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

January 2010 Archives

US v. Caraballo, No. 09-10428

Defendant's alien smuggling conviction and sentence are affirmed where: 1) officers do not violate the Fourth Amendment simply by approaching an individual on the street or in some other public place and asking a question or asking for identification; 2) the government properly offered a redacted portion of a Form I-213 only to demonstrate that the aliens found on defendant's boat were deportable and inadmissible; and 3) the district court did not clearly err by applying the sentencing guideline enhancement for intentionally or recklessly creating a substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury to another person.

Read US v. Caraballo, No. 09-10428

Appellate Information

Filed January 27, 2010

Judges

Opinion by Judge Marcus

Aqua Log, Inc. v. Georgia, No. 08-16225

In two in rem admiralty actions seeking to salvage logs lying at the bottom of Georgia's rivers, the district court's denial of the state's motion to dismiss based on sovereign immunity is affirmed where that doctrine did not apply because the state did not have possession of the logs.

Read Aqua Log, Inc. v. Georgia, No. 08-16225

Appellate Information

Filed January 28, 2010

Judges

Opinion by Judge Black

Goodman-Gable-Gould Co. v. Tiara Condo. Ass'n, No. 07-15164

In an action by an insurance adjuster based on a condominium association's failure to pay its adjuster's fee, judgment for plaintiff is affirmed where: 1) defendant-counterclaimant did not disclose its fraud theory of recovery prior to trial and thus could not introduce evidence supporting it; and 2) no damages were proven on defendant's remaining counterclaim.

Read Goodman-Gable-Gould Co. v. Tiara Condo. Ass'n, No. 07-15164

Appellate Information

Filed January 27, 2010

Judges

Opinion by Judge Tjoflat

Thompson v. Sec'y, Dept. of Corrs., No. 08-10540

In a sexual battery prosecution, the dismissal of petitioner's habeas petition as untimely is reversed where the fact that petitioner did not succeed in obtaining habeas relief on his claims (because the claims belonged in a Florida Rule of Criminal Procedure 3.850 motion) did not mean he filed his habeas petitions in the wrong court, or that his petitions were not "properly filed" under 28 U.S.C. section 2244(d)(2).

Read Thompson v. Sec'y, Dept. of Corrs., No. 08-10540

Appellate Information

Filed January 27, 2010

Judges

Per Curiam

Lott v. Att'y. Gen., State of Fla., No. 09-14196

In a capital habeas matter, petitioner's application for a certificate of appealability is denied where: 1) jurists of reason would not debate the correctness of the district court's denial of petitioner's claim of ineffective assistance of counsel in investigating an alibi defense; and 2) reasonable jurists would not find debatable the district court's conclusion that petitioner could not show prejudice as to this claim.

Read Lott v. Att'y. Gen., State of Fla., No. 09-14196

Appellate Information

Filed January 25, 2010

Judges

Opinion by Judge Hull

US v. Bernal-Benitez, No. 08-10308

Defendants' drug conspiracy convictions and sentences are affirmed where: 1) the magistrate judge's factual finding that a venireperson was less educated than the others in the venire, and subject to a peremptory strike on that ground, was not clearly erroneous; 2) the prosecutor's closing argument did not bolster the government witnesses' testimony; 3) one defendant's refusal to sign a waiver of rights form was not enough to constitute an invocation of his Miranda rights; and 4) the district court properly compared two defendants' roles with the conduct attributed to them in denying them a minor role adjustment.

Read US v. Bernal-Benitez, No. 08-10308

Appellate Information

Filed January 25, 2010

Judges

Opinion by Judge Tjoflat

Reeves v. C.H. Robinson Worldwide, Inc., No. 07-10270

In a hostile work environment action based on the frequent use of gender derogatory language addressed specifically to women as a group in the workplace, summary judgment for defendant is reversed where the evidence was sufficient to afford the inference that the offending conduct was based on the sex of the employee.

Read Reeves v. C.H. Robinson Worldwide, Inc., No. 07-10270

Appellate Information

Filed January 20, 2010

Judges

Opinion by Judge Marcus

Thomas v. Blue Cross & Blue Shield Ass'n, No. 08-15881

In a physician's action against a health insurer for tortious interference with contract, plaintiff's appeal from a denial of his motion to proceed with the action despite a class action settlement agreement releasing certain claims against defendant is dismissed for lack of jurisdiction, where the order was nonfinal because: 1) the summary denial of plaintiff's motion did not expressly rule that plaintiff's claims were released; and 2) even if the order implicitly advised plaintiff that his claims were released and that he was enjoined from prosecuting them, the order did not dispose of the matter because it did not hold plaintiff in contempt or impose any sanction for violating the injunction.

Read Thomas v. Blue Cross & Blue Shield Ass'n, No. 08-15881

Appellate Information

Filed January 21, 2010

Judges

Opinion by Judge Pryor

Misener Marine Constr., Inc. v. Norfolk Dredging Co., No. 09-10083

In an action arising out of a dredging contract dispute, a district court's order denying attorney's fees to defendant-counterclaimant is affirmed where the American Rule barring the shifting of attorneys' fees was a characteristic feature of maritime law, which governed the interpretation of the contract between the parties.

Read Misener Marine Constr., Inc. v. Norfolk Dredging Co., No. 09-10083

Appellate Information

Filed January 21, 2010

Judges

Opinion by Judge Wilson

US v. Marquez, No. 08-12588

Defendant's RICO conspiracy conviction is affirmed where 1) defendant failed to raise objections to his extradition from Spain in a timely manner; and 2) the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying defendant's other post-trial motions, for the reasons stated by the district court.

Read US v. Marquez, No. 08-12588

Appellate Information

Filed January 22, 2010

Judges

Opinion by Judge Restani

Edward J. Goodman Life Income Trust v. Jabil Circuit, Inc., 09-10954

In a securities fraud class action alleging options backdating, the dismissal of the complaint is affirmed where: 1) plaintiffs failed to plead any facts that indicated that any individual defendant knew about the alleged accounting irregularities during the class period; 2) there was no way to determine from the complaint that the sales of large numbers of shares was suspicious enough to add to an inference of scienter; and 3) plaintiffs' allegation that defendants knew certain forward-looking statements were false did not convert those statements, mitigated by adequate warnings of risks, into actionable frauds.

Read Edward J. Goodman Life Income Trust v. Jabil Circuit, Inc., 09-10954

Appellate Information

Filed January 19, 2010

Judges

Opinion by Judge Dubina

Diamond Crystal Brands, Inc. v. Food Movers Int'l., Inc., No. 08-14782

In an action alleging nonpayment for shipments of sweetener, the district court's denial of defendant's motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction is affirmed where defendant "transacted business" in Georgia, under Georgia law, because it sent purchase orders to plaintiff in Georgia, requested delivery by "customer pickup" at plaintiff's plant in Georgia, directed third parties to accept delivery of the goods in Georgia, took legal title to the goods in Georgia, and promised to pay money into Georgia on the two transactions in question.

Read Diamond Crystal Brands, Inc. v. Food Movers Int'l., Inc., No. 08-14782

Appellate Information

Filed January 13, 2010

Judges

Opinion by Judge Tjoflat

Harrison v. Benchmark Elecs. Huntsville, Inc., 08-16656

In an action claiming that defendant-employer made an improper medical inquiry in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), summary judgment for defendant is reversed where: 1) 42 U.S.C. section 12112(d)(2) did not limit coverage to applicants who were also "qualified individuals with disabilities"; and 2) while the district court correctly concluded that employers may conduct follow-up questioning in response to a positive drug test, it failed to acknowledge any limits on this type of questioning.

Read Harrison v. Benchmark Elecs. Huntsville, Inc., 08-16656

Appellate Information

Filed January 12, 2010

Judges

Opinion by Judge Siler

Cunningham v. Dist. Atty.'s Office for Escambia County, No. 07-10808

In a 42 U.S.C. section 1983 action by a prisoner seeking an order requiring Alabama authorities to send certain evidence to a forensic laboratory of plaintiff's choice for DNA testing, dismissal of the complaint is affirmed where: 1) there was no evidence that a stand-alone claim in Alabama state court seeking DNA testing would fail as a matter of law at the pleading stage; 2) an Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals majority appeared to recognize that a properly presented Alabama Rule of Criminal Procedure 32 petition could be used to seek discovery of physical evidence for DNA testing; and 3) plaintiff failed to meet the actual injury requirement necessary for stating a claim for denial of access to the courts.

Read Cunningham v. Dist. Atty.'s Office for Escambia County, No. 07-10808

Appellate Information

Filed January 6, 2010

Judges

Opinion by Judge Carnes

Myers v. Central Fla. Invs., Inc., No. 08-16291

In a battery and sexual harassment action, partial judgment for plaintiff and for defendants is affirmed where: 1) defendants failed to show that the compensatory award for emotional damages equal to a claimant's annual income evinced prejudice, passion or corruption on the part of the jury; 2) the $506,847.75 punitive award bore a reasonable relationship both to the harm plaintiff suffered and to the harm likely to result should defendants not be penalized now; and 3) plaintiff was not a prevailing party on her Title VII claim and thus was not entitled to attorney's fees.

Read Myers v. Central Fla. Invs., Inc., No. 08-16291

Appellate Information

Filed January 6, 2010

Judges

Opinion by Judge Marcus

Ward v. Hall, No. 07-11360

In a capital habeas matter, the denial of the petition as to petitioner's murder conviction is affirmed where: 1) the district court's finding that petitioner was not diligent in gathering evidence was not clearly erroneous and its denial of petitioner's motion for an evidentiary hearing was not an abuse of discretion; and 2) defense counsel's investigation and presentation of mitigation evidence during the sentencing phase of petitioner's trial were well within the wide range of reasonable professional assistance.  However, defendant's death sentence is reversed where an improper bailiff-jury communication during the penalty phase violated petitioner's constitutional right to a fair trial and a reliable sentence.

Read Ward v. Hall, No. 07-11360

Appellate Information

Filed January 4, 2010

Judges

Opinion by Judge Birch

Capone v. Aetna Life Ins. Co., No. 09-10222

In an ERISA action seeking disability benefits from an insurer, summary judgment for defendant is reversed where: 1) even if plaintiff's dive off a dock into shallow water was intentional, if there was an intervening unexpected act, plaintiff would be entitled to recover under the policy; and 2) it was unreasonable to conclude that plaintiff's intoxication caused his injury.

Read Capone v. Aetna Life Ins. Co., No. 09-10222

Appellate Information

Filed January 5, 2010

Judges

Opinion by Judge Fay

Pendergast v. Sprint Nextel Corp., No. 09-10612

In an appeal from the grant of defendant's motion to compel arbitration in a class action against Sprint Nextel Corp. for allegedly charging improper roaming fees for calls placed within Sprint's coverage areas, the court of appeals certifies the following questions to the Florida Supreme Court:  1) must Florida courts evaluate both procedural and substantive unconscionability simultaneously in a balancing or sliding scale approach, or may courts consider either procedural or substantive unconscionability independently and conclude their analysis if either one is lacking?;  2) is the class action waiver provision in plaintiff's contract with Sprint procedurally unconscionable under Florida law?  3) is the class action waiver provision in plaintiff's contract with Sprint substantively unconscionable under Florida law?; and 4) is the class action waiver provision in plaintiff's contract with Sprint void under Florida law for any other reason?

Read Pendergast v. Sprint Nextel Corp., No. 09-10612

Appellate Information

Filed January 4, 2010

Judges

Opinion by Judge Hull