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Taxation -- State sales and use taxes -- Discrimination -- Railroads -- Action by railroad challenging tax scheme in which Alabama imposes sales and use taxes on railroads when they purchase or consume diesel fuel, but exempts from those taxes trucking transport companies and companies that transport goods interstate through navigable waters -- When a railroad alleges that a tax disadvantages it compared to its competitors in the transportation industry, the railroad's competitors in that jurisdiction are the appropriate comparison class -- Comparison class will support discrimination claim only if it consists of individuals similarly situated to claimant -- Court of appeals properly concluded that, in light of railroad's complaint and parties' stipulation, comparison class of competitors consisting of motor carriers and water carriers was appropriate, and that differential treatment vis-a-vis that class would constitute discrimination -- Court of appeals erred in refusing to consider whether state could justify its decision to exempt motor carriers from its sales and use taxes through its decision to subject motor carriers to a fuel-excise tax -- On remand, court of appeals is to consider whether fuel-excise tax is rough equivalent of state's sales tax as applied to diesel fuel and therefore justifies motor carrier sales-tax exemption
Religion -- Civil suit brought by U.S. against state under Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act -- State's appeal from preliminary injunction requiring state to provide certified kosher diet to all prisoners with sincere religious basis for keeping kosher and prohibiting state from enforcing eligibility provisions of its Religious Diet Program -- Interlocutory appeal challenging preliminary injunction became moot where preliminary injunction expired automatically by operation of statute -- Preliminary injunction expired by operation of law where district court did not make particularized findings that each of the need-narrowness-intrusiveness criteria was satisfied or finalize its preliminary injunction order within 90 days -- State failed to demonstrate applicability of any exception to mootness doctrine -- Issue was not one that was capable of repetition, yet evading review, as there is no reasonable expectation that any new preliminary injunction would expire before it reached court of appeals -- District court's orders entering and clarifying the preliminary injunction are vacated
Insurance -- Homeowners -- Sinkhole claims -- Coverage -- Structural damage caused by sinkhole activity -- District court erred in finding that “structural damage,” which was not defined by policy, meant any “damage to the structure” and in awarding damages to insureds -- “Structural damage to the building” construed as meaning “damage that impairs the structural integrity of the building” -- Court declines to incorporate relatively narrow definitions of “structural” as set forth in Florida Building Code into insurance policy at issue
Bankruptcy -- Involuntary Chapter 7 petition -- Attorney's fees -- Appeal from district court's decision affirming bankruptcy court's order awarding debtor attorney's fees and costs pursuant to 11 U.S.C. section 303(i)(1), which grants courts discretion to award costs and attorney's fees to discourage creditors from improperly filing involuntary petitions under section 303 -- Statute does not limit fee awards to only those incurred before date of dismissal in bankruptcy court -- District court did not err in affirming award of fees incurred in obtaining dismissal of involuntary petition, appellate fees incurred in defending that dismissal on appeal, and “fees on fees,” which are fees incurred in adversary proceeding filed by debtor to recover the first two categories of fees -- District court erred in affirming bankruptcy court's award of fees and costs incurred in prosecuting debtor's bad-faith claims for damages, as award was prematurely entered -- Remand with instructions to remand to bankruptcy court
Criminal law -- Habeas corpus -- Murder -- Death penalty -- Evidence -- Although defendant twice invoked right to counsel under Miranda while in custody, state supreme court correctly concluded that appointment of counsel was not required except for interrogation -- Interrogation under Miranda refers to words or actions on the part of the police that police should know are reasonably likely to elicit incriminating response -- State supreme court did not unreasonably apply clearly established Supreme Court precedent in determining that request for consent to collect DNA samples from defendant in custody who has invoked right to counsel was not an interrogation, did not procure any testimonial communication, and did not run afoul of Miranda and its progeny -- Statements of defendant -- State supreme court's affirmance of trial court's denial of motion to suppress confession was supported by record, which established that officers did not subject defendant to interrogation after he had invoked right to counsel, defendant voluntarily initiated interviews, and defendant knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily waived right to counsel -- Counsel -- Ineffectiveness -- Sentencing phase of trial -- State supreme court's finding that defendant had not proven that trial counsel's investigation and presentation of mitigating evidence during penalty phase of trial were deficient was not contrary to, or an unreasonable application of, Strickland or its progeny; and, in any event, defendant failed to establish prejudice requirement of his ineffective assistance of counsel claim -- State court reasonably concluded that post-conviction evidence was largely cumulative to evidence presented during penalty phase, that non-cumulative evidence was not persuasive, and that defendant did not show reasonable probability that proposed mitigation evidence would be strong enough to outweigh the strength of the aggravating factors in this case
Insurance -- Life -- Insurable interest -- Stranger-originated life insurance policies -- Questions certified to Florida Supreme Court: 1) Can a party challenge an insurance policy as being void ab initio for lack of the insurable interest required by Fla. Stat. § 627.404 if that challenge is made after expiration of the two-year contestability period mandated by Fla. Stat. § 627.455? 2)Assuming that a party can do so, does Fla. Stat. § 627.404 require that an individual with the required insurable interest also procure the insurance policy in good faith?
Taxation -- State sales and use tax -- Collection -- Notice and reporting requirements -- Tax Injunction Act, which provides that federal district courts “shall not enjoin, suspend or restrain the assessment, levy or collection of any tax under State law,” does not bar a suit to enjoin the enforcement of the notice and reporting requirements of a Colorado law requiring retailers that do not collect state sales or use tax to notify resident customers of their use-tax liability and to report tax-related information to customers and state department of revenue -- Terms “assessment,” “levy,” and “collection” do not encompass Colorado's enforcement of its notice and reporting requirements -- Suit to enjoin enforcement of the state law cannot be understood to “restrain” the “assessment, levy or collection” of Colorado's sales and use taxes merely because it may inhibit those activities