Supreme Court Round-Up - Ten Wins for NFIB Legal Center

Date: July 15, 2013

3 Property Rights Wins!

The Legal Center has been working hard to protect the property rights of small business owners and scored three big wins in this term. In Horne v. U.S. Department of Agriculture the Court agreed with NFIB and held that raisin growers had a constitutional right to object to the Department of Agriculture’s attempt to fine them for not surrendering raisins. In Arkansas Game & Fish Commission v. United States the Court again agreed with NFIB and held that property owners may pursue claims against the government for damages when their property is destroyed or damaged by government action. In this case, the Army Corps of Engineers flooded hundreds of acres of timber owned by the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission. Despite the fact that the flooding continued for eight years, and destroyed hundreds of thousands of dollars in timber, the U.S. refused to pay for any of the damage. Koontz v. St. Johns River Management Districtthe legal center joined in support of Mr. Koontz—an entrepreneur who wanted to develop his commercially zoned property near Tampa, Florida. The Court agreed with NFIB’s argument that the government should be limited in what conditions it can impose on a person to get a federal permit to develop their land.  

5 Employment Law Wins!

The Legal Center also scored several big wins for employers that will help protect small businesses from litigious employees. In Symczyk v. Genesis HealthCare Corp the Supreme Court adopted NFIB’s argument that once a company offers a plaintiff a settlement in a wage and hour dispute, the case is effectively over and should be dismissed. In a second wage and hour win, the Court ruled in Christopher v. Smithkline Beecham that outside salesmen are not entitled to overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act. In Vance v. Ball State and University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center v. Nassar, the Court restricted employers’ liability under Title VII and handed the Legal Center two more victories.

2 Wins Over Burdensome Regulations!
In an important interstate commerce decision, American Trucking Associations v. Port of Los Angeles, the Court handed a victory to small business owners who ship and haul goods in interstate and international commerce. The Supreme Court held that the Port of Los Angeles imposed undue and unconstitutional burdens on trucks coming in and out of the port, increasing the burdens, costs, and barriers to trade. And in Georgia-Pacific West v. Northwest Environmental Defense Center, the NFIB won a fight on regulatory overreach when the Court closed the door on future lawsuits seeking reinterpretation of ambiguous federal laws to expand the authority of federal agencies.
1 Win for Competition!
Finally, a victory in Federal Trade Commission v. Putney restricted taxpayer-funded government actors or quasi-governmental entities from directly competing with small businesses. The case raised the question of whether federal antitrust laws can be used to challenge government-funded monopolistic conduct; the Court’s decision greatly restricts application of the “state action immunity doctrine.”
Updated July 15, 2013 

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