The Network for Public Health Law monitors key court cases and relevant judicial trends in public health. The Network’s monthly reporter, Judicial Trends in Public Health (JTPH), highlights select published cases in public health law and policy from the prior three months. These cases are organized below by name, issuing court, date of issuance, along with a brief synopsis, and include link to the case abstract and hyperlink to the full decisions (when publicly available). For more information, including a topic digest of these and other cases, see below. Questions, comments, thoughts? Contact the Network for more information.
Torres v. Madrid et al. (U.S. Supreme Court, March 25, 2021): The U.S. Supreme Court expanded the definition of a Fourth Amendment seizure in a new excessive force opinion, ruling in favor of a New Mexico woman who filed a civil rights lawsuit after being shot by police officers. Read the abstract here.
Jones v. Mississippi (U.S. Supreme Court, April 22, 2021): In a majority opinion drafted by Justice Kavanaugh, the Supreme Court held by 6–3 that juveniles may be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole without requiring judges to make a finding of “permanent incorrigibility.” Read the abstract here.
City and County of San Francisco v. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (U.S. Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit, April 8, 2021): The 9th Circuit refused to permit multiple states to intervene in existing suits (brought by the City and County of San Francisco and others) and defend the Trump administration’s immigration “public charge” rule. Read the abstract here.
In re DD (Maryland Court of Special Appeals, April 28, 2021): The second highest court in Maryland ruled that police officers cannot make stops based solely on the smell of marijuana. Read the abstract here.
EEOC v. West Meade Place LLP (U.S. Court of Appeals, 6th Circuit, February 6, 2021): The Sixth Circuit reversed a lower court’s decision which held that a jury could not find that an employee with an anxiety disorder who was terminated from a nursing home meets the definition of “disabled” under the Americans with Disability Act (ADA). Read the abstract here.
Young v. Hawai’i (U.S. Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit, March 24, 2021): In a 7-4 ruling, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Hawai’i's limits on openly carrying firearms in public, rejecting a challenge from resident George Young, who had sued over the state’s prohibition of carrying a handgun outside the home. Read the abstract here.
Gallina v. Robert M. Wilkinson, Acting U.S. Attorney General (U.S. Court of Appeals, 2nd Circuit, February 2, 2021): On review of a Board of Immigrations Appeals decision, the 2nd Circuit refused to stop the deportation of an Italian national, Ferdinando Gallina, denying relief under the Convention Against Torture. Read the abstract here.
United States v. Rattini et al. (U.S. District Court, Southern District of Ohio, March 5, 2021): Judge McFarland denied an opioid distributor, two former executives, and two pharmacists’ motions to dismiss criminal indictments which accuse them of conspiring to inundate rural towns with opioids and addictive painkillers. Read the abstract here.
Weiss v. Trader Joe’s Company (U.S. Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit, March 3, 2021): After Plaintiff Weiss sued Trader Joe’s, claiming statements misled her into believing a beverage would balance her internal bodily pH and provide superior hydration, the 9th Circuit ruled that a reasonable consumer would not interpret any of the challenged language to suggest these benefits. Read the abstract here.
Garcia v. Welltower OpCo Group LLC et al. (U.S. District Court, Central District of California, February 10, 2021): A California federal court found that the Public Readiness and Emergency Response (PREP) Act provided immunity in a suit alleging elder abuse and neglect, wrongful death, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Read the abstract here.
JTPH is a collaboration of the Network’s Western and Eastern Region Offices. Western Region contributors include: Jennifer Piatt, JD, James G. Hodge, Jr., JD, LLM, and Claudia Reeves. Eastern Region contributors include Kathi Hoke, JD, Kerri McGowan Lowrey, JD, MPH, Mathew R. Swinburne, JD, Brooke Torton, JD, and Megan Griest, MPP.
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