(1) County of Los Angeles v. Mendez: By a vote of 8-0 the judgment of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit is vacated and the case remanded. Per Justice Alito's opinion for the Court: "If law enforcement officers make a 'seizure' of a person using force that is judged to be reasonable based on a consideration of the circumstances relevant to that determination, may the officers nevertheless be held liable for injuries caused by the seizure on the ground that they committed a separate Fourth Amendment violation that contributed to their need to use force? The Ninth Circuit has adopted a 'provocation rule' that imposes liability in such a situation. We hold that the Fourth Amendment provides no basis for such a rule. A different Fourth Amendment violation cannot transform a later, reasonable use of force into an unreasonable seizure."
Justice Alito's opinion was joined by all other members of the Court except Justice Gorsuch, who took no part in the consideration or decision of the case.
(2) BNSF Railway Co. v. Tyrrell: By a vote of 8-1 the judgment of the Supreme Court of Montana is reversed and the case remanded. Per Justice Ginsburg's opinion for the Court: "The two cases we decide today arise under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA), 35 Stat. 65, as amended, 45 U. S. C. §51 et seq., which makes railroads liable in money damages to their employees for on-the-job injuries. Both suits were pursued in Montana state courts although the injured workers did not reside in Montana, nor were they injured there. The defendant railroad, BNSF Railway Company (BNSF), although 'doing business' in Montana when the litigation commenced, was not incorporated in Montana, nor did it maintain its principal place of business in that State. To justify the exercise of personal jurisdiction over BNSF, the Montana Supreme Court relied on §56, which provides in relevant part: 'Under this chapter an action may be brought in a district court of the United States, in the district of the residence of the defendant, or in which the cause of action arose, or in which the defendant shall be doing business at the time of commencing such action. The jurisdiction of the courts of the United States under this chapter shall be concurrent with that of the courts of the several States.” We hold that §56 does not address personal jurisdiction over railroads. Its first relevant sentence is a venue prescription governing proper locations for FELA suits filed in federal court. The provision’s second relevant sentence, using the term 'concurrent' jurisdiction, refers to subject matter jurisdiction, not personal jurisdiction. It simply clarifies that the federal courts do not have exclusive subject-matter jurisdiction over FELA suits; state courts can hear them, too. Montana’s Supreme Court, in the alternative, relied on state law, under which personal jurisdiction could be asserted over 'persons found within . . . Montana.' Mont. Rule Civ. Proc. 4(b)(1) (2015). BNSF fit that bill, the court stated, because it has over 2,000 miles of railroad track and employs more than 2,000 workers in Montana. Our precedent, however, explains that the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause does not permit a State to hale an out-of-state corporation before its courts when the corporation is not 'at home' in the State and the episode-in-suit occurred elsewhere. Daimler AG v. Bauman, 571 U. S. ___, ___ (2014) (slip op., at 8) (internal quotation marks omitted). We therefore reverse the judgment of the Montana Supreme Court."
Justice Ginsburg's majority opinion was joined by all other members of the Court (including Justice Gorsuch) except Justice Sotomayor, who filed an opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part.
(3) Esquivel-Santana v. Sessions: By a vote of 8-0 the judgment of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit is reversed. Per Justice Thomas' opinion for the Court: "The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 66 Stat. 163, as amended, provides that '[a]ny alien who is convicted of an aggravated felony after admission' to the United States may be removed from the country by the Attorney General. 8 U. S. C. §1227(a)(2)(A)(iii). One of the many crimes that constitutes an aggravated felony under the INA is 'sexual abuse of a minor.' §1101(a)(43)(A). A conviction for sexual abuse of a minor is an aggravated felony regardless of whether it is for a 'violation of Federal or State law.' §1101(a)(43). The INA does not expressly define sexual abuse of a minor. We must decide whether a conviction under a state statute criminalizing consensual sexual intercourse between a 21-year-old and a 17-year-old qualifies as sexual abuse of a minor under the INA. We hold that it does not.... The structure of the INA, a related federal statute, and evidence from state criminal codes confirm that, for a statutory rape offense to qualify as sexual abuse of a minor under the INA based solely on the age of the participants, the victim must be younger than 16."
Justice Thomas' opinion was joined by all other members of the Court except Justice Gorsuch, who took no part in the consideration or decision of the case.
(4) Impression Prods., Inc. v. Lexmark Int'l: By a vote of 7-1 the judgment of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit is reversed and the case remanded. Per Chief Justice Roberts' opinion for the Court: "A United States patent entitles the patent holder (the 'patentee'), for a period of 20 years, to 'exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling [its] invention throughout the United States or importing the invention into the United States.' 35 U. S. C. §154(a). Whoever engages in one of these acts 'without authority' from the patentee may face liability for patent infringement. §271(a). When a patentee sells one of its products, however, the patentee can no longer control that item through the patent laws—its patent rights are said to 'exhaust.' The purchaser and all subsequent owners are free to use or resell the product just like any other item of personal property, without fear of an infringement lawsuit. This case presents two questions about the scope of the patent exhaustion doctrine: First, whether a patentee that sells an item under an express restriction on the purchaser’s right to reuse or resell the product may enforce that restriction through an infringement lawsuit. And second, whether a patentee exhausts its patent rights by selling its product outside the United States, where American patent laws do not apply. We conclude that a patentee’s decision to sell a product exhausts all of its patent rights in that item, regardless of any restrictions the patentee purports to impose or the location of the sale.
The Chief Justice's majority opinion was joined by Justices Kennedy, Thomas, Breyer, Alito, Sotomayor, and Kagan. Justice Ginsburg filed an opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part. Justice Gorsuch took no part in the consideration or decision of the case.
(1) In addition to one GVR, cert was granted in Husted v. A Philip Randolph Institute: Whether 52 U.S.C. § 20507 permits Ohio's list-maintenance process, which uses a registered voter's voter inactivity as a reason to send a confirmation notice to that voter under the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 and the Help America Vote Act of 2002.
(2) The judgments in two cases were summarily affirmed for lack of a quorum: Jaffe v. (Chief Justice) Roberts and Arunga v. Obama ("Because the Court lacks a quorum, 28 U. S. C. §1, and since the qualified Justice is of the opinion that the case cannot be heard and determined at the next Term of the Court, the judgment is affirmed under 28 U. S. C. §2109, which provides that under these circumstances 'the court shall enter its order affirming the judgment of the court from which the case was brought for review with the same effect as upon affirmance by an equally divided court.'")
(3) One new CVSG: WesternGeco LLC v. ION Geophysical Corp.: Whether the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit erred in holding that lost profits arising from prohibited combinations occurring outside of the United States are categorically unavailable in cases where patent infringement is proven under 35 U.S.C. § 271(f).
(4) No action was taken on Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Comm'n (SSM wedding cake dispute) or on Peruta v. California (right to carry handgun outside the home for self-defense).
(5) The Court also vacated a disciplinary order it had issued against Boston attorney Patrick Sullivan "[d]ue to mistaken identity."