Civil Procedure and Constitutional Law – Leigh v. Salazar

In a suit by a photojournalist contending that viewing restrictions at a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) horse roundup violated her First Amendment right to observe government activities, the district court’s denial of a preliminary injunction to require the BLM to provide the photojournalist with unrestricted access to horse roundups is reversed, where: 1) the case was not moot because the preliminary injunction motion sought unrestricted access to future horse roundups, and not just the most recent one; 2) the district court erred by failing to apply the qualified right of access balancing test set forth in Press-Enterprise Co. v. Superior Court, 478 U.S. 1 (1986), when ruling on whether the plaintiff was likely to succeed on the merits of her First Amendment claim.

Continue reading at Leigh v. Salazar, No. 11-16088

Contracts, Military Law, and Property Law – US v. 300 Units of Rentable Housing

In a lease dispute between the government and the lessor of 300 units of family housing located on an Air Force base, in which the government brought a protective eminent domain action to condemn a five-month leasehold in the houses and the lessor requested that the court determine the amount of rent due on the renewal term, the district court’s judgment of dismissal of the action is affirmed, where: 1) the district court correctly decided that the government’s notice of renewal successfully renewed the lease for one year; 2) the district court’s reformation of the lease on the basis of mistake was not clearly erroneous; 3) the district court correctly determined that it lacked jurisdiction to adjudicate the amount of rent due from the government to the lessor on the renewal; and 4) the district court correctly determined that the government’s condemnation action should be dismissed because the government already owned the possessory right it sought to condemn.

Continue reading at US v. 300 Units of Rentable Housing, No. 09-35990

Civil Procedure & Civil Rights – Long v. Atlantic City Police Department

On a prisoner’s pro se appeal of a denial of his untimely motion for reconsideration of a prior order dismissing his 42 USC section 1983 complaint, the judgment of the district court is affirmed, where: 1) the district court committed no legal error in denying the prisoner’s motion for reconsideration, and so did not abuse its discretion in declining to change its order dismissing the complaint on the basis of Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994); and 2) there was no need to remand for fact-finding as to whether the delay in filing the motion for reconsideration was caused by the prison, because the same result would obtain were the Third Circuit to ultimately determine that it had jurisdiction to review the dismissal order.

Continue reading at Long v. Atlantic City Police Dep’t, No. 06-4732

Civil Procedure, Injury & Tort Law – Baker v. US

On a prisoner’s pro se appeal of orders denying his untimely motions to reopen the time to take an appeal and his untimely motions for reconsideration of a prior order dismissing his Federal Tort Claims Act complaint, the judgment of the district court is affirmed, where: 1) the Third Circuit cannot relax the timing requirements for filing a motion to reopen the time to take an appeal under Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 4(a)(6), even for prison delay, because those timing requirements are governed by a statute and are jurisdictional in nature; and 2) the delays the plaintiff complained of were not caused by prison officials, and therefore the plaintiff’s untimely motions for reconsideration did not permit the Third Circuit to review the underlying dismissal order.

Continue reading at Baker v. US, No. 08-2288

Administrative Law, Civil Procedure, and Labor & Employment – Scibelli v. Prudential Insurance Company

In an appeal from an order of the district court dismissing, on summary judgment, plaintiff’s ERISA claim, 29 U.S.C. section 1132, order is vacated where based on the relevant evidence, the Group Policy language, and the unexplained inconsistency in the Plan Administrator’s award of benefits, the deceased beneficiary was “totally disabled” under the terms of subject Group Policy when he stopped working, and therefore, his estate is entitled to the proceeds of a group life insurance policy.

Continue reading at Scibelli v. Prudential Insurance Company, No. 11-1372

Government Benefits, Injury and Tort Law, and Labor and Employment Law – Pacific Operators Offshore, LLP v. Valladolid

In an appeal from a judgment of the appeals court vacating an administrative dismissal of respondent’s Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA) claim for benefits as a surviving spouse, judgment is affirmed where a claimant seeking benefits under the OCSLA must establish a substantial nexus between the injury and extractive operations on the shelf.

Continue reading at Pacific Operators Offshore, LLP v. Valladolid, No. 10-507

Criminal Law and Procedure – Chehazeh v. Attorney General of the US

In an appeal from a judgment of the district court dismissing, for lack of jurisdiction, appellant’s habeas petition and motion for a stay of removal proceedings, judgment is reversed where under the unusual circumstances of the case, the district court had jurisdiction to review the decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals to, sua sponte, reopen removal proceedings against appellant who was acquainted with the perpetrators of the September 11, 2001, attacks.

Continue reading at Chehazeh v. Attorney General of the US, No. 10-2995