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

April 2015 Archives

While Lumber Liquidators is under a microscope for its potentially toxic laminate flooring, at least one flooring company is getting some good news. After refusing to be walked all over by the competition, Mannington Mills, a laminate manufacturer, has gotten support from the Eleventh Circuit.

After the company designed a rustic, imitation-wood flooring, it soon found almost identical pieces for sale by a competitor. There wasn't much Mannington could do about it, a district court ruled, since the old wood design wasn't original enough to justify copyright protection. The Eleventh Circuit disagreed, recognizing the artistry behind plastic flooring and restoring Mannington's copyright protections.

Prisoner Did Exhaust State Remedies in Civil Rights Claim

Under the Prison Litigation Reform Act, state prisoners asserting a civil rights violation have to show that they've exhausted all their state administrative remedies before going into federal court.

The problem is that, not infrequently, these "remedies" are so difficult or impossible to pursue that they've functionally nonexistent. That's what happened to Moliere Dimanche Jr., a prisoner in Florida who says his claims of retaliation by prison guards fell on deaf ears.

Battery Charges Against Judge Mark Fuller Dropped

Last year, denizens of the Eleventh Circuit were shocked to learn that U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller had been charged with battery after his wife made a 911 call from a hotel.

Fuller was formally charged with battery, but that was just the start of his problems. The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals reassigned his cases and suspended him from receiving new ones. Both of Alabama's senators called for his to step down. Now, though, at least the criminal component of this saga is over: The battery charge against him has been dismissed.

11th Cir. Affirms Judgment for SEC in CyberKey Fraud Case

A company making USB drives discovered that honesty isn't just the best policy -- it's the only policy that the SEC likes. Following some questionable press releases and financial disclosures, the SEC investigated the company and its PR firm, then filed a civil action against them.

A jury found in favor of the SEC at trial. On appeal, the Eleventh Circuit affirmed the judgment in this case of a fairly ham-handed scheme to boost stock prices by lying (and not doing it very well).

A Georgia CEO will not escape his jail sentence after being found guilty of violating the U.S. trade embargo on Iran, the Eleventh Circuit held today. Mark Alexander, who manufactured and sold industrial machines, had been found guilty of trading with Iranian businesses.

The U.S. has imposed sanctions on Iran since the Islamic Revolution in 1979 and currently forbids virtually all trade with the country. At trial, Alexander claimed the government case against him was a "scam" and that he had been pressured to sell the goods by colleagues.

A Look At Religious Freedom Laws in Ala., Ga., and Fla.

The State of Indiana is getting flack for passing a "religious freedom restoration act" (RFRA) that critics say would allow businesses to legally discriminate against gays and lesbians.

Indiana joined a significant minority of states (20 with laws actually on the books) in enacting such a law, including all three states in the Eleventh Circuit. Are these states' laws significantly different?