Articles Posted in U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit

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The National Firearms Act requires ATF permission for manufacture of a firearm, 26 U.S.C. 5822. Separately, the Gun Control Act, prohibits private manufacture of machineguns, with exceptions for government entities and machineguns lawfully possessed before 1986, 18 U.S.C. 922(o). Watson, as sole trustee of the Watson Family Gun Trust, applied to permit an M-16-style machinegun. An ATF examiner mistakenly approved the application. Watson had a machinegun manufactured. Weeks later, ATF informed Watson that the approval was mistaken. Watson argued that the trust was not a “person” under the Act. ATF explained that although a trust is not a “person” under the Act, a trust cannot legally make or hold property, so it considers the individual acting on behalf of the trust. Watson surrendered his gun under protest, then filed suit, claiming that the provisions are a de facto ban on an entire class of arms in violation of the Commerce Clause and the Second, Ninth, and Tenth Amendments; due process violations; equal protection violations; and detrimental reliance. The government initiated a forfeiture action. The district court held that Watson had standing, but failed to state a claim. The Third Circuit affirmed. The Second Amendment does not protect the possession of machineguns; a trust is not exempt from Section 922(o) because a trust is not an entity distinct from its trustees and cannot own property. View "United States v. One Palmetto State Armory PA 15 Machinegun" on Justia Law

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Singer-songwriters John Whitehead and Gene McFadden were “an integral part of the 1970s Philadelphia music scene. In 2002, Pullman approached them about purchasing their song catalogue. The parties signed a contract but never finalized the sale. Pullman claims he discovered tax liens while conducting due diligence and that the matter was never resolved. Whitehead and McFadden passed away in 2004 and 2006, respectively. Pullman became embroiled in disputes with their estates over ownership of the song catalogue. The parties eventually agreed to arbitration. Pullman, unhappy with the ruling, unsuccessfully moved to vacate the arbitration award on the ground that the panel had committed legal errors that made it impossible for him to present a winning case by applying the Dead Man’s Statute, which disqualifies parties interested in litigation from testifying about personal transactions or communications with deceased or mentally ill persons.” The Third Circuit affirmed, stating that the arbitrators did not misapply the law, but that legal error alone is not a sufficient basis to vacate the results of an arbitration in any case. View "Whitehead v. Pullman Group LLC" on Justia Law