FINDLAW: Daily Opinion Summaries for U.S. Supreme Court – 06/25/09

ADMINISTRATIVE LAW, ADMIRALTY, INJURY AND TORT LAW, REMEDIES

Atlantic Sounding Co., Inc. v. Townsend, No. 08–214
In an action based on Defendant’s alleged refusal to pay maintenance and cure to Plaintiff for injuries he suffered while working on Defendant’s tugboat, the District Court’s order holding that punitive damages were available is affirmed where punitive damages for the willful and wanton disregard of the maintenance and cure obligation remain available as a matter of general maritime law.

CIVIL PROCEDURE, EDUCATION LAW

Horne v. Flores, No. 08–289
In a motion by state legislators to purge the District Court’s contempt order holding that the state was providing inadequate English Language-Learner instruction in the school district at issue, the denial of the motion is reversed, where the lower courts did not engage in the proper analysis under Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(b)(5), because they did not analyze whether changed circumstances warranted reexamination of the original judgment.

CIVIL RIGHTS, CRIMINAL LAW & PROCEDURE, EDUCATION LAW

Safford Unified Sch. Dist. No. 1. v. Redding, No. 08-479
In a 42 U.S.C. section 1983 action alleging an unlawful search of a student, the denial of summary judgment based on qualified immunity is affirmed where the search of Plaintiff’s underwear violated the Fourth Amendment because the facts did not give school officials reasonable suspicion to search her underwear.

CRIMINAL LAW & PROCEDURE, EVIDENCE

Melendez-Diaz v. Mass., No. 07–591
Defendant’s drug conviction is reversed, where the trial court’s admission of the prosecution’s certificates by laboratory analysts, stating that material seized by police and connected to Defendant was cocaine of a certain quantity, violated petitioner’s Sixth Amendment right to confront the witnesses against him.

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