howard, who consulted with Hormel, was not entitled to be named on the meat-processing giant’s patent because his contribution was “insignificant.” (Reuters)
A 5th Circuit panel took up FedEx’s bid to wipe out a massive $366 million jury verdict for a Black former sales manager who claims she was fired for accusing her supervisor of race discrimination. The judges gave little indication of how they would rule in the case, which has drawn the attention of business groups who say the award to the plaintiff was dramatically out of line with limits required by the U.S. Constitution. (Reuters)
U.S. Supreme Court justices appeared divided over whether the federal government can be sued for errors related to consumer credit reports as they considered a case involving a Pennsylvania man who accused an Agriculture Department agency of making mistakes that hurt his credit status. The Biden administration argued the lawsuit against the Rural Housing Service should be dismissed under the doctrine of sovereign immunity. (Reuters)
Frost Brown Todd added litigation partner Uttam Dhillon in the firm’s D.C. office. Dhillon, a former acting head of the DEA, was previously at Michael Best. (Frost Brown Todd)
Goodwin hired Katherine Wawrzyniak as a partner in San Francisco from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California. She joins the firm’s complex litigation and dispute resolution practice. (Goodwin)
Litigation firm MoloLamken brought on Jennifer Schubert as a partner in New York. She previously worked in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York. (MoloLamken)
Arnold & Porter hired Philip Desjardins from Johnson & Johnson, where he was vice president of global regulatory affairs. He joins as a D.C.-based partner in the firm’s life sciences and healthcare regulatory practice. (Arnold & Porter)
Sidley brought on New York-based energy and infrastructure partner Greg Lavigne from Allen & Overy. (Sidley)
Foley & Lardner added Joe Swanson, who advises on cybersecurity and privacy issues, as a partner in Tampa. He most recently was at Carlton Fields. (Foley & Lardner)
Husch Blackwell picked up IP partner L. Scott Oliver joins the firm’s virtual office, called the Link. He previously was at Greenberg Traurig. (Husch Blackwell)
The legal regulation of lobbyists developed first in the U.S., and was for many years unique here. However, in recent years it is increasingly being exported around the world, write Ki Hong, Tyler Rosen and Aanchal Chugh of Skadden. Today at least 29 countries have lobbying laws.