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

January 2012 Archives

HIV-Positive Cop Applicant Appeals Discrimination Claim Dismissal

Last week, an HIV-positive Georgia man argued to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals that he should be allowed to proceed with his discrimination claim against the Atlanta Police Department in a federal district court.

The man, using the name "Richard Roe" claims that a doctor who conducted his pre-employment medical exam as part of his application said that he "could not be employed in a position in which he had any contact with the public" because he was HIV-positive, and that he had "failed" his medical exam, reports The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. When Roe wasn't offered the job, he sued.

Will Skin Mag Hustle 11th Circuit in Right of Publicity Claim?

Do Hustler's First Amendment rights protect the magazine's decision to print 20-year-old nude photos of slain former-wrestler Nancy Benoit months after her husband, Chris Benoit, killed her?

Hustler claims that the First Amendment insulates the publication from right of publicity liability because the murder made Nancy a newsworthy figure. The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against Hustler in 2009, noting, "The Georgia courts have never held, nor do we believe that they would hold, that if one is the victim of an infamous murder, one's entire life is rendered the legitimate subject of public scrutiny."

New ProView Brings Lawyers and iPads Together

If you've been looking for an excuse to purchase an iPad, Thomson Reuters has your solution.

It's an app called Thomson Reuters ProView, and it allows you to access handy legal tools, like codes and court rules, from your iPad. It's the type of product that -- in our lawyering days -- would have only existed in a parallel science-fiction universe.

So why is ProView better than accessing the same information on your laptop, or using a book?

Union Organization Assistance Can Be a 'Thing of Value'

The value of a good or a service is a relative measure. That’s why “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” It’s why people troll eBay and Craigslist for used goods. It’s why the IRS reviews the declared value of in-kind donations.

So who - other than the IRS - decides whether a thing has value?

This week, the answer is the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled on Wednesday that organizing assistance can be a thing of value under the Labor Management Relations Act (LMRA).

SCOTUS: Attorney Abandonment is Good Procedural Default Excuse

The Supreme Court reversed the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals’ Maple v. Thomas decision this week in a 7-2 vote.

The Nine, in an opinion written by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, decided that defendant-appellant Cory Maples had demonstrated the requisite cause to overcome procedural default, and was entitled to further review of his ineffective counsel appeal.

Release the Hound: No Qualified Immunity for Canine Attack Cops

As much as we love bestowing FindLaw Top Dog honors on deserving jurisprudential pups, we're not going to award Rosco, the canine subject of today's Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals decision, with our coveted designation. That's because we don't want to reward Rosco's Orlando police handlers for using excessive force.

(Rosco, this hurts us more than it hurts you. Really.)

This week, the Eleventh Circuit ruled that Officers Bryan Shanley and Justin Levitt were not entitled to qualified immunity after they permitted Rosco to attack a suspect, who was not resisting arrest, for five to seven minutes.

Eleventh Cir. OKs Tyson Foods Racial Discrimination Lawsuit

Ash v. Tyson Foods, a racial discrimination lawsuit, has been toiling in federal courts for over a decade. The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals has considered the case four times. The Supreme Court has heard the case. So why has this case demanded so much judicial attention for so long?

In part, because the courts could not agree on whether the word “boy,” when applied to an adult, African-American man, qualified as a racial epithet.

Winners This Week: Crimson Tide Football and FMLA Rights

The Alabama Crimson Tide football team and Kathryn Pereda have one thing in common: winning when it counts.

For the Crimson Tide football players, the win that mattered was last night’s BCS National Championship victory over our beloved LSU Tigers. (Well played, Nick Saban and crew.)

For Kathryn Pereda, the critical win was today’s Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruling reinstating her FMLA rights violation case after a 12(b)(6) dismissal in the district court.

Alabama Appealing PAC-to-PAC Transfer Ruling to Eleventh Circuit

Campaign finance law is all the rage these days.

Last month the Seventh Circuit enjoined a Wisconsin campaign finance law and the Ninth Circuit struck a Washington contribution cap, while the Montana Supreme Court potentially defied the U.S. Supreme Court decision last week by upholding state limits on corporate spending in political campaigns. (The challenged law in the Montana case, Western Tradition Partnership v. Attorney General, is strikingly similar the law SCOTUS struck in Citizens United.)

Now, it's the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals' turn to weigh in on campaign finance law.

I'm on Boat: Liability Waiver Form Void for Injuries on Vessel

We occasionally enjoy bouncing out our frustration over bad appellate rulings at the trampoline park, which is great fun as soon as we forget about the electronic liability waiver form we had to complete to get in the door.

That waiver says jumping is an inherently dangerous activity, and that we won't hold the facility liable for injuries resulting from things like exposed springs, or lack of proper equipment, safety measures, or supervision. We grudgingly sign such forms, knowing that a judge would guffaw if we ever tried to challenge their validity. (Stupid heightened understanding of the law.)

But if the trampoline park was on a cruise ship, and we were challenging the liability waiver form in the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, we might prevail.