FINDLAW:Daily Opinion Summaries for U.S. Supreme Court – 6/09/08


CIVIL PROCEDURE, CIVIL RIGHTS, CONSTITUTIONAL LAW, GOVERNMENT LAW, LABOR & EMPLOYMENT LAW

Engquist v. Oregon Dep’t of Agric., No. 07-474
The “class-of-one” theory of equal protection does not apply in the context of public employment. Thus, a public employee cannot state a claim under the Equal Protection Clause by alleging that she was arbitrarily treated differently from other similarly situated employees, with no assertion that the different treatment was based on the employee’s membership in any particular class.

 
CIVIL PROCEDURE, CRIMINAL LAW & PROCEDURE, GOVERNMENT LAW, INJURY AND TORT LAW, PROPERTY LAW & REAL ESTATE, TAX LAW

Bridge v. Phoenix Bond & Indem. Co., No. 07-210
A plaintiff asserting a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) claim predicated on mail fraud need not show, either as an element of its claim or as a prerequisite to establishing proximate causation, that it relied on the defendant’s alleged misrepresentations.

 

GOVERNMENT CONTRACTS, GOVERNMENT LAW, INJURY AND TORT LAW, MILITARY LAW

Allison Engine Co., Inc. v. US ex rel. Sanders, No. 07-214
In the context of the False Claims Act, it is insufficient for a plaintiff asserting a 31 U.S.C. section 3729(a)(2) claim to show merely that “[t]he false statement’s use … result[ed] in obtaining or getting payment or approval of the claim,” or that “government money was used to pay the false or fraudulent claim.” Instead, a plaintiff asserting such a claim must prove that the defendant intended that the false record or statement be material to the government’s decision to pay or approve the false claim. Similarly, a plaintiff asserting a claim under section 3729(a)(3) must show that the conspirators agreed to make use of the false record or statement to achieve this end.

 

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY, PATENT

Quanta Computer, Inc. v. LG Elecs., Inc., No. 06-937
In a patent case involving computer technology patents, a circuit court’s ruling in favor of plaintiff-LG Electronics and against defendants-computer manufacturers is reversed where: 1) contrary to the holding below, the exhaustion doctrine applies to method patents; and 2) because a license agreement authorized the sale of components that substantially embodied the patents in suit, the sale exhausted the patents. 

Law.com – Split Panel Affirms Warrantless Use of GPS Device

Split Panel Affirms Warrantless Use of GPS Device

Joel Stashenko
New York Law Journal
June 9, 2008

The warrantless use of a global positioning device on a vehicle by police does not violate a driver’s right to privacy under either the U.S. Constitution or the New York state Constitution, an upstate appeals panel decided last week.

In becoming what it said was the first state appeals court in New York to address the issue, the Appellate Division, 3rd Department, panel determined that the privacy expectations of individuals under both the federal and state constitutions are lower when they are in their automobiles than when they are in their homes.

“Because we recognize the diminished expectation of privacy in a vehicle on a public roadway … we cannot agree that the NY Constitution precluded the warrantless placement of the GPS tracking device on defendant’s vehicle or retrieval of its data in connection with this ongoing police investigation,” a 4-1 panel held in People v. Weaver, 101104.

As to the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, the panel found that nothing prevents the use of technology, such as the satellite-aided positioning devices, to “surveil that which is already public.”

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Read entire Law.com article.

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Read Full Text of Decision here.