July 3, 2008
Does "Collision" Require More than a Car Collide with the Road?
"Yes, according to a fun Hawaii Supreme Court case, State v. Bayly, 185 P.3d 186 (Haw. 2008), available here, which begins:
Because the evidence adduced regarding the alleged "collision" is not in dispute, the question whether a "collision" occurred is a pure question of law. Specifically, at issue in this case is whether contact between the bottom of a truck and the surface on which the vehicle sits -- be it a road or a parking lot -- constitutes a "collision." More broadly, the basic issue is whether a "collision" occurs when some part of a vehicle contacts only the road itself.
The court reversed the appellate court's holding that evidence of a collision between the bottom of Bayly's truck and the concrete parking lot surface was enough.
A nice fun case.
July 2, 2008
Slaughtering Hogs; Slaughtering Statutes - BAPCPA Case now on line
The Iowa district court posted its opinion of first impression on the meaning of the 2005 amendment to 11 U.S.C. § 1222(a)(2)(A), cited below, as in In Re Knudsen, __ F. Supp.2d __ (N.D. Iowa 2008), available here.
June 30, 2008
Citing Hamdan, Federal Circuit Heavily Relies on Leg History
This is an obscure issue-- whether the Contract Disputes Act abrogated claim preclusion doctrine. In Phillips/May Corporation v. U.S., 524 F.3d 1264 (Fed. Cir. 2008). The court's analysis begins::Phillips argues that claim preclusion does not apply here because the Contract Disputes Act of 1978, Pub. L. No. 95-563, 92 Stat. 2383 (“CDA”), specifically permits a claimant to split claims arising from the same contract between an agency board of contract appeals and the Court of Federal Claims. The CDA allows contractors a choice of forum for their appeals:41 U.S.C. § 609(a)(1). Phillips argues that section 609(a)(1) allows a contractor to choose the appellate forum for each of its claims, and that a court may not interfere with the contractor’s choice. In support of this view, Phillips urges that section 609(d) of the act specifically contemplates the splitting of claims between the Court of Federal Claims and the agency boards because it provides for, but does not require, consolidation of such separate proceedings. Section 609(d) provides[I]n lieu of appealing the decision of the contracting officer . . . to an agency board, a contractor may bring an action directly on the claim in the United States Court of Federal Claims, notwithstanding any contract provision, regulation, or rule of law to the contrary.
If two or more suits arising from one contract are filed in the United States Court of Federal Claims and one or more agency boards, for the convenience of parties or witnesses or in the interest of justice, the United States Court of Federal Claims may order the consolidation of such suits in that court or transfer any suits to or among the agency boards involved.
Id. § 609(d). Admittedly, the statute is somewhat ambiguous as to whether it permits (1) the filing of all claims arising from a single contract in separate fora, or (2) only claims that do not arise from the same transactional facts. We have not previously addressed this question. However, the history of the CDA makes clear that the statute is not designed to alter the usual rules of res judicata.
June 29, 2008
Federal Interpretation Impact on State Law
The language of Iowa‟s civil rights act for the 180 day period to raise a violation is modeled after the federal statute, which requires that a charge be filed within 180 days “after the alleged unlawful employment practice occurred.” 42 U.S.C. 2000e-5(e)(1) (2000). Iowa Code section 216.15(12) requires that a complaint be filed within 180 days “after the alleged discriminatory or unfair practice occurred.” Suppose an employee is told that a renewable contract won't be renewed; does the 180 days run from the day she's told that, or the day the contract is not renewed?
It's the earlier, according to Woomert v. Iowa Civil Rights Comm'n, available here. It discusses the impact of federal interpretations on state law, and adopts the federal approach, and so held her claim time-barred.
It's interesting when these modeling statutes are given the same interpretation as later decisions of the federal courts, as opposed to earlier ones. Not sure I'd agree that it automatically follows that a legislature in 1980 had in mind an interpretation adopted in 1990, in other words...
Split on Immigration and Nationality Act
In Arguelles-Olivares v. Mukasey, 526 F.3d 171 (5th Cir. 2008), the panel majority held that the term "aggravated felony" in 8 USC 1101(a)(43)(M)(i) included other felonies, besides tax evasion, and so affirmed a deportation order. It furthers a circuit split and one marked by dissents, including a strong one here by Judge Dennis, who in part relied upon the proposition that statutes should be construed in favor of aliens. I had not heard of that canon, but Judge Dennis wrote in part:
The Supreme Court and this Circuit have consistently recognized “the longstanding principle of construing any lingering ambiguities in deportation statutes in favor of the alien.” INS v. Cardoza- Fonseca, 480 U.S. 421, 449 (1987); see also INS v. St. Cyr, 533 U.S. 289, 320 (2001) (same); INS v. Errico, 385 U.S. 214, 225 (1966) (“‘[S]ince the stakes are considerable for the individual, we will not assume that Congress meant to trench on his freedom beyond that which is required by the narrowest of several possible meanings of the words used.’”) (quoting Fong Haw Tan v. Phelan, 333 U.S. 6, 10 (1948)); Martinez v. Mukasey, --- F.3d ---, 2008WL642565, at *10 (5th Cir. Mar. 11, 2008) (quoting Cardoza-Fonseca and explaining that “[t]his canon of construction, comparable to the rule of lenity in criminal cases, is based on the drastic nature of removal”); Banda-Ortiz v. Gonzales, 445 F.3d 387, 396 (5th Cir. 2006) (Smith, J., dissenting) (“Though the majority finds this weight of authority insufficient, it might at least, out of comity, acknowledge the merit of the competing position by applying the ‘longstanding principle of construing any lingering ambiguities in deportation statutes in favor of the alien.’”).