Howell v Howell

Husband sought review of the Arizona Supreme Court decision affirming an order increasing the amount of his military retirement to reimburse wife for the amount of disability pay he received. The Court, with Thomas concurring in part and in judgment and Gorsuch not participating, resolved a split of state appellate authority and reversed. The majority held that under Court precedent, military retirement pay is exempt from division unless Congress expressly authorizes division, Congress has not authorized division of disability pay in lieu of refinement and thus the Arizona decision must be reversed as it allows division where Congress has banned such division. Thomas concurred in part and in judgment arguing that the majority’s reliance on purposes and objectives preemption is wrong as that is not a legitimate basis to find preemption.

TC Heartland LLC v Kraft Food Group Brands LLC

TC sought review of the federal Circuit decision affirming denial of its motion to transfer venue in this patent infringement case. The Court, with Gorsuch not participating, reversed. It held that under Court precedent, venue in patent cases is controlled by 28 USC 1400 which limits venue to place of incorporation when the defendant is a corporation as here and amendments to the general venue statute 28 USC 1391 have not altered that conclusion as the changes were not material and in any event contain an exception for times when another source of law, like 1400, supplies the rule for venue.

County of Los Angeles, California v Mendez

County sought review of the 9th Circuit decision imposing liability for a reasonable use of force based on its provocation rule. The Court, with Gorsuch not participating, reversed. It held that the objective reasonableness framework for analyzing excessive force claims set out in Court precedent is the exclusive legal framework and the 9th Circuit’s rule that allows liability if an earlier 4th Amendment violation sets up the use of force is contrary to this precedent and thus is wrong as it lacks proximate cause limits and uses subjective intent as an element. The case was remanded to allow analysis of whether the unlawful warrantless entry here proximately caused the injuries here or not.