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

September 2011 Archives

Five Things to Know About Eleventh Circuit Bar Admission

Here at FindLaw, we understand the pressures of being a legal professional - most of us are recovering lawyers - so we want to help by tossing you that preferred life preserver of the legal profession, the short list.

Now that hurricane season is almost over, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals seems like a much more appealing circuit for appellate practitioners. Interested? Here are five things you need to know about Eleventh Circuit bar admission.

Odyssey's Booty Plundered? Spain Wins Sovereign Immunity Appeal

Plundering was once the exclusive purview of pirates and scoundrels.

Then, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals realized that, as a coastal appellate district, it too was ripe for some plundering fun. And so the Eleventh Circuit decided to get in the pirate game, pillaging appellants' somewhat-stolen splendors of the seas.

But, as facts are never quite as simple as alliteration allows, we have to go back to 2007 to see how the Eleventh Circuit's plundering proclivities developed.

Recidivism Likely: Jose Padilla's 17-Year Sentence Too Lenient

The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals thinks that a 17-year sentence is to lenient for a U.S. citizens convicted of aiding terrorists. On Monday, the Eleventh Circuit sent a case against convicted U.S. terrorist Jose Padilla back to the district court for rehearing.

At trial, the government claimed that Padilla and his co-defendants formed a support cell linked to radical Islamists worldwide and conspired to send money, recruits, and equipment overseas to groups that the defendants knew used violence in their efforts to establish Islamic states.

Circuit Won't Re-Hear Lake Lanier Water Withdrawal Dispute

The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals will not issue further opinions in a decades-long water dispute between Florida, Alabama, and Georgia unless the Supreme Court intervenes. On Monday, the court rejected a request from Florida and Alabama to vacate a unanimous water rights decision from a three-judge panel.

The source of the controversy? Atlanta-area death trap Lake Lanier, better known for summer drowning accidents than for its water supply.

Judicial Conference Recommends New Policy for Sealing Records

The Judicial Conference of the United States announced a new national policy this week encouraging federal courts to limit the instances in which they seal entire civil case files.

The policy states that “an entire civil case file should only be sealed when … sealing … is required by statute or rule or justified by a showing of extraordinary circumstances and the absence of narrower feasible and effective alternatives, (such as sealing discrete documents or redacting information), so that sealing an entire case file is a last resort.”

Whether a judicial record should be sealed currently depends on the judgment and discretion of the presiding judge. Appellate review of sealing decisions are conducted through interlocutory appeal or mandamus. In the past, local rules concerning sealing were crafted to help clerks clean out their vaults. For paper records, storage of sealed files was often a substantial burden, but that is less of a concern in the PACER-dominated electronic age.

Atlanta PD: HIV-Positive Applicant Threatens Health and Safety

Can an employer refuse to hire an applicant because he's HIV-positive?

A 39-year-old Georgia man claims that he was denied employment with the Atlanta Police Department (Atlanta PD) because he is HIV-positive. The man, using the name "Richard Roe" to protect his privacy in the litigation, claims that a doctor who conducted his pre-employment medical exam for the Atlanta PD told him that his HIV status disqualified him from joining the Atlanta PD.

The Atlanta PD did not offer Roe a position after the medical exam, so Roe sued, claiming HIV discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the federal Rehabilitation Act. Atlanta PD prevailed over Roe on summary judgment; now Roe is appealing to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

Eleventh Circuit Awards New Trial to Hear Expert Witness Testimony

Dramamine and rubber-soled shoes are critical when sailing.

The open sea, though relaxing, is full of threats: stingrays, icebergs, 15-foot swells, barnacles, Carib shortages, and very slippery floors.

Perhaps that's where today's Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals plaintiff, Lydia Rosenfeld, erred: She didn't anticipate the slippery floor on her cruise ship.

But according to Rosenfeld, Oceania Cruises should have known that the floor was dangerous.

Exam of Dental Case: Prison Lawsuit Must Exhaust PLRA Remedies

As we grow older, our tastes mature. We start eating our broccoli. We prefer good cheese to mystery-flavored jellybeans. Waterparks lose favor as our vacation spot of choice.

One thing that doesn't change? We all hate going to the dentist.

But today, we have a prison lawsuit out of the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in which a Georgia prisoner argued that his rights were violated because he was not allowed to see a dentist.