Four very closely watched cases in separate areas of the law will be argued within a 50-day period that ends April 17th. Each case could yield a very significant ruling impacting internet law.
February 27: United States v. Microsoft
The U.S. Supreme Court recently heard argument in a dispute over a federal criminal subpoena for email records extended to data stored outside the United States (in this case Ireland). The lower courts had ruled in favor of Microsoft blocking the production of the emails.
March 15: hiQ Labs v LinkedIn
August 2017, hiQ Labs, Inc. won an injunction barring LinkedIn from blocking access to its service since it scraped data from publicly available information. The 9th Circuit heard LinkedIn’s appeal last week.
April 3: Hassell v Bird
April 17: South Dakota v. Wayfair
As outlined in a recent post, for the past decade, states have been battling with online retailers in state legislatures, the courts and in Congress over when a state may require an online retailer to collect sales tax. At the center of the debate was the Supreme Court’s decision in Quill Corp. v. North Dakota, 504 U. S. 298, 311 (1992) which affirmed a bright line rule that retailers need not collect sales tax in states in which they do not have a physical presence.
In a 2015 concurring opinion, however, Justice Kennedy suggested it was time to reconsider this ruling. South Dakota apparently took the bait and passed legislation requiring tax collection if there was at least $100,000 in sales or 200 separate transactions in the state. Lower courts invalidated the law as being preempted by Quill. This argument will be a test of the viability of Quill in the online age.