Here is a report on recent news and commentary related to the Federal Circuit and its cases. Today’s report highlights an article about a recent Federal Circuit decision related to the 2017 Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act, a call to fast-track a case related to GI Bill benefits, a comment on the Federal Circuit’s recent decision to provide access to live audio of oral arguments during the court’s April 2020 session, and a blog post about the denial of a motion to stay issuance of the mandate in Arthrex.
Eric Katz reported for Government Executive that in Sayers v. Department of Veterans Affairs, “the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled the department could not retroactively apply the 2017 VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act, nor could it declare its punishments ineligible for review.” As explained by Katz, “[e]mployee groups and some lawmakers who originally supported the measure have criticized VA for abusing its authorities under the new law and disproportionately punishing low-ranking workers.”
At Military Times, Leo Shane III highlighted that “[a]ttorneys behind a lawsuit which could open up an extra year of GI Bill education benefits to hundreds of thousands of veterans this week asked [the Federal Circuit] to fast-track their case because of the potential windfall it could bring to families facing financial problems related to the coronavirus outbreak.” According to Shane, “[t]he plaintiffs want a decision by this August, to allow veterans to use their education benefit for the fall semester,” and “VA officials are expected to file their own motion in coming days, opposing a quicker court schedule.” (We previously reported on the VA’s appeal to the Federal Circuit in this case.)
The Electronic Frontier Foundation issued a statement saying that “the Federal Circuit embraced the EFF’s push for live access to oral argument, announcing that it will provide ‘media and public access to the live audio of each panel scheduled for argument during the April 2020 session.'” (We previously reported on EFF’s request in one case to allow the public to watch oral arguments by video and the Federal Circuit’s subsequent denial of that request.)
At IPWatchdog, Rebecca Tapscott commented on the Federal Circuit’s denial of “the [U.S. Patent and Trademark Office]’s unopposed motion to stay issuance of the mandate in Arthrex v. Smith & Nephew for 90 days, or pending final disposition of any petition for a writ of certiorari that may be filed.” As explained by Tapscott, the court “asserted that the Arthrex decision will result in no more tha[n] 81 remands that are ‘narrow in scope and will not necessitate anything like a full-blown process.'”