Court Week

Next week is Court Week at the Federal Circuit. As in the past several months, the court will hear most of its oral arguments telephonically given the coronavirus pandemic. Notably, however, as discussed in our recent post, “Panels B, E, H, K, and N will only be available through the online audio stream” on the Federal Circuit’s new YouTube channel. In total, the court will convene 17 panels to consider about 65 cases. Of these 65 cases, the court will hear oral arguments in 43. Of the argued cases, three attracted amicus briefs: one in a tax case, one in a patent case, and one in a death benefit case. Here’s what you need to know about these three cases.

National Association of Manufacturers v. Department of the Treasury

As discussed in our argument preview, in this tax case, the Department of the Treasury appeals a decision by the U.S. Court of International Trade holding that regulations promulgated by the Treasury to curtail “double drawback” (two tax refunds for the same exported merchandise) are invalid.

In response, the National Association of Manufacturers looks to 19 U.S.C. § 1313(j)(2), which states that when criteria are met, CBP must pay substitution drawback “notwithstanding any other provision of law.”

Customs Advisory Services, Inc. filed an amicus brief in support of NAM and affirmance of the trial court.

Peter D. Keisler will argue for National Association of Manufacturers.

August Flentje will argue for the Department of the Treasury.

This argument will take place on Monday, March 1 at 10:00 A.M.

Omni Medsci, Inc. v. Apple Inc.

As discussed in our argument preview, in this patent case, the Federal Circuit granted Apple’s motion for an interlocutory appeal to review two different district courts’ holdings with respect to an alleged standing problem. In particular, Apple argues, “Omni does not have standing to sue for patent infringement because Omni does not own the patents-in-suit—and never did.”

In response, Omni argues that Apple must prove two things to show that University of Michigan Bylaw 3.10 eliminates standing. First, according to Omni, “Apple must prove (i) the patents-in-suit fall within Bylaw 3.10 ¶1—a fact question.” Second, Omni contends Apple must prove “¶1 automatically transferred legal title to [the University of Michigan]—a legal issue.”  

This case attracted an amicus brief from the Regents of the University of Michigan supporting Apple’s position.

Jeffrey P. Kushan will argue for Apple.

Thomas A. Lewry will argue for Omni.

This argument will take place Thursday, March 4 at 10:00 A.M.

Rolfingsmeyer v. Office of Personnel Management 

As discussed in our argument preview, in this death benefit case,  the Federal Circuit will review the Merit Systems Protection Board’s decision denying Patricia Rolfingsmeyer a survivor annuity and a basic employee death benefit based on the death of Tina Sammons, her alleged common law spouse. In particular, Rolfingsmeyer contends OPM’s regulation on point is unconstitutional because it relies on unconstitutional state laws to deny benefits to same-sex couples.

In response, OPM contends “it denied her application solely because she and Ms. Sammons were not married for at least nine months immediately before Ms. Sammons’s death on February 4, 2014.” According to OPM, “the unconstitutional laws of Ms. Sammons’s domicile, Pennsylvania, were irrelevant in OPM’s evaluation of whether she was Ms. Sammons’s ‘current spouse,’ 5 C.F.R. 843.102, and the duration of their marriage.”

James Obergefell, Michael Ely, and Anthony J. Gonzales filed an amicus brief in support of Rolfingsmeyer. Additionally, Services and Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Elders and Human Rights Campaign also filed an amicus brief in support of Rolfingsmeyer.

Jonathan S. Franklin will argue for Rolfingsmeyer.

Domenique Kirchner will argue for OPM.

This argument will take place Friday, March 5 at 10:00 A.M.