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Case Summaries

Civil Rights

Harris v. Magnum
[08/09]

Affirming a district court order declining to evaluate the plaintiff’s competency in a prisoner civil rights action and declining to award a guardian ad litem because they had no interest in the case that could have been protected by the appointment of a guardian ad litem, that the plaintiff had already incurred at least three strikes from prior cases and was subject to limitations, but declining to impose a strike for the dismissal of this lawsuit since it was not meritless.

Under Seal v. Sessions
[08/09]

Affirming a district court ruling denying petitions brought by electronic communications service providers to set aside information requests and nondisclosure requirements in National Security Letters issued to them by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Fratello v. Archdiocese of New York
[08/09]

Affirming the district court’s dismissal of employment discrimination claims filed by a former principal of a Roman Catholic school because, despite the secular appearance of her position, she held herself out as a spiritual leader and performed many religious functions, qualifying her employment for the ‘ministerial exception.’

Atron Castleberry v. STI Group
[08/09]

Reversing and remanding a case involving contract workers fired by a staffing placement agency who alleged racial discrimination and cited various examples including remarks made at the workplace and unfair work treatment, clarifying that the standard for determining harassment is ‘severe or pervasive’ rather than the ‘severe and pervasive’ standard applied by the lower court.

McDonald v. Town of Brookline
[08/09]

Affirming the decision for the defense in the case of an Americans with Disabilities Act claim raised by a former employee who suffered from sleep apnea against their former employer, the town of Brookline, because the judge was not required to outline all of the evidence with respect to reasonable accommodation in their jury instructions and the instructions as given were not an abuse of discretion.

Karczewski v. DCH Mission Valley LLC
[08/09]

Reversing a district court dismissal of a claim that the defendant automobile dealership violated Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act by refusing to install temporary vehicle hand controls for test-drives of a car offered for sale.

Buxton v. Kurtinitis
[08/09]

Affirming the dismissal of Free Speech claim and summary judgment for the defense of an Establishment Clause claim against the Radiation Therapy Program at the Community College of Baltimore County in a case where the plaintiff received a penalty in admissions scoring following an interview where they mentioned their religiousness and, the court held that the Free Speech Clause had no application in such a context and the Establishment Clause was not triggered by the exchange or the school’s determination that the applicant lacked interpersonal skills.

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