Case Status: Victory. After CIR's victory in U.S. v. Morrision, complaint dismissed on July 18, 2000.

Burgess v. Cahall

  • Federal District Courts

CIR Fights Ever-Expanding Congressional Power

CIR represented Thomas Cahall in a case brought by a former employee alleging numerous sexual assaults, unlawful imprisonment, and exposure to the risk of serious physical injury.  Cahall plead guilty to various charges in Delaware state court.  In addition to the state claims, the plaintiff also sued Cahall in federal court under the Violence Against Women Act (“VAWA”).

CIR entered an appearance on behalf of Mr. Cahall in July, 1999 in order to challenge the constitutionality of the provision of VAWA under which he was being sued, which was then also being challenged by CIR in another case, U.S. v. Morrison. While Morrison was pending before the Supreme Court (in fact, after the Court held oral argument), the federal district court hearing the case against Cahall denied his motion to dismiss and upheld the constitutionality of the VAWA tort provision (February 29, 2000).

Five months later, after the Supreme Court struck down the VAWA provision on the grounds that it exceeded Congress’s authority under the Commerce Clause, the plaintiff agreed to dismiss the VAWA case against Cahall (July 18, 2000).