Docket – January 9, 2019

4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals

6th Cong. Dist. Repub. Comm. v. Alcorn (P), 4th Cir. (Wilkinson) from WDVA at Harrisonburg (Urbanski).

Virginia’s Incumbent Protection Act violates the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and the district court properly enjoined Code § 24.2-509(B) in its entirety.

The fourth sentence of § 24.2-509(B)unquestionably poses a severe burden on the associational rights of the Commonwealth’s political parties. The rights protected by subsection (A) are taken away and given instead to a single individual: the incumbent. No matter what method of nomination the party members may prefer, Virginia law decrees that they must give way to the desire of the incumbent to hold a primary if that incumbent was himself selected by primary previously and is seeking re-election. This burden is manifestly severe.

The delegation of power over the party to the incumbent office holder is not narrowly tailored to meet the Commonwealth’s asserted interest. The private interest of an incumbent in winning reelection cannot, and certainly not in the manner chosen here, predominate over the associational rights of political parties.

The other provisions are, if anything, even more offensive to the First Amendment; thus, the district court properly enjoined the entire statute.


U.S. District Court – Virginia Eastern

Diversified Lending LLC v. Hotz, EDVA at Alexandria (Buchanan).

The court awarded the plaintiff $9,953 in attorneys’ fees and costs connected to its motions for sanctions and contempt, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 37. Counsel reasonably spent seven hours on drafting and arguing plaintiff’s motion for contempt and 15 hours on the motion for sanctions, with respective partner/associate hourly rates of $570/370. The court declined to award fees for counsel correspondence, document review, and other tasks tangential to the motions.

Motion for attorneys’ fees granted.

The plaintiff, an assistant professor of military history, failed to establish a prima facie case that his employer recommended his termination based on anti-military animus, rather than on the plaintiff’s dishonest actions.
Further, the plaintiff’s claim under Puerto Rico tort law is time-barred based on a tolling exception where the usual tolling is abused or done in bad faith.
Motion for summary judgment granted.
Atlantic Coast Pipeline LLC seeks to exercise its eminent domain powers pursuant to the Natural Gas Act, 15 U.S.C. § 717f(h). Specifically, ACP seeks to construct a portion of its pipeline project on certain properties. The project cannot be constructed until Atlantic acquires certain permanent and temporary easements on the properties. The easements are necessary for constructing, maintaining, operating, altering, testing, replacing, and repairing the ACP Project.

ACP has been unable to reach an agreement with the owners on the amount of compensation for the Easements, and they have not responded to ACP’s condemnation complaints. After a finding of default judgment and consideration of ACP’s evidence as to just compensation, the court determined the compensation for each party that must precede ACP’s immediate possession under eminent domain.

Categories: Daily Dockets

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