Friday, August 17, 2007

Interesting W.D. Va. opinions

In Blankenship v. Mead Westvaco Corp. and William v. Mead Westvaco Corp., Judge Wilson granted the employer's motions to dismiss, concluding that the plaintiffs were attempting to state a private cause of action based on OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Act.

In Saucedo-Gonzalez v. United States, Magistrate Judge Urbanski addresses among other things the liability of the United States under the Federal Tort Claims Act for alleged excessive force applied to an inmate, without addressing what I thought was likely to be the dispositive issue, the exclusion in 28 U.S.C. 2380(h) of claims for assault and battery - but there is an exception to the exclusion for "law enforcement officers" and so perhaps the corrections officers are considered law enforcement officers. Maybe, however, it doesn't matter whether the corrections officers are considered law enforcement officers, because in the Fourth Circuit the other exception under section 2680(a) also applies, see Welch v. U.S., 409 F.3d 646, 651-52 (4th Cir. 2005), and so Judge Urbanski's opinion addresses section 2680(a).

In Calkins v. Pacel Corp., Judge Moon agreed with the defendants' argument that the officers and directors of a publicly-traded corporation cannot tortiously interfere with the corporation's contracts, rejecting the plaintiff's request for a hearing on whether the defendants were acting with the scope of their agency. Judge Moon also denied the plaintiff's claim for preliminary injunctive relief, where the relief sought was payment of money.

In Peebles v. Four Winds International, Judge Moon concluded that the W.D. Va. could have subject matter jurisdiction over a claim under a Florida consumer protection statute, notwithstanding the reference in the statute to bringing suit in state court. The Court noted, among other things: "The Supreme Court has made it clear, in numerous cases cited by Plaintiff, that state laws have no power to limit the jurisdiction of federal courts."

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