Monday, April 21, 2003

Today's Fourth Circuit opinions

In this split decision, a panel affirmed Judge Turk's order convicting a man of failing to register his kitchen laboratory where he made GHB. Judge Michael dissented, that back when the case arose, GHB was not covered by the drug trafficking laws (as it is now), and which left the Court to determine whether "the square pegs of [Ellis’s] conduct can be pounded into the round holes of the FDCA."

Here a panel reversed Judge Williams of the E.D. Va. in an IDEA case against Henrico County and ordered reconsideration under the new standard announced in MM v. School District of Greenville County, 303 F.3d 523 (4th Cir. 2002) for "extended school year services," which is based on whether "the benefits a disabled child gains during a regular school year will be significantly jeopardized if he is not provided with an educational program during the summer months."

This insurance coverage case dealt with the issue of injury to computers and stored data, and generated three opinions: Judge Gregory wrote for the Court, Judge Widener concurred, and Judge Niemeyer dissented. The insured was a small software company, the loss was the result of hacking by a disgruntled former employee, who installed "trap doors" to the system before his employment ended. The majority concluded that there was coverage, despite an exclusion for loss that results from the dishonest or criminal acts of a person to whom the insured had entrusted its property.

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