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


11th Circuit: Service Marks Extend to Goods

It's not every day that a judge admits fuzzy reasoning, much less in writing.

But the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeal is not hiding from the truth. In reversing a trademark decision, the court said it often "blurs the lines" when analyzing certain claims.

In Savannah College of Art and Design v. Sportswear, it is actually a little worse than that. The judges practically said the precedent makes no sense.

Trump's 11th Cir. Pick Disappoints LGBT Community in 1st Opinion

Justice Kevin Newsom, recently confirmed to the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, didn't take long to find controversy.

With his first written opinion, Morrissey v. United States, Newsom said that a homosexual man could not deduct medical expenses for a child he fathered through invitro fertilization. Opponents jumped on the decision as soon as it hit the press.

LGBT advocates said Newsom got it wrong. But it wasn't the first time the justice has taken heat for his opinions.

Statute of Limitations Ends Smoking Case

When William Hecht was a teenager, the Surgeon General warned that smoking caused chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

His mom, who suffered from COPD, warned him as well. After years of smoking, he developed the same condition.

He sued a tobacco company for allegedly concealing that smoking could cause his disease. A jury said it was too late, and a federal appeals court agreed.

The former high school basketball coach out of Greensboro, North Carolina that led North Guilford High boys' team to win the state championship, Stan Kowalewski, has had his 24 count federal felony conviction upheld by the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Thankfully, none of these counts have anything to do with abusing his team, but rather, just the financial trust of the community.

Kowalewski ran a hedge fund company, SJK Investment Management. However, it turns out that SJK's management mismanaged funds, causing losses to clients totaling $8 million. Included in those losses is the $4 million beach home Kowalewski bought in the other Carolina, on Pawley's Island.

Trump Names Two More Judges for the 11th Circuit

The political pendulum is quickly swinging to the right in the U.S. Eleventh Circuit, as President Trump named two more judges to the federal bench.

Judge Elizabeth Branch of the Georgia court of appeals has been nominated to fill a vacancy on the federal appeals court. Stan Baker, a federal magistrate, has been tapped for a district court judgeship in South Georgia.

The latest nominations, particularly to the appeals court, mark a clear changing of the guard during the Trump Administration.

Breastfeeding Decision Upheld for Constructive Discharge

Working on the narcotics task force, Stephanie Hicks wore a bulletproof vest to protect her from criminals.

That all changed after she returned from maternity leave, however. She asked for an accommodation at work because she was breastfeeding, but then the attacks came from her department.

She won a pregnancy discrimination case, and the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed. In Hicks v. City of Tuscaloosa, the appeals court said employers can be liable for constructive discharge when a breastfeeding mother quits.

There once was a plaintiff from Sandy Springs,
Whose case was about some interesting things,
But as they got their sex toys,
Sad still were the boys,
That they couldn't drink at the strip club.

In a pair of, aptly called, provocative appeals, befitting of a blogger to write a limerick, Sandy Springs, Georgia, plaintiffs, Flannigan Enterprises, Fantastic Visuals, as well as some others in the local adult entertainment industry, are nursing their wounds.

One case centered around the Sandy Springs ban on the sale of sex toys, while the other case focused on the ban on the consumption of alcohol in businesses that have nude, or partially nude, live entertainment. While Flannigan and company lost both cases, and the subsequent appeals, the plaintiffs can rejoice in the fact that Sandy Springs at least repealed the sex toy ban on their own accord.

Consumers Can Partially Revoke Consent to Automated Calls

Wouldn't it be great if robocallers actually listened when you told them not to call?

That's what Emily Schweitzer was thinking when she filed suit against a credit card company for making robocalls to her at work. A trial judge dismissed her case -- because, after all, the robots weren't listening -- but a federal appeals court said she had a right to stop the work-hour calls under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.

"In law, as in life, consent need not be an all-or-nothing proposition," the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals said in Schweitzer v. Comenity Bank. "[W]e now hold that the Act permits a consumer to partially revoke her consent to be called by means of an automatic telephone dialing system."

In a recent ruling out of the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, a panel of three justices reversed the lower court's dismissal on summary judgment in the First Amendment retaliation case, Rodriguez v. City of Doral et al. The case involved the alleged constructive termination of a police officer due to his support of a rival political candidate.

The reversal is significant not just for the plaintiff, but for the entire circuit. In issuing its ruling, the panel of judges explained:

Trump Wins Another Judicial Appointment: Kevin Newsom for the 11th Cir.

President Trump may be losing some battles in the courts, but he is winning the war in remaking the federal judiciary.

The Senate handily approved the president's latest nominee, Kevin Newsom, for the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. It marks Trump's fifth successful nomination, easily outpacing his recent predecessors in judicial appointments.

Barack Obama had no appointments in his first six months, and George W. Bush had only three in about the same time. The White House said Trump's success is due to political cooperation and "high-caliber nominees."