U.S. Eleventh Circuit

U.S. Eleventh Circuit - The FindLaw 11th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog


In Florida, it may be harder than ever to "catch a predator" in Florida. (See what I did there?) Last week, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that surreptitiously recorded statements of child sexual abuse couldn't be admitted at trial.

Richard McDade, the petitioner in this case, was secretly recorded by his stepdaughter, whom he was sexually abusing. The statements amounted to McDade's admission that he was sexually abusing her. The trial court let the audio recordings in.

It's been in vogue for a while to drug test recipients of state and federal welfare, on the theory either that welfare recipients take a lot of drugs or that since "we" are paying "them," then we get to conduct intrusive searches into their lives.

The Eleventh Circuit Court last week affirmed that the state of Florida cannot conduct suspicionless drug testing on welfare recipients.

Add another state to the list of those that allow same-sex marriages -- unless the U.S. Supreme Court steps in first, that is.

On Wednesday, the Eleventh Circuit denied Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi's request to continue blocking same-sex marriages in the state of Florida, which means same-sex couples can start sending out save-the-dates for any time after January 5, 2015. However, there are a couple of (admittedly unlikely) ways in which the High Court could step in and prevent that from happening.

The new hotness in suing over the Affordable Care Act took a hit at the Eleventh Circuit today, with the court denying relief to Kawa Orthodontics in a dispute over the delay of the ACA's employer mandate.

Kawa Orthodontics, owned by Larry Kawa (a noted figure in the Republican Party), apparently spent a bunch of money on figuring out how to comply with the mandate. Then, wouldn't you know it, the Treasury Department delayed enforcement of the employer mandate for another year, then another year. The bizarre thing is that, when Kawa filed its lawsuit, it didn't ask for that money back; rather, it just sought a declaratory judgment and injunction finding Treasury's delayed enforcement unlawful.

As we give thanks this year, we wondered, what is there to be thankful for in the Eleventh Circuit? It runs the gamut from the rural Alabama, north to the cosmopolitan Florida coast, with a heavy dose of swamp in between, so there are a lot of things to be thankful for.

Here are some of our favorites.

Back in August, a federal district judge in Florida held that the state's same-sex marriage ban was unconstitutional. That was, of course, a lifetime ago in light of what's happened since: The Supreme Court punted, the Sixth Circuit upheld, and same-sex marriage is the law in 33 states (for now).

Well, the State of Florida isn't taking this lying down. Attorney General Pamela Bondi is appealing the district court's order. Does Florida's brief to the Eleventh Circuit have anything new that hasn't been dismissed by four other circuit courts already?

It's well established that there's no respondeat superior liability levied on ship owners for the negligent medical care of the ship's crew, no matter how negligent they are. But what about an agency theory? That was an issue of first impression for the Eleventh Circuit in Franza v. Royal Caribbean Cruises.

The short, short version: Pasquale Vaglio fell, hitting his head while Royal Caribbean's "Explorer of the Seas" was docked in Bermuda. The ship's nurse failed to correctly diagnose his head trauma, had him wait for four hours, then "released him with no treatment to speak of." Vaglio died a week later.

We were just talking about junk faxes, largely because our office keeps getting them. (And no, fool, I don't want to hire someone who uses a fax machine to design a mobile app for my company.) They're annoying as heck, and they're also prohibited by the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).

The case of Palm Beach Golf Center-Boca Inc. v. John G. Sarris, DDS, involves a junk fax, sent by a dentist, that a golf club probably received -- the fax logs say that it was successfully transmitted and that the two fax machines connected for over a minute -- but nobody seems to have seen. Nonetheless, the Eleventh Circuit has revived the putative class-action lawsuit and will allow it to proceed on two grounds: the TCPA and common law conversion.

In June, Cameron Bates, a former Florida sheriff's deputy, was convicted of possessing child pornography. But Bates also had sexual relationships with adult men, and he figured this information would be used at trial (which it was). Bates tried to head the problem off during voir dire by seeking to exclude potential jurors who were prejudiced against men who had sex with men.

The trial court denied the request. As expected, evidence of Bates' sexual relationships with adult men "was repeatedly paraded before the jury, over several objections from Mr. Bates." He was convicted of all counts.

If you attended college at least after the late 1990s, you probably remember that one or more of your professors made excerpts from books available in "electronic reserve" by scanning the relevant pages and turning them into PDFs that only students enrolled in the course could access.

At the time, you might not have wondered whether the practice was lawful. Well, even if you didn't wonder that, the Eleventh Circuit has your answer in a 129-page opinion: "Maybe."