The Court Reporter
The Court Reporter is a comprehensive online guide to court news and analysis specifically relevant to the civil defense practitioner. The Court Reporter provides convenient access to significant cases affecting the Defense Bar, links to important filings and transcripts issued by the Supreme Court, as well as a one-stop location to follow all of DRI’s amicus filings – all created specifically to provide practical applications of Supreme Court rulings to your practice.

Court Reporter Committee


Kathleen A. Lang
Dickinson Wright


Carmen R. Toledo
King & Spalding


Lynn Darty
Christian & Small

Supreme Court limits access to federal courts for claims originating overseas in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co.
Joshua D. Shaw

The Supreme Court recently issued its much-anticipated opinion in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum, in which it barred plaintiffs’ U.S. lawsuit against foreign oil companies for alleged human rights abuses committed in Africa.  Kiobel, which featured multiple rounds of oral argument and over 80 amici curiae briefs filed, was being watched carefully by multi-national corporations and the international community.  While the Court ultimately came down on the side of the corporate defendants in Kiobel, the opinion may have stopped short of a workable rule that will substantially limit the volume of U.S. lawsuits for alleged international law violations committed overseas.   

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DRI Files Amicus Brief with Supreme Court in Oxford Health Plans v. Sutter

DRI – The Voice of the Defense Bar has filed an amicus brief on merits with the U.S. Supreme Court, in support of the petitioner in Oxford Health Plans v. Sutter. DRI last year submitted an amicus brief supporting the petition for a writ of certiorari in the case.

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Supreme Court Shows Little Affection for Ninth Circuit’s Decision in Los Angeles Stormwater Case
Randy J. Butterfield

On December 4, 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argument in Los Angeles County Flood Control Dist. v. Natural Resources Council, Inc., an appeal from a decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit finding that a channelized portion of a river in Los Angeles County that allowed stormwater runoff to flow into an unchannelized segment of the river could be considered a "point source" subject to the Clean Water Act ("CWA").  Following the Ninth Circuit's ruling, many had criticized the decision as inconsistent with the Supreme Court's holding in South Florida Water Management District v. Miccosukee Tribe, 541 U.S. 95 (2004), which had held that a transfer of water within a single body of water cannot constitute a discharge from a point source under the CWA.  Based on the positions taken and questions asked at oral argument, there would appear to be little chance that the Ninth Circuit's decision survives unscathed.  

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U.S. EPA Throws Supreme Court a Curveball in Decker v. Northwest Environmental Defense Center and Georgia Pacific v. Northwest Environmental Defense Center
Steven M. Siros
On December 3, 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the consolidated cases of Decker v. Northwest Environmental Defense Center and Georgia Pacific v. Northwest Environmental Defense Fund Center.  At issue in both of these cases is the Ninth Circuit’s 2010 decision that found that channelized storm water from logging roads that eventually flows into streams and rivers requires a NPDES permit under the Clean Water Act (“CWA”).  

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Corporate Liability for Violations of International Law, Take II: Supreme Court Hears Second Round of Oral Argument in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co.
Joshua D. Shaw of Turner, Padgett, Graham & Laney P.A.

The Supreme Court heard oral argument for the second time yesterday in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co. The first oral argument took place on February 28, 2012, when the question before the Court was whether a corporation could be held liable for violations of customary international law.  During the February oral argument, however, it became apparent that there was perhaps a more fundamental obstacle to the Plaintiffs’ action against foreign oil companies for allegedly aiding and abetting the Nigerian government in committing human rights violations in connection with oil exploration activities in Nigeria. 
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Jury Awards Apple $1.05 Billion in Damages in Infringement Suit Against Samsung
Joseph R. Carnicella of Picadio, Sneath, Miller & Norton

On Friday, August 24, a nine member jury entered a verdict in favor of Apple and awarded almost $1.05 billion in damages.  Apple filed suit against one of its largest competitors, Samsung Electronics, in April 2011, and alleged that Samsung’s Galaxy line of smartphones and tablets infringed seven of Apple’s patents covering the iPhone and iPod products.  In turn, Samsung countersued alleging that Apple infringed Samsung’s patents covering various wireless software components of its products.  After more than a year of highly contentious litigation and following a trial that began at the end of July and lasted the better part of August, the jury deliberated for less than three days before delivering the verdict in favor of Apple. 
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