In December, the court heard oral argument in Military-Veterans Advocacy, Inc. v. Secretary of Veterans Affairs, a case arising from the Department of Veterans Affairs. We have been following this case because it attracted two amicus briefs in support of the petitioner, Military-Veterans Advocacy, Inc. MVA challenges a denial of rulemaking by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs that would have sought to extend the presumption of herbicide exposure to veterans who served on Guam from January 9, 1962, through December 31, 1980; Johnston Island from January 1, 1972, until September 30, 1977; and American Samoa. Judges Newman, Prost, Cunningham heard last month’s argument. This is our argument recap.
In December, the Federal Circuit heard oral argument in Wolfe v. McDonough. We have been following this veterans case because it attracted three amicus briefs in support of the plaintiff-appellee, Wolfe. On appeal, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs asks the Federal Circuit to reverse the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, which “granted a petition for a writ of mandamus filed by Wolfe on behalf of a class of claimants to invalidate 38 C.F.R. § 17.1005(a)(5) and require [the Department of Veterans Affairs] to readjudicate and grant claims for reimbursement of coinsurance and deductibles.” Judges Dyk, Reyna, and Stoll heard last week’s argument. This is our argument recap.
In December, the Federal Circuit heard oral argument in Cross v. Office of Personnel Management, an appeal from the Merit Systems Protection Board. We have been following this death benefit case because it attracted an amicus brief. On appeal, Cross asks the Federal Circuit to reverse a decision of the Merits Systems Protection Board regarding the denial of survivor benefits. In particular, the petitioner is claiming survivor benefits as a surviving former spouse when her deceased former husband failed affirmatively to re-elect her survivor benefits during the few months between their divorce and his death. Judges Moore, Schall, and Stoll heard last Wednesday’s argument. This is our argument recap.
Last Friday, the court heard oral argument in Brown v. United States, a tax case. We have been following it because it attracted an amicus brief. On appeal, the Browns ask the Federal Circuit to overrule the holding of the Court of Federal Claims that it did not have subject matter jurisdiction because the Browns did not attach a power of attorney to amended income tax returns filed by their agent with the Internal Revenue Service. The United States argues “[t]he Browns’ refund claims admittedly violated the taxpayer signature and verification requirements,” and the United States maintains this means “the Browns’ refund claims were not ‘duly filed’ with the IRS before the Browns sued.” The arguments attracted an amicus brief from the Center of Taxpayer Rights in support of the Browns. Judges Lourie, Dyk, and Stoll heard Friday’s argument. This is our argument recap.
This past week, the court heard oral argument in In re Elster, an appeal from the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board. We have been following this case because it attracted an amicus brief. On appeal, Elster argues a refusal of his trademark registration based on section 2(c) the Lanham Act violates of the Constitution’s First Amendment. Section 2(c) recites that “[n]o trademark by which the goods of the applicant may be distinguished from the goods of others shall be refused registration on the principal register on account of its nature unless it . . . [c]onsists of or comprises a name, portrait, or signature identifying a particular living individual except by his written consent . . . .” The United States argues that section 2(c) is constitutionally legal and applied correctly in this case. The amicus brief in this case was filed by Matthew Handel, an individual who says he has trademark applications similar to Elster. Judges Dyk, Taranto, and Chen heard the argument. This is our argument recap.
This past Tuesday, the court heard oral argument in Monroe v. United States, an appeal from the United States Court of Federal Claims. We have been following this Equal Access to Justice Act case because it attracted an amicus brief. On appeal, the United States asks the Federal Circuit to overrule what it characterizes as an abuse of discretion by the trial court in awarding attorney’s fees and expenses to the plaintiff-appellee. Monroe contends he “prevailed at each procedural stage of the litigation” and, as result, “a fully compensatory fee award was warranted.” The arguments regarding the award of fees and expenses in an EAJA action attracted an amicus brief in support of Monroe. Judges Moore and Chen heard Tuesday’s argument. Judge Clevenger was assigned to this panel, but he was not present for the argument. This is our argument recap.
This past Wednesday the court heard oral argument in Arrowood Indemnity Co. v. United States, Cacciapalle v. United States, Owl Creek Asia I, L.P. v. United States, and Fairholme Funds, Inc. v. United States, cases that attracted amicus briefs. In these cases, the plaintiffs asserted claims at the Court of Federal Claims based on government actions related to the 2008 financial crisis and ownership of shares of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. As explained by the Court of Federal Claims in one of the cases, the “plaintiffs seek the return of money illegally exacted, damages for breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty, and compensation for a taking pursuant to the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution.” The Court of Federal Claims, however, dismissed these claims, finding it “lacks jurisdiction to entertain their fiduciary duty and implied-in-fact-contract claims, and plaintiffs lack standing to pursue any of their claims.” The plaintiffs have now appealed to the Federal Circuit, challenging the lower court’s holdings. The Federal Circuit consolidated these cases for purposes of oral argument. Judges Lourie, Prost, and O’Malley heard Wednesday’s argument. This is our argument recap.
On April 21, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Minerva Surgical, Inc. v. Hologic, Inc. As we highlighted in our argument preview, the question presented to the Court was “whether a defendant in a patent infringement action who assigned the patent, or is in privity with an assignor of the patent, may have a defense of invalidity heard on the merits.” In other words, the parties argued for and against the doctrine of assignor estoppel. This is our argument recap.
This past Monday the court heard oral argument in Mobility Workx, LLC v. Unified Patents, LLC, an appeal from the Patent Trial and Appeal Board that we have been following because it attracted an amicus brief. On appeal, Mobility Workx presents several arguments that inter partes review violates the Constitution. In particular, Mobility Workx argues that inter partes review violates its right to due process and qualifies as a taking under the Fifth Amendment. Judges Newman, Schall, and Dyk heard Monday’s argument. This is our argument recap.
Yesterday, the Federal Circuit heard oral argument in Buffington v. McDonough, a case presenting the question of whether the Secretary of Veterans Affairs exceeded his statutory authority when promulgating a regulation related to the timing of resumption of disability benefits payments following a period of active military service. Judges Lourie, Moore, and O’Malley heard the argument. This is our argument recap.