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U.S. Fourth Circuit

Drug Distributors Win Groundbreaking Opioid Lawsuit in West Virginia

By Laura Temme, Esq.

Huntington and Cabell County alleged that the three distributors failed to maintain controls that would have prevented the oversupply of addictive substances like Oxycodone. At trial, attorneys for McKesson argued that holding the companies liable would "force distributors to second-guess doctors' prescribing decisions."

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4th Circuit Sides With HS Girls Over Skirt Requirement

By Alex Sirek

A federal appeals court has found that a North Carolina school's dress code violated female students' constitutional rights. From its opening in 2000, Charter Day School enforced a strict dress code requiring female students to wear skirts, jumper skirts, or skorts exclusively. Until recently, this strict guideline was upheld regardless of the girls' personal comfort with wearing skirts. Needless to say, male students were allowed to wear pants or shorts.

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Fourth Circuit Rules in Favor of Abortion Providers Suing South Carolina AG for "Fetal Heartbeat" Act—But State Asks for Rehearing En Banc

By Camila Laval, J.D.

South Carolina passed a law banning abortions after a heartbeat is detected—generally after six weeks of pregnancy and before many people know that they are expecting. The District Court enjoined the enforcement of the law, and the Court of Appeals affirmed. Governor Henry McMaster has now asked for further review, arguing that the Courts' reasoning on standing and severability was flawed.

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Federal Gun Restrictions Barely Survive Constitutionality Challenge in Fourth Circuit

By Camila Laval, J.D.

A recent Second Amendment challenge to a law restricting the sale of guns to adults under 21 will be dismissed for "mootness" because the plaintiffs have since aged out.

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4th Circuit Says Protecting Moral Sensibilities Justifies Ban on Topless Female Beachgoers

By Joseph Fawbush, Esq.

The Fourth Circuit recently upheld an Ocean City, Maryland, ordinance prohibiting women from exposing their breasts in public, including on the city's popular public beaches. The lawsuit arose in 2017, when four local women in the small tourist town asked the City if there was any law prohibiting them from going topless at the beach. There was no such law on the books at the time, but in response, the city passed an ordinance banning public nudity. The ban specifically prohibits the baring of female breasts, but does not prohibit male toplessness.

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4th Circuit Rules Baltimore Air Surveillance Program Unconstitutional

By Laura Temme, Esq.

A divided en banc Fourth Circuit recently held the Baltimore Police Department's Aerial Investigation Research (AIR) pilot program violated the Fourth Amendment. The six-month program involved flying planes over the city for 40 hours a week, aimed at battling crime through increased surveillance. Background The plaintiffs, grassroots community activists represented by the ACLU, tried to stop the AIR program before it started. But U.S. District Court Judge Richard D.

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