New opinions issued last week — habeas, criminal, and FMLA reversals and an ERISA affirmance

CA3 entered 4 published opinions last week while I was away on vacation. They were:

  • Cox v. Horn (habeas)– this is CA3’s most significant habeas ruling of 2014 so far. It is CA3’s first significant opinion applying Martinez v. Ryan, the Scotus case that held that post-conviction counsel’s ineffectiveness can excuse procedural defaults. Barry, joined by Ambro and Restani, vacated the district court’s dismissal of petitioner’s FRCP Rule 60(b)(6) motion for relief from judgment. Arguing counsel were Stu Lev of the Philly CHU for the inmate and Molly Lerber for the DA.
  • US v. Napolitan (criminal) — the Government won a sentencing reversal on appeal, successfully challenging the district court’s sentencing procedure in refusing to apply two enhancements. It’s holding purported to join 9 other circuits disagreeing with CA8, so there’s a circuit split. The court also rejected the defendant’s request for a new trial based on newly discovered evidence of false testimony. Opinion by Smith, joined by Vanaskie and Shwartz. Arguing counsel were Renee Pietropaolo for the defendant and Donovan Cocas for the government.
  • Menkes v. Prudential Insurance (ERISA) — CA3 affirmed rulings that certain insurance coverage is governed by ERISA and that ERISA pre-empts the plaintiffs’ state-law claims. Opinion by Chagares, joined by McKee and Fuentes. (Aren’t ERISA appeals always assigned to the junior judge on the panel?) Arguing counsel were Andrew Bell for the employees, Hillary Richard for the insurer, and Scott Smith for the employers.
  • Lupyan v. Corinithian Colleges Inc (employment) — CA3 reversed the district court’s grant of summary judgment against an employee who brought interference and retaliation claims under the FMLA. Opinion by McKee, joined by Fuentes and Schiller by designation. Arguing counsel were Adam Gorzelsky for the employee and Jeffrey Balicki for the employer.

There also were two non-opinion case developments of note last week. First, the court remanded Conestoga Wood to the district court for reconsideration in light of the Supreme Court’s ruling reversing CA3.

Second, the NFL-concussion-settlement appeal I first blogged about here is fast becoming one of the biggest cases of the year. Among the legal luminaries who’ve now joined the fray are Beth Wilkinson, Samuel Issacharoff, Stephen Rosenthal, and Ted Wells. A panel of Ambro, Smith (lucky hit for the objectors, represented by former-Smith-clerk Totaro), and the just-confirmed Krause entered an order last week directing the objectors to file a reply regarding their petition to appeal by this Friday.