Supreme Court Update

It was a busy Tuesday in the U.S. Supreme Court:

Court Rules Against Muslim Inmate,
prisoners cannot sue gov’t over theft or destruction of religious items

The Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled 5-4 that a Muslim inmate cannot sue the federal government over the disappearance of his Quran and a prayer rug. The opinion upholds the principle that prison guards along with the government are immune from such lawsuits under the Federal Tort Claims Act.

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BTW, the majority in that case consisted of Justices Thomas, Scalia, Roberts, Alito and . . . Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Go figure.

Here’s a link to the AP’s report.

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Court Deals ‘Deep Pockets’ Lawyers a Major Defeat,
Justices refuse to review ruling denying class action status to Enron lawsuit

The Supreme Court on Tuesday dealt a major defeat to plaintiffs’ securities lawyers, refusing to review an appeals court ruling that denied class action status to a lawsuit against Wall St. investment banks that allegedly colluded with Enron in connection with the failed energy company’s securities fraud and bankrupcty.

Previously a federal trial judge had allowed a class action, but that ruling was reversed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. The Supreme Court let stand the latter decision.

Last week the Supreme Court ruled that suppliers cannot be sued under federal securities laws — either through a class action or otherwise — for colluding with a company in connection with the later’s securities fraud. That same principle will be deemed to apply to other so-called ‘third parties,’ including investment banks, accountants and attorneys, which ultimately will foreclose lawsuits by plaintiffs’ securities lawyers, whose strategy is to extract large settlements from companies and professional vendors who are wary of the costs of litigation.

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Here’s a link to AP writer Pete Yost’s report, which for obvious reasons is couched in far different terms.

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Medical Research Belongs to University not to Researcher,
Court lets stand ruling concerning cancer cells

The Supreme Court on Tuesday let stand an appeals court ruling that says Washington University is the owner of cancer cells provided by patients to a former researcher employed by the university.

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Here’s a link to the salient AP report. It’s terse but worth a read.

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