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Semmes Law Updates

Semmes offers Law Updates for information-purposes only. Semmes assumes no responsibility for the accuracy or timeliness of any information provided herein. The information may not apply to your unique situation, and is not intended to be used as a basis for any particular course of action or as a substitute for legal advice.

Elimination of Wholly Groundless Exception to Arbitrability

In deciding whether the court or an arbitrator should decide questions of arbitrability, the Supreme Court held that the decision is left only for arbitrators. Lower courts may no longer recognize a “wholly groundless” exception to stop frivolous lawsuits from going to arbitration, when an argument for arbitration is wholly groundless.

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Unclear docket entries, and the countdown to file an appeal

A docket entry on the court’s electronic case management system must be clearly marked with the date a judgment is entered. Unless the date is clear to both litigants and the public, the judgment cannot be treated as entered. Any appeal filed before the entry is corrected must be treated as being timely filed, regardless of the length of time between the original docket entry, and the docket’s correction.

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No Equitable Tolling For Class Certification Appeals

The Supreme Court unanimously held that Rule 23(f), governing class action class certification appeals, is not subject to equitable tolling. Parties must appeal within the 14-day deadline, and the deadline cannot be extended even if good cause exists.

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Failure to Raise Merger Defense Was Reasonable

Fourth Circuit reverses District Court in case alleging ineffective assistance of counsel, finds that court imposed too high of a standard for prejudice when it required Appellant to show that the result of the case would have been different but for counsel’s omission. The Fourth Circuit decides in favor of the Appellant on the grounds that the omission was likely to produce a different result.

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Insurer Must Defend Violation of Privacy

Maryland Court of Special Appeals finds that insurer must defend Rams Head in action alleging violation of privacy, but finds no duty to defend general manager in who plead guilty to violating privacy statute. Through its analysis, the Court provides a thorough discussion of how Maryland courts are to construe insurance contracts.

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Sovereign Immunity is Defense to Copyright Infringement

North Carolina appeals denial of motion to dismiss copyright infringement claims The Fourth Circuit found that the defense of sovereign immunity was applicable because the complaint against North Carolina contained insufficient evidence to establish that the state had expressly consented to suit in federal court.

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