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The Fourth Circuit affirmed the district court's conclusion that SNAP breached its contract with plaintiff by refusing to repurchase stock options the contract granted to him, and affirmed the award of damages. The court held that the prevention doctrine was applicable in this case where SNAP materially breached the contract by failing to issue the stock options, well before plaintiff could have plausibly breached his obligation to provide the promotion and marketing assistance he had promised. The court also found no error in the district court's award of $637,867.42 in damages, agreeing with the district court's far more natural reading that "sales in calendar year 2005" referred to SNAP's actual sales in 2005. View "Cox v. Snap, Inc." on Justia Law

Posted in: Contracts

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The Fourth Circuit affirmed the bankruptcy court's denial of Wells Fargo's motion to set aside the bankruptcy court's order. Wells Fargo filed the motion two years after the bankruptcy court cancelled its deed of trust covering a piece of real property, and several months after the property was sold in foreclosure to a bona fide purchaser for value. The court held that Wells Fargo failed to carry its burden under FRCP 60(b) by filing its motion within a reasonable time. Even if Wells Fargo did satisfy Rule 60(b)'s threshold requirements, it still did not meet the requirements of that Rule's enumerated sections for relief. View "Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. v. AMH Roman Two NC, LLC" on Justia Law

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The EEOC filed suit on behalf of a Consol Energy employee, alleging that Consol violated Title VII by constructively discharging the employee instead of accommodating his religious beliefs. In this case, the employee was forced to resign because his religious beliefs prevented him from using a biometric hand scanner. Consol provided an alternative to employees who could not use the hand scanner for non-religious reasons, but refused to accommodate the employee here for his religious objection. A jury returned a verdict in favor of the EEOC. The district court subsequently denied Consol's post-verdict motions. The Fourth Circuit held that Consol was not entitled to summary judgment as a matter of law where the evidence presented at trial allowed the jury to conclude that Consol failed to make available to a sincere religious objector the same reasonable accommodation it offered other employees, in clear violation of Title VII. Furthermore, the court found no error in the numerous evidentiary challenges raised by Consol nor in the district court's determinations regarding lost wages and punitive damages. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's judgment. View "EEOC v. Consol Energy, Inc." on Justia Law

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The execution of a fraudulent scheme—not merely the submission of a false claim—may give rise to liability under 18 U.S.C. 1347 when execution of the scheme results in death. The Fourth Circuit affirmed defendant's conviction of two counts of healthcare fraud resulting in death under section 1347. Defendant, the former CEO of diagnostic imaging Alpha Diagnostics, argued that the fraudulent billing did not cause the deaths of the two patients. In this case, there was sufficient evidence to sustain defendant's convictions; the district court did not err in instructing the jury; and the district court did not err in admitting certain expert testimony on causation. View "United States v. Chikvashvili" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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Plaintiff, who is civilly committed as a sexually dangerous person, filed suit against BOP employees challenging various conditions of his confinement at FCI Butner. The district court dismissed some of plaintiff's claims and then granted summary judgment as to the other claims. The Fourth Circuit held that the district court correctly dismissed BOP policies claims regarding double-bunking of civil detainees, forcing plaintiff to wear the same uniform as a prisoner, and limiting purchases at the commissary and his options on television to those of a prisoner; the commingling with prisoners claims where plaintiff was frequently in the presence of prisoners and that other prisoners taunted and harassed him; and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) claim where plaintiff did not qualify as an employee. The court also held that the district court correctly granted summary judgment as to the strip searches and mass shakedowns claims, the mail claims, and the educational and vocational programs claims. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Matherly v. Andrews" on Justia Law

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Petitioner, a citizen and native of Mexico, petitioned for review of the BIA's order affirming the IJ's decision finding him ineligible for cancellation of removal under 8 U.S.C. 1229b(b)(1)(C). The Fourth Circuit denied the petition for review, holding that petitioner's 2005 criminal proceedings under Virginia Code 18.2-251 for possession of cocaine constituted a "conviction" as defined within the plain text of 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(48)(A). In this case, both statutory elements of a conviction were satisfied and thus the BIA did not err in upholding the IJ's decision. View "Payan Jaquez v. Sessions" on Justia Law

Posted in: Immigration Law

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Defendant appealed his consolidated sentence for his marijuana distribution and cocaine distribution convictions in two separate cases. The Fourth Circuit held that the district court did not err by imposing the firearm enhancement where defendant failed to show by a preponderance of the evidence that the firearms were not connected to his drug distribution. Even if the district court erred by assuming it could not grant a safety valve reduction because of the firearm enhancement, any such error was harmless. The court also held that the district court did not err in refusing to reduce defendant's offense level for acceptance of responsibility, and defendant's sentence was substantively reasonable even if the district court varied upward from defendant's Guidelines range by 40 months. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "United States v. Bolton" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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Plaintiffs Eshow and Safar were arrested for an allegation of fraud that was mistakenly reported and almost immediately retracted. Safar was also briefly incarcerated. Plaintiffs filed suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983 and state law, against the police officer and prosecutor who, at different stages of the criminal process, learned that no crime had occurred and yet failed to take steps to withdraw an arrest warrant. Given the absence of an established duty to act, the Fourth Circuit affirmed the award of qualified immunity to the officer on the section 1983 claims. The court affirmed the grant of absolute immunity to the prosecutor because the prosecutor's decision whether to withdraw an arrest warrant was intimately associated with the judicial phase of the criminal process. However, the court reversed as to the state law claims, remanding to the district court to dismiss the state law claims without prejudice to plaintiffs' right to advance their case in state court. View "Safar v. Tingle" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against Cava, alleging a Title VII retaliation claim for reporting alleged sexual harassment between employees. Plaintiff's supervisor concluded, after an investigation, that plaintiff made up the allegations. The Fourth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment against plaintiff, holding that neither plaintiff nor amici have cited any case holding that the opposition clause protects employees' pretending to oppose Title VII violations by intentionally fabricating allegations, and the court was not aware of any; while the case law plaintiff and amici presented favor liberally interpreting the statute to further the goal of encouraging employees to come forward, they did not favor rewriting a statute that conditions liability on the existence of a retaliatory motive; and there was no genuine dispute of fact regarding the reasonableness of Cava's investigation into whether plaintiff fabricated her conversation with an employee. View "Villa v. Cavamezze Grill, LLC" on Justia Law

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Defendant was convicted of bank robbery and conspiracy to commit bank robbery following a jury trial. The Fourth Circuit held that the statements defendant gave to police during the investigation of the crime was coerced, and that he did not voluntarily waive his Fifth Amendment rights. Furthermore, the error in introducing those statements was not harmless. The court need not address the additional issues raised by defendant and thus reversed the conviction. View "United States v. Giddins" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law