CCL President Robert S. Peck spoke April 23 on bringing constitutional challenges at a seminar for the Workers' Injury Law and Advocacy Group (WILG) and then joined a reception at a conference of the International Municipal Lawyers Association (IMLA), where he received its Amicus Award.

     The WILG seminar introduced its lawyer-members to a new constitutional challenge resource developed by the organization. Members have grown concerned that states are passing laws that limit the eligibility and scope of benefits available through workers compensation to those injured in the workplace. Peck's remarks about the art and pitfalls of constitutional challenges covered different approaches and difficulties that the litigation often involves.

     The IMLA awards reception recognized Peck for his pro bono amicus brief in BP pllc v. Mayor and City Council of Baltimore, filed in the U.S. Supreme Court. The case was initiated by Baltimore in state court against major oil companies for their contributions to climate change and its impact on the city. The oil companies removed the case to federal court, but the federal court ordered the case remanded to state court when it found none of the grounds for removal were valid. Under a federal statute, an immediate appeal of that order was permissible because one of the grounds asserted for removal was that the oil companies' alleged liability was for work it did at the direction of the federal government. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit held that the federal government did not direct the oil companies and refused to consider alternative grounds for removal because the federal law giving a right of appeal was limited to "federal-officer" grounds.

      The scope of the authorized appeal was the issue before the Supreme Court. At oral argument, the IMLA brief written by Peck was mentioned twice, a testament to the importance of issues only raised by that brief. A decision in the case is still forthcoming.