CCL's Robert S. Peck argued significant cases in the Fifth and Ninth Circuits in February, participated in proceedings in the American Bar Association's House of Delegates, and filed briefs in a number of cases.

       In the Fifth Circuit, Peck argued that the District Court in In re Chinese-Manufactured Dry Wall Litigation, correctly held that the States of Virginia, Florida, and Louisiana had personal jurisdiction over the Chinese parent companies of their manufacturing subsidiary and are properly responsible for the liability in the cases that were consolidated into the Eastern District of Louisiana. Subsequent to the argument, a settlement was finalized, covering the vast number of cases that were part of the appeal. As a result, the parties submitted a joint motion to dismiss the Virginia cases, all of which had settled, leaving the Court to determine jurisdiction with respect to a handful of cases from Florida and Louisiana, where plaintiffs were not part of the settlement.

     In the Ninth Circuit, Peck argued that the City of Oakland, California had sufficiently alleged proximate cause to survive a motion to dismiss its Fair Housing Act claim against Wells Fargo, which it accused of discriminatory mortgage lending. The District Court had agreed with Oakland. Since that trial-level decision, the Eleventh Circuit had made a similar ruling permitting Miami, Florida to proceed in cases against Wells Fargo and Bank of America.

     After the banks petitioned the Supreme Court for further review and Miami had opposed in briefs written by Peck, the City decided to dismiss its cases. After Peck filed a suggestion of mootness with the Supreme Court, the Court granted the petitions and vacated the Eleventh Circuit's decision. The Ninth Circuit then requested and received supplemental briefs from Peck and from Wells Fargo on the significance of the decision vacating the Eleventh Circuit's decision. Peck argued that the decision still has the same persuasive value it had before being vacated and was the correct determination.

     In addition to these arguments, Peck presented a resolution at the ABA House of Delegates meeting in Austin, Texas, where the ABA endorsed the idea of "incorporating" the Seventh Amendment, the process by which the Supreme Court has applied portions of the Bill of Rights to the States. In recent years, the Supreme Court has shown renewed interest in the incorporation process, incorporating the Seventh Amendment's right to bear arms and the Eighth Amendment's prohibition against excessive fines. This term, it is considering incorporating the Fifth Amendment's unanimous jury-trial rule. The only amendment wholly unincorporated are the Third Amendment's ban on forced quartering of troops and the Seventh Amendment's right to jury trial. Peck also played a key role in the shaping and consideration of other resolutions at the meeting.