Supreme Court Notebook

 Court won’t take case over Gulf spill moratorium 

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court won’t decide if the Obama administration violated a judge’s order that struck down its temporary moratorium on deep water drilling after BP’s 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The high court on Monday refused to hear an appeal from offshore service companies that challenged the moratorium.
 
A federal judge overturned the Interior Department’s decision to halt new permits for deep water projects and suspend drilling on 33 exploratory wells after the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion killed 11 workers and triggered the massive spill. But the agency issued a second nearly identical suspension, leading the judge to issue a civil contempt finding.

But a federal appeals court concluded Interior officials took steps to avoid the effect of the injunction but didn’t violate it.
 

Court says cutoff for benefits in health plan legal 

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court says a contractual limit on suing over health plan benefits is legal.
 
The high court unanimously ruled against Julie Heimeshoff, who worked as a Wal-Mart senior public relations manager. She filed for long term disability benefits with Hartford Life & Accident Insurance Co., after being diagnosed with lupus and fibromyalgia in 2005 but was denied in 2007.

She sued in federal court for her benefits in 2010, but Hartford says her claim had to be filed within three years and she missed the time limit.

Heimeshoff said the Employee Retirement Income Security Act doesn’t have a time limit but Justice Clarence Thomas said for the court that the contract is enforceable.

“A participant and a plan may agree by contract to a particular limitations period,” Thomas said.
 
 

Court won’t hear appeal over news release mistake

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court won’t hear an appeal from a CEO convicted because a news release misstated the results of a drug’s effectiveness.
 
The high court on Monday declined to hear an appeal from Dr. W. Scott Harkonen, the chief executive of the biotechnology company InterMune Inc. from 1998 until 2003. He was convicted wire fraud in the marketing of the drug Actimmune, which was supposed to fight the fatal lung disease idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

The conviction centered on an August 2002 news release that misstated the results of a clinical trial using Actimmune. The release falsely said the test showed Actimmune helped IPF patients live longer.
Harkonen’s lawyers say the results of the trial were accurate, and he is being punished for offering a scientific opinion about the results.
 

Court won’t hear case over Gran­d Canyon Skywalk 

 
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court won’t hear an appeal from a Nevada developer over the Grand Canyon Skywalk.
 
The high court on Monday declined to hear an appeal from lawyers for the late Las Vegas businessman David Jin. Jin invested $30 million to build the bridge that opened in 2007. He and the tribe have disagreed on management fees and an incomplete visitors’ center.

His lawyers say the Hualapai (WAHL’-uh-peye) tribal court system lacks authority to hear the case. But tribal attorneys say the operation of the popular glass bridge in northern Arizona is governed by Hualapai law.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco sided with the tribe, and justices decided not to review that decision.
 

High court won’t look at case of bullying in schools 

 
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court has turned away an appeal from sisters in western Pennsylvania who sued the local school system for its failure to stop another student from verbally and physically assaulting them in 2008.
 
Sisters Brittany and Emily Morrow contended that the Blackhawk School district in Pennsylvania’s Beaver County had a constitutional duty to protect them from another student’s bullying.

A deeply divided federal appeals court in Philadelphia upheld a trial judge’s dismissal of the lawsuit. The justices said Monday they will not review that decision.

The case is Morrow v. Balaski, 13-302.

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