US Supreme Court round-up: Key decisions for in-house counsel to know
Interlocutory appeals of denials of motions to compel arbitration automatically stay district court proceedings
Consent to jurisdiction statute in Pennsylvania does not violate the due process clause
Supreme Court holds "purely legal" issues decided at summary judgment are preserved for appeal
Supreme Court affirms government’s broad authority to dismiss False Claims Act suits
Supreme Court holds section 11 liability is limited to investors who can trace their securities to a challenged registration statement
Supreme Court affirms RICO liability where award debtor seeks to avoid enforcement of award in United States
Supreme Court decision ending affirmative action in admissions could impact employer diversity initiatives
Supreme Court clarifies meaning of “undue hardship” in religious accommodation cases under Title VII
Supreme Court holds overtime is due to high-earning oil worker
Supreme Court upholds right of website designer to refuse to create expressive wedding designs for same-sex couple
Supreme Court opens door to challenging FTC and SEC in district court
Supreme Court’s Warhol decision clarifies limits of copyright fair use
Supreme Court curbs parody, narrows defenses to trademark claims
Supreme Court limits reach of trademark law to domestic infringement
US Supreme Court strikes down federal student loan forgiveness program
Unanimous Supreme Court clarifies False Claims Act scienter standard in landmark case
As of June 30, 2023, the Supreme Court has agreed to hear nineteen cases during its October 2023 term. The Court’s decisions may have significant implications for companies. In particular, in Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo, the Court is expected to address whether it should overrule its decision in Chevron U.S.A., Inc. v. NRDC, 467 U.S. 837 (1984), or “at least clarify that statutory silence concerning controversial powers expressly but narrowly granted elsewhere in the statute does not constitute an ambiguity requiring deference to the agency." Several members of the Court have been critical of the Chevron doctrine, which broadly requires courts to defer to a federal agency’s interpretation of a statute it administers when that statute is ambiguous or leaves a gap for the agency to fill, so long as the agency’s interpretation is considered reasonable. The Court’s decision in Loper Bright Enterprises may impact how federal agencies conduct rulemakings, as well as their ability to successfully defend rules and adjudications based on their interpretations of arguably ambiguous statutes.
On the heels of this term’s decision in Axon Enterprise Inc. v. FTC, the Court will again consider the constitutionality of the SEC’s administrative process and the agency’s use of Administrative Law Judges (ALJs) in Securities and Exchange Commission v. Jarkesy. Questions presented include whether statutory provisions that empower the SEC to initiate and adjudicate administrative enforcement proceedings seeking civil penalties violate the Seventh Amendment; whether statutory provisions that authorize the SEC to choose to enforce the securities laws through an agency adjudication instead of filing a district court action violate the nondelegation doctrine; and whether Congress violated Article II by granting for-cause removal protection to ALJs in agencies whose heads enjoy for-cause removal protection. Parties who may face SEC administrative enforcement actions should carefully consider their strategy for preserving constitutional claims as this case proceeds.
The Court will also address several employment cases. In Laufer v. Acheson Hotels, LLC, the Court will consider whether “a self-appointed Americans with Disabilities Act ‘tester’" has Article III standing to challenge a place of public accommodation's failure to provide disability accessibility information on its website, even if they lack any intention of visiting that place of public accommodation. The Court’s decision next year could stem the tide of Title III lawsuits filed against businesses by serial plaintiffs. In Murray v. UBS Securities, LLC, the Court granted certiorari on the issue of whether a whistleblower must prove his employer acted with a “retaliatory intent” or if “retaliatory intent” is part of the affirmative defense on which the employer bears the burden of proof. In another case, Muldrow v. City of St. Louis, the Court will consider whether Title VII prohibits discrimination in transfer decisions absent a separate court determination that the transfer decision caused a significant disadvantage.
We will continue monitoring these cases and more in the coming year. In the meantime, please contact the authors of the alerts linked above or to your DLA Piper partner if you have questions about how the Supreme Court’s decisions this term or next term may impact your business and workforce.