NICK EICHER, HOST: It’s Tuesday, the 30th of April, 2019. Glad to have you along for today’s edition of The World and Everything in It. Good morning, I’m Nick Eicher.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard. It’s time to report on rulings handed down by the Supreme Court. We have three of them.
The first ruling (Thacker v TVA), gives another chance to a man who was severely injured in a boating accident. In 2013, Gary Thacker and a friend were fishing on the Tennessee River when their boat struck a power line that had fallen into the river. The TVA , the Tennessee Valley Authority, had been trying to fix it. The TVA issued a warning to stay away, but the men didn’t get the message in time.
Thacker’s friend died instantly. Thacker sued the TVA for negligence, but lower courts dismissed the case on grounds that the TVA has immunity from being sued.
A unanimous Supreme Court reversed. The injured man now returns to lower court to see if a different analysis will allow his case to proceed.
EICHER: Another case (Emulex Corp v Varjabedian) argued in March was a DIG. That’s a legal acronym meaning dismissed as improvidently granted. This one was about who can or cannot sue when shareholders are unhappy about the sale price of stocks during a merger. A DIG happens occasionally when the court realizes—after oral argument— that the dispute just isn’t the right case for it to decide.
REICHARD: Finally (Lamps Plus, Inc v Varela), victory to a company that sought to enforce its arbitration agreement with its employees. In 2016, a hacker got personal data of employees of Lamps Plus, Inc. One compromised employee filed a class action on behalf of his fellow employees against the company for failure to protect that data.
But a 5-4 court ruled that class arbitration shouldn’t be permitted unless the two parties agree to it. Conservative justices in the majority.