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Decisions in Criminal, Civil, and Tax Matters, Plus Political Discrimination Suit

By FindLaw Staff on June 17, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Estate of Charania v. Shulman, No. 09-2430, concerned a decedent's estate's challenge to the judgment of the tax court in a deficiency case. The court affirmed in part the judgment of the tax court that all of the Citigroup shares were the separate property of the decedent for federal estate tax purposes and, thus, were includable in his gross taxable estate, as the rule of De Nicols is that a change is marital domicile does not, in itself, effect a change in the marital property regime governing the spouses' rights in personal property acquired throughout the course of the marriage.  However, the court reversed in part as the tax court's approbation of the late-filing penalty was in error. 

US v. Laurent, No. 09-1543, concerned a challenge to a defendant's conviction and sentence for drug related crimes.  In affirming, the court rejected defendant's claim that the destruction of the surveillance videotape of defendant selling drugs to an undercover agent and failure by the prosecutor to disclose before trial the prior existence of the tape and the destruction violated his constitutional rights, as the tape was not exculpatory, but rather, it is more likely than not that the tape would have inculpated defendant.   

Martinez v. Cui, No. 09-1471, concerned a plaintiff's suit against a first-year medical resident, claiming that she was sexually assaulted during an examination.  In affirming the jury verdict in favor of the defendant, the court held that the district court's evidentiary rulings were not error; and that the jury was correctly instructed on the shocks-the-conscious element as this standard applies to claims that an executive official's sexual assault violated the substantive due process clause.   

Cortes-Reyes v. Salas-Quintana, No. 08-2210, concerned a political discrimination suit brought by thirty-six former Ranger cadets of the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources, claiming they were terminated due to their political affiliation with the New Progressive Party.  The court vacated in part the judgment of the district court as to the jury's finding of a due process violation and the related award of compensatory damages as the defendants were entitled to qualified immunity on the due process claim.  However, the court affirmed the jury's finding of a First Amendment violation and the award of nominal and punitive damages for that violation.     

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