Our first runners-up this week are Kirkland & Ellis partners Paul Clement and Erin Murphy who were on the winning side of three Supreme Court decisions in the last week of the court’s calendar, bringing the firm’s record during this term to a perfect 5-0. Working alongside partner Matt Rowen, the pair scored a major win for Alaska Native Corporations, or ANCs, in Yellen v. Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation when the court found that the ANCs qualify as Indian tribes under the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act. The ruling means the ANCs could be eligible for more than $500 million in pandemic-relief funding. On the same day, that same Kirkland trio scored a big defense-side win in TransUnion LLC v. Ramirez, where the court limited consumers’ ability to seek class action damages under the Fair Credit Reporting Act when alleging harm from privacy and data security breaches. (Julia B. Strickland, Stephen J. Newman and Christine E. Ellice of Stroock & Stroock & Lavan were co-counsel on the Transunion case.) Clement and Murphy also scored a 5-4 win in PennEast Pipeline Company v. New Jersey, allowing their client to use the federal government’s eminent domain power to seize property controlled by New Jersey to build an interstate natural gas pipeline.
A pair of Sidley Austin lawyers also land runners-up honors this week for their wins at SCOTUS. Peter Keisler convinced a six-judge majority of the court that small refiners like his client HollyFrontier Corp. are eligible to receive a hardship exemption from the requirements of the Clean Air Act’s Renewable Fuel Standard even after they’ve allowed the coverage of a prior exemption to lapse. And partner Rob Hochman got an important 5-4 win for Minerva Surgical, Inc. significantly narrowing the court’s decades old “assignor estoppel” doctrine, which bars inventors who have sold their inventions or moved on from their former employer from turning around and attacking the patent’s validity in court.