A Clean Well Lighted Place for Justia Weekly Writers’ Picks


Ernest Hemingway makes his way into our Daily Summary picks this week. . .

907 Whitehead Street, Inc. v. Secretary of the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, et al., US 11th Cir. (12/07/12)
Agriculture Law, Government & Administrative Law

hemingway_houseThe Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum appealed the district court’s post-trial order denying it declaratory and injunctive relief. The Museum challenged the jurisdiction of the USDA to regulate the Museum as an animal exhibitor under the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), 7 U.S.C. 2131 et seq. The court concluded that the Museum’s exhibition of the Hemingway cats (descendants of Hemingway’s polydactyl cat, Dexter), which roamed freely on the Museum’s grounds, substantially affected interstate commerce where the Museum invited and received thousands of admission paying visitors from beyond Florida, many of whom were drawn by the Museum’s reputation for and purposeful marketing of the Hemingway cats and where the exhibition of the Hemingway cats was integral to the Museum’s commercial purpose. Therefore, Congress had the power to regulate the Museum and the exhibition of the Hemingway cats via the AWA.

Read More: Hemingway Cat Descendants Are Regulated by Federal Law, Appeals Court Says

Moore v. Madigan, US 7th Cir. (12/11/12)
Constitutional Law

Plaintiffs challenged an Illinois law that forbid carrying a gun ready to use (loaded, immediately accessible, uncased), with exceptions for police, security personnel, hunters, members of target shooting clubs,  a person on his own property, in his home, in his fixed place of business, or on the property of someone who has permitted him to be there with a ready-to-use gun,720 ILCS 5/24-2. Carrying an unloaded gun in public, uncased and immediately accessible, is prohibited, other than excepted persons, unless carried openly outside a vehicle in an unincorporated area and ammunition is not immediately accessible. The district court dismissed, holding that the Second Amendment does not create a right of self-defense outside the home.  The Seventh Circuit reversed, but stayed its mandate for 180 days to allow the legislature to draft new restrictions. The Supreme Court has decided that the amendment confers a right to bear arms for self-defense, which is as important outside the home as inside. Evidence, although inconclusive, is consistent with concluding that a right to carry firearms in public may promote self-defense. Illinois failed to provide more than merely a rational basis for believing that its sweeping ban was justified by increased public safety.

Read More: Federal court overturns Illinois’s concealed carry gun ban

Rayess v. Educ. Comm’n for Foreign Med. Graduates, Ohio Supreme Court (12/6/12)

Appellee, a graduate of a foreign medical school, was required to be certified by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (commission) before applying for medical residency in Ohio. Appellee thus applied to take a United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) examination administered by the commission. Appellee took and failed Part I of the examination. Fifteen years later, Appellee sued the commission for breach of an express written contract, alleging that the commission had failed to administer part I of the USMLE in accordance with the terms and conditions contained in an informational pamphlet provided by the commission, and the breach caused him to fail the examination and suffer damages. The trial court granted the commission’s motion for judgment on the pleadings, concluding that the documents attached to the complaint did not constitute an express written contract and that, even if a contract existed, the statute of limitations for oral contracts barred recovery. The court of appeals reversed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the informational pamphlet was not a written contract, and thus, Appellee could prove no facts in support of his claim entitling him to relief, and the commission was entitled to judgment as a matter of law.

Read More: Can a General Informational Brochure, an Application to Take a Test, and Payment of a Fee Constitute a Written Contract?

Hogg v. Oklahoma County Juvenile Bureau, Oklahoma Supreme Court (12/11/12)
Government & Administrative Law, Injury Law, Insurance Law, Labor & Employment Law, Public Benefits

Petitioner Vincent James Hogg, Sr. sought review of a Workers’ Compensation Court order which denied his workers’ compensation benefits based upon the court’s interpretation of 85 O.S. 2011, section 312 (3). Petitioner was employed by the Oklahoma County Juvenile Detention Center when in late 2011, he sustained an injury to his right shoulder and neck while subduing an unruly and combative juvenile. Petitioner was given a post-accident drug screen and a follow-up screen the next day. Both screens showed a “positive” result for the presence of marijuana in his system. Petitioner did not dispute the test results but Petitioner denied ever smoking marijuana. The trial court ultimately found there was no evidence presented to establish Petitioner was “high,” nor was there any evidence to establish the marijuana in his system was the “major cause” of the accidental injury. The trial court did, however, deny Petitioner’s eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits by reason of its interpretation of the newly created 85 O.S. 2011, section 312 (3). The dispositive issue presented to the Supreme Court was whether the trial court erred in its interpretation of the statute. The trial court found the last sentence of paragraph 3 expressed the legislative intent of the entire paragraph without giving any weight to the other sentences in the same paragraph. In its order, the trial court indicated this sentence created an ir-rebuttable presumption. Upon review, the Supreme Court disagreed. The Court concluded that Petitioner overcame the rebuttable presumption of ineligibility for workers’ compensation benefits. The case was reversed and remanded for further proceedings.