A Fourth Circuit published opinion from earlier this week revealed an interesting panel composition issue, as the panel that heard the oral argument in the appeal was slightly different from the panel that ultimately issued the opinion. In Foodbuy, LLC v. Gregory Packaging, Inc., when introducing the panel of Circuit Judges Niemeyer and Agee and District Court Judge Kleeh sitting by designation, the opinion noted with an asterisk that “after argument, Judge Quattlebaum recused himself, and Judge Niemeyer elected to participate on the earlier recorded oral argument, briefs, appendices, and district court record.” … Continue Reading

Last week I blogged about the Fourth Circuit’s recent published opinions that, due to the pandemic-prompted suspension of Local Rule 36(a), did not have the usual oral argument.   The research for that post revealed that almost every conceivable “type” of opinion had been issued under Standing Order 20-1: civil opinions, criminal opinions, immigration opinions, opinions fully affirming the lower court, opinions fully reversing the lower court, opinions partially affirming and partially reversing, opinions with dissents, opinions with concurrences. … Continue Reading

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many changes in the legal profession over the last 10 months.  Those receiving the most focus have been, for obvious reasons, things like remote proceedings such as telephonic hearings and video conference arguments in trial and appellate courts.  We’ve even heard of remote jury trials.  But there have also been many less publicized departures from the norm required by this unprecedented public health crisis. … Continue Reading

There is a school of thought in legal writing that you should never put anything too important in footnotes, as some readers might skip over them.  See, e.g., https://www.legalwritingpro.com/articles/the-lowdown-on-footnotes/.  Well, if you are one of those readers, then you would have missed a good footnote from an unpublished Fourth Circuit opinion issued on Monday.    The opinion starts with the sentence “This appeal presents conflict of laws and conflict of interests questions in an insurance coverage dispute.” … Continue Reading

Another week, another published ruling on an en banc rehearing petition from the Fourth Circuit.  Last week we saw Judge Niemeyer arguing in a published concurring opinion that en banc review should be denied so that the case of Gavin Grimm could proceed more quickly to the Supreme Court.  (Conversely, Judge Wynn concurred with the denial on the grounds that the panel majority was completely consistent with Supreme Court’s recent precedent, and thus there was no need for further review at all, by any court.)   … Continue Reading

A few years ago I wrote about The Curious Cases(s) of the Published Denial of Rehearing.  In that post,  which focused on two published denials of rehearing from the Fourth Circuit in the span of a week, I noted a prior instance of this relatively rare occurrence in the much publicized case of Gavin Grimm (then known in the caption as “G.G.”),… Continue Reading

The Fourth Circuit announced today that in-person oral arguments would continue to be suspended for the October 27-30 argument session.  As with the September session, cases assigned to pre-argument review “will be scheduled for argument by video-conference or teleconference, submitted on the briefs, or continued to a later session, at the direction of the panels in each case.”

Link to announcement is here.… Continue Reading