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

September 2012 Archives

Check the Venue Before You File a Cruise Ship Claim

The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals reviews a lot of cruise line lawsuits, thanks to the volume of ships going in and out of Florida. Most of the time, the appellate court seems to favor the plaintiffs in these cases. Most of the time, the cruise lines are arguing that liability waivers preclude claims.

A cruise line fares better when it argues improper venue based on the passage contract.

Jurors' Erotic Gift to Judge Didn't Compromise Murder Trial

A tacky joke between a judge and jurors in a murder trial isn't necessarily evidence of an unfair trial.

Jurors in Marcus Wellons' malice, murder, and rape trial sent a chocolate penis to the judge and chocolate breasts to the bailiff — gag gifts that were intended to "lighten things up." The jury later convicted Wellons and recommended the death sentence.

Wellons argued that the gifts denied him of his constitutional right to a fair trial by an impartial jury and judge. The Supreme Court conceded that the matter warranted a second look. Last week, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals concluded that the gifts were tacky, but the conviction was untainted.

'Unlawful Seizure' Appeal is All About the Benjamins

Chalk this one up to One Percenter problems.

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) operates the Florida Turnpike system, and collects tolls from vehicles using the turnpike. Motorists sometimes pay the small tolls charged with $50 or $100 bills. To discourage payments with counterfeit bills, FDOT implemented a policy that required toll collectors to record a Grant-or-Benjamin-paying vehicle's make, model, color, tag number and state of issuance in a Bill Detection Report.

Just so we're clear, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals says that's not a civil rights violation.

Sovereign Immunity Trumps Dental Assistant's ADA Claim

There must be something in the fluoride in Alabama, because there are a lot of dental litigants in the Heart of Dixie.

We don't cover all of the dental lawsuits that make their way to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, but what we've learned from the cases we've covered is that quasi-governmental health agencies get sovereign immunity.

Crime Pays, But Criminals Must Repay Everything in Forfeiture

Those who say that crime doesn't pay are either lying or misinformed. Crime can pay very well.

The more accurate statement is that criminals can be forced to forfeit the considerable fruits of their labor if they are convicted.

Which is what happened in today's Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals case.

Alabama Asks for En Banc Review of HB 56 Ruling

In Chicago, teachers are staying away from school. In Alabama, the governor wants students to stay away.

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley announced this week that the state has filed petitions requesting en banc review of the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals' decisions on the Alabama immigration law, WSFA reports. The state claims that court shouldn't have nixed provisions that addressed contracting with illegal immigrants, harboring undocumented immigrants, and verifying school children's immigration statuses.

Cruise Company Has Duty to Warn of Danger at Port of Call

Cruises look lovely on TV commercials, but news stories about cruises are downright scary. Apparently, there are rapes, outbreaks, and shipwrecks to worry about. (No, thanks. When we take time off, we want to relax, not survive.)

On the other hand, many people enjoy cruises. So if wariness of a cruise line's duty to warn is the only thing keeping you from the high seas, it might be time to book your stateroom and pack your suitcase: The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled this week that a cruise line owes its passengers a duty to warn of known dangers beyond the point of debarkation in places where passengers are invited or reasonably expected to visit.