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

October 2009 Archives

US v. Tate, No. 09-10288

Defendant's bank robbery conviction and sentence are affirmed where 1) the district court properly concluded that there was sufficient information to establish probable cause for the issuance of a search warrant; 2) there was no evidence that the district court made an erroneous ruling regarding the prosecution's peremptory challenges that required immediate correction; and 3) there was substantial evidence from which a reasonable fact finder could find guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Read US v. Tate, No. 09-10288

Appellate Information

Filed October 30, 2009

Judges

Opinion by Judge Alarcon

US v. Sanchez, No. 06-15143

Defendants' marijuana possession convictions are affirmed where: 1) the district court did not abuse its discretion in admitting defendants' cellular call records into evidence; 2) the district court properly instructed the jury that the prosecution's summaries of the call records were not evidence. However, certain defendants' sentences are reversed where the district court plainly erred in treating some drug offenses as "serious drug offenses" under 18 U.S.C. section 3559(c) and then imposing the mandatory life sentences.

Read US v. Sanchez, No. 06-15143

Appellate Information

Filed October 30, 2009

Judges

Opinion by Judge Tjoflat

World Harvest Church, Inc. v. GuideOne Mut. Ins. Co., No. 08-17258

In an action against an insurer claiming that the insurer was estopped from contesting that a judgment against plaintiff was covered by the policy, the court of appeals certified the following questions to the Georgia Supreme Court:  1) does an insurer effectively reserve its right to deny coverage if it informs the insured that it does "not see coverage," after the insured had received a written reservation of rights from the insurer's sister company in a similar lawsuit in another jurisdiction, or is a written or more unequivocal reservation of rights required?; 2) when an insurer assumes and conducts an initial defense without notifying the insured that it is doing so with a reservation of rights, is the insurer estopped from asserting the defense of noncoverage only if the insured can show prejudice, or is prejudice conclusively presumed?; and 3) if the insured must show prejudice, do the facts and circumstances of this case show it?

Read World Harvest Church, Inc. v. GuideOne Mut. Ins. Co., No. 08-17258

Appellate Information

Filed October 30, 2009

Judges

Opinion by Judge Carnes

Beta Upsilon Chi Upsilon Chapter v. Machen, No. 08-13332

In a 42 U.S.C. section 1983 action claiming that a university denied plaintiff fraternity official recognition because of its refusal to adhere to the university's nondiscrimination policy in violation of the First Amendment, plaintiff's appeal from the denial of a preliminary injunction is dismissed as moot where the university amended its nondiscrimination policy to allow plaintiff to register as a student organization.

Read Beta Upsilon Chi Upsilon Chapter v. Machen, No. 08-13332

Appellate Information

Filed October 27, 2009

Judges

Opinion by Judge Tjoflat

Oliver v. Fiorino, No. 08-15081

In a 42 U.S.C. section 1983 action alleging excessive force by police, denial of summary judgment on qualified immunity grounds to defendants is affirmed where the alleged repeated tasering of plaintiff's decedent into and beyond his complete physical capitulation was grossly disproportionate to any threat posed and was unreasonable under the circumstances.

Read Oliver v. Fiorino, No. 08-15081

Appellate Information

Filed October 26, 2009

Judges

Opinion by Judge Marcus

US v. Lee, No. 08-14724

Defendant's firearm possession conviction is affirmed where defendant lacked standing to contest a search that led to the discovery of the gun at issue because the search was of a co-defendant's car.  However, his sentence is reversed where a non-violent "walkaway" escape is not a violent felony for purposes of the Armed Career Criminal Act.

Read US v. Lee, No. 08-14724

Appellate Information

Filed October 26, 2009

Judges

Opinion by Judge Birch

US v. Velez, No. 09-10199

In the government's appeal from a district court's dismissal of a money laundering charge against defendants, the order is affirmed where monetary transactions made for the purpose of securing legal representation are exempt from criminal penalties under 18 U.S.C. section 1957(f)(1).

Read US v. Velez, No. 09-10199

Appellate Information

Filed October 26, 2009

Judges

Opinion by Judge Barkett

US v. Quintana, No. 08-12967

In an illegal reentry prosecution, the denial of defendant's motion to dismiss the indictment is affirmed where the district court did not clearly err in its finding that defendant's apparent race or ethnicity was not the sole factor relied upon by a detective in directing an officer to initiate a consensual encounter.

Read US v. Quintana, No. 08-12967

Appellate Information

Filed October 22, 2009

Judges

Opinion by Judge Alarcon

Mega Life & Health Ins. Co. v. Pieniozek, No. 08-14414

In an action seeking rescission of defendant's life insurance policy, judgment for defendant is affirmed where: 1) the district court properly determined that no timely jury demand was filed and served by either party with respect to the only issue before it on remand; and 2) the district court did not err in concluding the term "annual income" in the policy was ambiguous.

Read Mega Life & Health Ins. Co. v. Pieniozek, No. 08-14414

Appellate Information

Filed October 19, 2009

Judges

Opinion by Judge Dowd

US v. Chavez, No. 08-12638

Defendant's drug conspiracy conviction is affirmed where: 1) defendant's argument that he might have had a better chance of acquittal if he could have gone it alone without the baggage of codefendants who were, essentially, in the eyes of the jury, offering no defense at all, was not sufficient to demonstrate prejudice due to a denial of his motion to sever his trial; and 2) any harm caused by a witness's reference to defendant's refusal to testify was defused by an instruction from the court that was not only curative, but entirely favorable to the accused.

Read US v. Chavez, No. 08-12638

Appellate Information

Filed October 16, 2009

Judges

Opinion by Judge Hodges

Edwards v. Niagara Cred. Solutions, Inc., No. 08-17006

In a Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) action alleging that defendant debt collector's voicemail to plaintiff violated the FDCPA's provision requiring meaningful disclosure of the caller's identity, summary judgment for plaintiff is affirmed where defendant deliberately decided not to disclose in the messages it left that the caller was a debt collector.

Read Edwards v. Niagara Cred. Solutions, Inc., No. 08-17006

Appellate Information

Filed October 14, 2009

Judges

Opinion by Judge Carnes

US v. Myers, No. 09-10228

In the government's appeal from a district court's order dismissing an indictment that charged defendant with traveling in interstate commerce and failing to register as a sex offender as required by the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA), the order is reversed where the court of appeals recently upheld against a Commerce Clause challenge both the failure-to-register offense in 18 U.S.C. section 2250(a) and the registration requirements in 42 U.S.C. section 16913.

Read US v. Myers, No. 09-10228

Appellate Information

Filed October 13, 2009

Judges

Per Curiam

Pierre-Louis v. NewVac Corp., No. 07-15828

In a wrongful death action brought by survivors of passengers killed in a plane crash, dismissal of the action on forum non conveniens grounds in favor of litigation in Martinique is affirmed where: 1) the Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules for International Carriage by Air did not bar dismissal on forum non conveniens grounds because there was no ambiguity or limitation in the express language of Article 33(4) of the Convention, which stated in no uncertain terms that questions of procedure --- which could only reasonably be read to include all questions of procedure -- are governed by the rules of the forum state; and 2) with respect to the availability of evidence and witnesses, the analysis strongly favored Martinique, the residence of all the plaintiffs.

Read Pierre-Louis v. NewVac Corp., No. 07-15828

Appellate Information

Filed October 8, 2009

Judges

Opinion by Judge Barkett

Shkambi v. U.S. Atty. Gen., No. 09-10493

In a petition for review of the BIA's order denying petitioner asylum and withholding of removal, the petition is denied where: 1) the BIA's reasoned discussion of petitioner's credibility was sufficient to allow for meaningful appellate review; and 2) the Immigration Judge and the BIA gave specific, cogent reasons for finding petitioner not credible, and those reasons were supported by the record.

Read Shkambi v. U.S. Atty. Gen., No. 09-10493

Appellate Information

Filed October 7, 2009

Judges

Per Curiam

Harper v. Lawrence County, No. 09-10226

In a 42 U.S.C. section 1983 action alleging deliberate indifference to plaintiff's decedent's medical needs while he was in jail, denial of defendants' motion to dismiss based on qualified immunity is affirmed in part where: 1) plaintiff adequately alleged that defendants were aware of the decedent's condition because of his symptoms and behavior at the jail; and 2) case law at the relevant time should have put supervisor defendants on notice that policies or customs of delayed investigation into and treatment of alcohol withdrawal would be unlawful.  However, the district court's order is reversed in part where plaintiff's allegations did not support the jail supervisor defendants' personal participation in the denial of the decedent's Fourteenth Amendment rights.

Read Harper v. Lawrence County, No. 09-10226

Appellate Information

Filed October 7, 2009

Judges

Opinion by Judge Fay

US v. Robinson, No. 09-10846

Defendant's firearm possession sentence is vacated where, although defendant's Alabama marijuana possession offense qualified as a serious drug offense under the Armed Career Criminal Act, the district court's written judgment varied from its oral pronouncement of sentence.

Read US v. Robinson, No. 09-10846

Appellate Information

Filed September 30, 2009

Judges

Per Curiam

Campbell v. Johnson, No. 08-11667

In a 42 U.S.C. section 1983 action based on defendant's alleged refusal to release plaintiff on bail after the court approved a property bond, summary judgment for defendant-sheriff is reversed where: 1) there were genuine issues of material fact regarding whether defendant personally participated in the alleged due process violation; and 2) the district court failed to determine whether minimizing the enforcement costs of a property bond constituted a compelling interest for purposes of the Eighth Amendment Excessive Bail Clause.

Read Campbell v. Johnson, No. 08-11667

Appellate Information

Filed September 30, 2009

Judges

Per Curiam

US v. Cohn, No. 07-13479

Defendant's criminal contempt sentence is vacated where no single sentencing guideline applied to 18 U.S.C. section 401 because criminal contempt was an offense sui generis that could not be classified pursuant to 18 U.S.C. section 3559, and thus the district court erred in classifying criminal contempt as a Class A felony.

Read US v. Cohn, No. 07-13479

Appellate Information

Filed September 30, 2009

Judges

Per Curiam

Stein v. Paradigm Mirasol, LLC, No. 08-10983

In an action for breach of an agreement to pay a construction company for building a condominium, summary judgment for plaintiffs is reversed where the contract was exempt from the requirements of the Interstate Land Sales Full Disclosure Act because Florida law provided plaintiffs with the remedy of injunctive relief to force defendant to finish construction of the condominium within two years, and thus the contract was one "obligating" defendant to do so.

Read Stein v. Paradigm Mirasol, LLC, No. 08-10983

Appellate Information

Filed September 30, 2009

Judges

Opinion by Judge Carnes