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SUPREME COURT DOCKET REPORT

Mayer Brown's Supreme Court and Appellate Practice Group distributes a Docket Report whenever the Supreme Court grants certiorari in a case of interest to the business community. We also email the Docket Report to our subscribed members and if you don't already subscribe to the Docket Report and would like to, please click here.

October Term 2009 - June 29, 2010

Today the Supreme Court granted certiorari in one case of interest to the business community:


Title VII of the Civil Rights Act—Retaliation Claims

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-3(a), makes it illegal to retaliate against an employee for (a) opposing an unlawful employment practice or (b) participating in an investigation of, or proceedings against, an employer under the Act. The Supreme Court granted certiorari today in Thompson v. North American Stainless, LP, No. 09-291, to determine whether Title VII’s anti-retaliation provision protects an individual who suffers retaliation based solely upon that individual’s association with an employee who has engaged in protected activities.

Thompson is significant for all employers subject to Title VII because its resolution will define the universe of individuals protected by Title VII’s anti-retaliation provision. If the Court rules that it covers individuals who have not themselves engaged in protected activity, employers may be subject to an increased range of potential claims and liability.

The case arose from the firing of an employee three weeks after his fiancée filed a charge with the EEOC against the couple’s mutual employer for gender discrimination. The plaintiff claimed that the only motivating factor for his termination was his fiancée’s charge against their mutual employer. The Sixth Circuit, in an en banc ruling, joined the Third, Fifth, and Eighth Circuits in rejecting such third-party retaliation claims. It held that the plain language of the anti-retaliation provision limited the class of persons who may sue to those personally engaged in protected activity. Six dissenting judges, however, rejected what they considered to be the majority’s overly narrow reading of the statute, arguing in part that recent Supreme Court precedent requires a broad interpretation of statutes designed to protect employees from retaliation.

For the third time in two days, the Court granted review despite the recommendation of the Solicitor General that certiorari be denied.

Absent extensions, which are likely, amicus briefs in support of the petitioner will be due on August 20, 2010, and amicus briefs in support of the respondent will be due on September 20, 2010. Any questions about this case should be directed to Steve Kane (+1 312 701 8857) in our Chicago office.


Yesterday, the Supreme Court invited the Solicitor General to file a brief expressing the views of the United States in the following case of interest to the business community:

Board of Trustees of the Leland Stanford Junior University v. Roche Molecular Systems, Inc., No. 09-1159: The question presented is whether a federal contractor university’s statutory right under the Bayh-Dole Act, 35 U.S.C. §§ 200-212, in inventions arising from federally funded research can be terminated unilaterally by an individual inventor through a separate agreement purporting to assign the inventor’s rights to a third party.


Mayer Brown's Supreme Court & Appellate practice distributes a Docket Report whenever the Supreme Court grants certiorari in a case of interest to the business community and distributes a Docket Report-Decision Alert whenever the Court decides such a case. We hope you find the Docket Reports and Decision Alerts useful, and welcome feedback on them (which should be addressed to Andrew Tauber, their general editor, at atauber@mayerbrown.com or +1 202 263 3324).
Feel free to forward this message to anyone who you believe might be interested in the Docket Report.

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Mayer Brown's Supreme Court & Appellate practice distributes a Docket Report whenever the Supreme Court grants certiorari in a case of interest to the business community and distributes a Docket Report-Decision Alert whenever the Court decides such a case. We hope you find the Docket Reports and Decision Alerts useful, and welcome feedback on them (which should be addressed to Andrew Tauber, their general editor, at atauber@mayerbrown.com or +1 202 263 3324).

Mayer Brown Supreme Court Docket Reports provide information and comments on legal issues and developments of interest to our clients and friends. They are not a comprehensive treatment of the subject matter covered and are not intended to provide legal advice. Readers should seek specific legal advice before taking any action with respect to the matters discussed. 



 
 
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