The Supreme Court of the United States announced the following decision today: 

Petrella v. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc., No. 12-1315: The Copyright Act provides that “[n]o civil action shall be maintained under the [Act] unless it is commenced within three years after the claim accrued.” 17 U.S.C. §507(b). This case, involving the film Raging Bull, raises the question of whether the equitable defense of laches may bar relief on copyright claims brought within this three-year limitations period. Petitioner Paula Petrella is the heir of Frank Petrella, who had copyrighted the screenplay to Raging Bull in 1963 – a copyright she renewed in 1991. In 1998, Petrella notified Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) that its use of Raging Bull violated her copyright and threatened suit. She finally brought suit on January 6, 2009, limiting her claim to acts of infringement occurring on or after January 6, 2006. The District Court granted MGM’s motion for summary judgment, applying the laches doctrine, and the Ninth Circuit affirmed. Today, the Court reversed and remanded, holding that laches cannot be invoked to preclude adjudication of a claim for damages brought within the statute’s three-year window, but may bar equitable relief in extraordinary circumstances, and can always be brought to bear at the remedial stage. 

The Court's decision is available here.

Today, the Court granted certiorari in the following case: 

Department of Homeland Security v. MacLean, No. 13-894: Whether certain statutory protections codified at 5 U.S.C. § 2302(b)(8)(A), which are inapplicable when an employee makes a disclosure “specifically prohibited by law,” can bar an agency from taking an enforcement action against an employee who intentionally discloses what Transportation Security Administration regulations deem Sensitive Security Information. 

Today, the Court called for the views of the Solicitor General in the following case: 

OBB-Personenverkehr AG v. Sachs, No. 13-1010: (1) Whether, for purposes of determining when an entity is an “agent” of a “foreign state” under the first clause of the commercial activity exception of the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA), 28 U.S.C. §1605(a)(2), the express definition of “agency” in the FSIA, the factors set forth in First National City Bank v. Banco para el Comercio Exterior de Cuba (Bancec), 462 U.S. 611 (1983), or common law principles of agency, control. (2) Whether, under the first clause of the commercial activity exception of the FSIA, 28 U.S.C. §1605(a)(2), a tort claim for personal injuries suffered in connection with travel outside of the United States is “based upon” the allegedly tortious conduct occurring outside of the United States or the preceding sale of the ticket in the United States for the travel entirely outside the United States. Disclosure: Dorsey & Whitney represents the Petitioner in this matter.