By: Brad McCullough

One of the more ubiquitous idiomatic phrases used in recent years has been, “It is what it is.” In three consolidated cases decided last month by the Court of Appeals of Maryland, the Court turned that phrase around and focused on the question, “Is it what it is?” – or, more precisely, “Is it what it says it is?” On April 23, 2015, Judge Battaglia issued the Majority’s opinion in Sublet v. State, Sept. Term 2014, No. 42; Harris v. State, Sept. Term 2014, No. 59; and Monge-Martinez v. State, Sept. Term 2014, No. 60.1 The cases concerned the authentication of information derived from social media, required the Court to expand on its four-year-old decision in Griffin v. State, 419 Md. 343 (2011), and inquired whether three trial judges had suitably answered whether the proffered social media “was what it says it was.”

Read more: Sublet v. State: It is what it is or is it?

By: Rebecca Lacher

Under the newly revised Clery Act, colleges and universities may not ban lawyers from attending and advising their clients at campus disciplinary proceedings involving sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking. This is a significant change for many institutions that had previously limited advisors to members of the campus community or expressly barred attorneys. Compounding the change are new state laws, reviewed here, requiring public institutions to allow attorneys to “fully participate” in aspects of campus disciplinary proceedings.

Please click here to read the full Alert.

Read more: Attorneys in the Student Disciplinary Process: Requirements, Restrictions and Best Practices

By: Carl A. Solano and Bruce P. Merenstein

On May 7, 2015, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit affirmed a district court’s grant of partial summary judgment in a dispute about an indemnification agreement. That decision, Lehman Bros. Holdings, Inc. v. Gateway Funding Diversified Mortg. Servs., L.P., 2015 U.S. App. Lexis 7536, would not normally command a great deal of attention — but for the way in which the court reached its result. The court held that Gateway, the party that unsuccessfully opposed partial summary judgment, waived its right to maintain its appeal because it failed to order a transcript of the underlying proceeding in the trial court. That decision, and some strong words by the court in its opinion, have raised concern within the Third Circuit Bar that the court may be becoming more rigid in its application of procedural rules.

Please click here to read the full Alert.

Read more: Are Federal Appellate Courts Growing Impatient with Procedural Errors? — Risks for Clients and...

Boodle Hatfield LLP acted for Mr Thwaytes in his claim against fine art auctioneers Sotheby's. Judgment was handed down on 16 January 2015. You can read it in full here.

The facts

Mr Thwaytes inherited The Cardsharps ("the Painting") from his second cousin, who had previously purchased The Musicians by Caravaggio. The Painting is of the same composition as a painting in The Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth ("the Kimbell Card Sharps"), which is believed to be an original work by Caravaggio. The Kimbell Card Sharps was discovered by Mina Gregori in 1987 and subsequently attributed to Caravaggio by Sir Denis Mahon.

Read more: Thwaytes v Sotheby's [2015] EWHC 36 (Ch)

By: Keith Whitson and Ira Richards

Since the Supreme Court's decision in Comcast v. Behrend, 113 S. Ct. 1426 (2013) courts evaluating expert testimony at the class certification stage may not simply accept that testimony at face value. The Supreme Court did not, however, articulate what standard should be applied in evaluating such testimony. Most courts now recognize that the standards of Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 509 U.S. 579 (1993), must be addressed in some form before the class can be certified, but courts differ on whether a "full" Daubert analysis is required, or whether some lesser analysis is permissible. In In re: Blood Reagents Antitrust Litigation, No. 12-4067 (3d Cir. April 8, 2015), the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit required what appears to be a full, rigorous analysis where opinion testimony relates to a requirement for certification.

Read more: Third Circuit Weighs in on Application of Daubert at Class Certification Stage