home
about the group
appellate attorneys
briefs
docket reports
oral arguments
news on
 mayerbrown.com
contact
 
SUPREME COURT DOCKET REPORT
OCTOBER TERM 2006
DECISION ALERT


January 10, 2007

In the past two days the Court issued two decisions of interest to the business community.

MedImmune, Inc. v. Genentech, Inc., No. 05-608. The Court, in an 8-1 opinion by Justice Scalia, ruled that a patent licensee who continues to pay royalties has Article III standing to seek a declaratory judgment that the licensed patent is invalid. The Court observed that Article III does not require that law-abiding parties expose themselves to prosecution in order to challenge contemplated government action. Likewise, the Court held, the patent licensee's declaratory-judgment action is justiciable because the licensee's formal compliance with the contract is coerced and does not signal the absence of a concrete dispute between the parties. This result expands the options available to licensees paying royalties on what they believe to be invalid patents, allowing them to contest validity without subjecting themselves to penalty for breaches of contract.

Norfolk Southern Railway Co. v. Sorrell, No. 05-746. The Court, in a 8-0 opinion by Chief Justice Roberts  (with Justice Ginsberg concurring in the judgment), determined that Missouri's "unique" practice of applying different causation standards to railroad negligence and employee contributory negligence in Federal Employers' Liability Act (FELA) actions is impermissible under FELA. The Court found no textual basis in FELA for applying different standards. The Court noted that, in the absence of express statutory derogation of the common law in FELA, the common law rule-of applying a uniform causation standard-constituted "strong evidence" against a contrary approach. The Court buttressed its statutory reading by observing the practical difficulties of applying different causation standards and emphasized that while FELA was enacted to benefit railroad employees, that remedial purpose could not "compensate for the lack of a statutory basis." Because the Court declined to clarify what uniform causation standard should be employed in FELA actions, litigation over that uncertainty-possibly culminating in a future Supreme Court decision-will continue.

If you have any questions about these decisions, please contact appellate@mayerbrown.com
.  



Please email us (at contact.edits@mayerbrown.com) to add or remove yourself from our Docket Report mailing list.


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.

 
 
© 2014. The Mayer Brown Practices. All rights reserved. --  Legal Notices | Attorney Advertising

Mayer Brown is a global legal services provider comprising legal practices that are separate entities (the “Mayer Brown Practices”). The Mayer Brown Practices are: Mayer Brown LLP and Mayer Brown Europe – Brussels LLP, both limited liability partnerships established in Illinois USA; Mayer Brown International LLP, a limited liability partnership incorporated in England and Wales (authorized and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and registered in England and Wales number OC 303359); Mayer Brown, a SELAS established in France; Mayer Brown JSM, a Hong Kong partnership and its associated entities in Asia; and Tauil & Chequer Advogados, a Brazilian law partnership with which Mayer Brown is associated. “Mayer Brown” and the Mayer Brown logo are the trademarks of the Mayer Brown Practices in their respective jurisdictions.