Led by Scotia Hicks, Ehlert Hicks won a complete victory for app developer Six4Three, Inc. on cross-appeals in California’s First District Court of Appeal. The trial court had denied Facebook’s anti-SLAPP motion, but granted the anti-SLAPP motion brought by individual Facebook executives who are also named defendants in the case. Ehlert Hicks succeeded in convincing the Court of Appeal to affirm the denial of Facebook’s motion, but reverse the grant of the individual defendants’ motion. The case will now return to the trial court where Six4Three will be able to litigate its claims on the merits.
Allison Ehlert litigated a habeas appeal on behalf of a criminal defendant who was sentenced–likely incorrectly–as an armed career criminal. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit agreed that the defendant’s case must go back to the district court for a merits determination of his armed-career-criminal challenge.
After Ehlert Hicks filed an opening brief challenging a federal district court’s calculation of its client’s sentence under the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, the government conceded that the district court erred. The government agreed with the arguments asserted by Ehlert Hicks and filed a motion urging the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals to vacate the sentence and remand the case for resentencing.
Ehlert Hicks has asked the California Supreme Court to grant review in a case involving the elimination of pension benefits for a former CSU professor. The case raises an important question of law concerning California’s acceptance-of-the-judgment doctrine.
Scotia Hicks is teaching Berkeley Law’s Appellate Advocacy class to 2L and 3L students for a second year, this fall. The class requires students to prepare an opening or answering brief on the merits, using an actual case pending before the California Supreme Court, and to present oral argument before a panel of three judges. This year’s case is People v. Lopez, which concerns Fourth Amendment limits on warrantless vehicle searches for identification. The primary issue is whether the California Supreme Court’s 2002 decision in Arturo D. remains good law after the United States Supreme Court decision in Arizona v. Gant.
Ehlert Hicks authored an amicus brief on behalf of the U.S. Alcohol Policy Alliance and other public-health organizations and advocates in Tennessee Wine & Spirits Retailers Association v. Taylor, _ U.S. _; 139 S. Ct. 2449 (2019). The case concerned the constitutionality of a Tennessee regulation that made living in the State for a minimum of two years a prerequisite to qualifying for an alcohol-retail license. By a 7-2 vote, the Court held that the regulation ran afoul of the Commerce Clause and that it was not saved by the 21st Amendment — the amendment that ended Prohibition and left alcohol regulation to the States. Justice Gorsuch dissented and would have upheld the regulation as permissible under the 21st Amendment. Citing Ehlert Hicks’s amicus brief, Justice Gorsuch explained that the residency restriction could serve the legitimate purpose of increasing the price of alcohol (by reducing competition) and thereby moderating its use.