The Kelley Institute
Law of Lawyering
Supreme Court Review
Cases tagged as: 2009 Term
Astrue v. Ratliff
130 S. Ct. 2521 (2010) (PDF)
Attorneys' fees were awarded under 28 U.S.C.S. § 2412(d) to the party that prevailed in the action against United States. Holding that they were (1) payable to litigant rather than litigant's counsel; and that they were (2) subject to offset and satisfy the preexisting debt that litigant owed United States.
Berghuis v. Thompkins
130 S. Ct. 2250 (2010) (PDF)
Petitioner brought a Sixth Amendment ineffective assistance of counsel claim for failure to ask for jury instructions. The court held that even if there was deficient performance, the petitioner could not show prejudice under de novo review.
Bobby v. Van Hook
130 S.Ct. 13 (2009) (PDF)
State inmate (who had been sentenced to death) was held not to be entitled to federal habeas corpus relief on claim, under Federal Constitution's Sixth Amendment, of ineffective assistance of counsel during sentencing phase of trial. A decision not to seek more mitigating evidence was within the range of professionally reasonable judgments. Because the petition was filed before 1996 the stricter ABA standards for counsel in death penalty cases did not apply in assessing counsel's use of mitigation in sentencing portion of the trial.
Hardt v. Reliance Standard Life Insurance Co.
130 S. Ct. 2149 (PDF)
Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) litigant held, under 29 U.S.C.S. § 1132(g), (1) not required to be "prevailing party" to be eligible for attorney's fees award; and was (2) entitled to an award of fees and costs as long as the litigant achieved some degree of success on the merits.
Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project
130 S. Ct. 2705 (2010) (PDF)
18 USSCS sec. 2339B did not require proof of intent to further an illegal terrorists organizations activities. The statute was not impermissibly vague as applied to plaintiff's proposed activities which included training and expert advice or assistance. The statute did not prohibit independent advocacy but providing even benign support to a foreign terrorist organization bolstered terrorist activities
Holland v. Florida
130 S. Ct. 2549 (2010) (PDF)
Petitioner was convicted of murder and sentenced to death. His counsel failed to file a habeas petition within the one year limit even though he urged him to. Limitations period under 28 U.S.C.S. § 2244(d)(1) for filing federal habeas corpus petition held subject to equitable tolling; further factual consideration held required to determine whether allegedly unprofessional conduct of accused's counsel warranted equitable tolling.
Jefferson v. Upton
130 S. Ct. 2217 (2010) (PDF)
On habeas corpus review of a claim by a state prison inmate who was under death sentence, the federal court held to have erred under the former version of 28 U.S.C.S. § 2254(d), by not fully considering all of the potentially applicable exceptions to statutory presumption of correctness.
Jerman v. Carlisle, McNellie, Rini, Kramer & Ulrich LPA
130 S. Ct. 1605 (2010) (PDF)
The Court held that the "mistake of law" defense is not available to attorneys under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, notwithstanding the law firm's argument that this will create a conflict of interest between an attorney's personal financial interest and her ethical obligation of zealous advocacy for the client.
Milavetz, Gallop & Milavetz, P.A. v. United States
130 S. Ct. 1324 (2010) (PDF)
Attorneys who provide bankruptcy assistance to assisted persons are debt relief agencies under the BAPCPA, and as such Section 526(a)(4) prohibits an attorney only from advising a debtor to incur more debt because the debtor is filing for bankruptcy, rather than for a valid purpose. Section 528's advertising disclosure requirements are valid under the First Amendment as applied to Milavetz.
Mohawk Industries, Inc. v. Carpenter
130 S. Ct. 599 (2009) (PDF)
Disclosure orders adverse to the attorney-client privilege do not qualify for immediate appeal under the collateral order doctrine. Postjudgment appeals, together with other review mechanisms, suffice to protect the rights of litigants and preserve the vitality of the attorney-client privilege.
Related tag(s): 2009 Term, ABA amicus brief filed, academic amicus brief filed, appeals, attorney-client privilege, decision against ABA amicus brief, decision in favor of academic amicus brief, discovery,
Padilla v. Kentucky
130 S. Ct. 1473 (2010) (PDF)
Counsel's alleged failure to correctly advise an alien legal permanent resident of United States, before he pleaded guilty to trafficking in marijuana, that this was deportable offense under Immigration and Naturalization Act provision (8 U.S.C.S. § 1227(a)(2)(B)(i)) held to be deficient assistance under Sixth Amendment.
Related tag(s): 2009 Term, ABA amicus brief filed, academic amicus brief filed, attorney-client relationship, decision in favor of ABA amicus brief, decision in favor of academic amicus brief, immigration, ineffective assistance of counsel, sixth amendment,
Perdue v. Kenny A. ex rel Winn
130 S. Ct. 1662 (2010) (PDF)
Federal District Court held not to have provided proper justification for 75 percent lodestar enhancement included in attorneys' fees award under 42 U.S.C.S. § 1988(b) in civil rights action, as lodestar could be enhanced due to superior attorney performance in only rare and exceptional circumstances.
Porter v. McCollum
130 S. Ct. 447 (2009) (PDF)
Counsel's failure at a capital sentencing to present evidence of accused's mental health or mental impairment, family background, or military service held to be (1) ineffective assistance in violation of Sixth Amendment; and (2) prejudicial to accused.
Pottawattamie County v. McGhee
130 S.Ct. 1047 (PDF)
The issue in this case was whether the doctrine of prosecutorial immunity applied where two prosecutors secured false testimony and introduced it at trial. The parties settled after oral argument.
Sears v. Upton
130 S. Ct. 3259 (2010) (PDF)
Petitioner was sentenced to death and brought a Sixth Amendment Ineffective assistance of counsel claim. The state court erred in its analysis of petitioner's Sixth Amendment claim since (1) the state court curtailed a more probing prejudice inquiry because it placed undue reliance on the assumed reasonableness of counsel's mitigation theory, and (2) the state court failed to apply the proper prejudice inquiry. A proper analysis of prejudice would have taken into account the newly uncovered evidence of petitioner's "significant" mental and psychological impairments.
Smith v. Spisak
130 S. Ct. 676 (2010) (PDF)
State prison inmate given death sentence held not entitled to federal habeas corpus relief on claims of penalty-phase (1) unconstitutional jury instructions allegedly allowing consideration of only unanimously-found mitigating factors; or (2) ineffective assistance of counsel in closing argument.
Wong v. Belmontes
130 S. Ct. 383 (2009) (PDF)
State prison inmate who had been sentenced to death for murder held not entitled to federal habeas corpus relief on claim, under Federal Constitution, of ineffective assistance of counsel during sentencing phase of trial as inmate could not establish prejudice under Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668 (1984).
Wood v. Allen
130 S. Ct. 841 (2010) (PDF)
Under § 2254(d)(2), the state court's finding that defendant's counsel made a strategic decision not to pursue or present evidence of defendant's mental deficiencies was not an unreasonable determination of the facts in light of the evidence presented in the state-court proceedings.