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

September 2017 Archives

Statute of Limitations Ends Smoking Case

When William Hecht was a teenager, the Surgeon General warned that smoking caused chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

His mom, who suffered from COPD, warned him as well. After years of smoking, he developed the same condition.

He sued a tobacco company for allegedly concealing that smoking could cause his disease. A jury said it was too late, and a federal appeals court agreed.

The former high school basketball coach out of Greensboro, North Carolina that led North Guilford High boys' team to win the state championship, Stan Kowalewski, has had his 24 count federal felony conviction upheld by the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Thankfully, none of these counts have anything to do with abusing his team, but rather, just the financial trust of the community.

Kowalewski ran a hedge fund company, SJK Investment Management. However, it turns out that SJK's management mismanaged funds, causing losses to clients totaling $8 million. Included in those losses is the $4 million beach home Kowalewski bought in the other Carolina, on Pawley's Island.

Trump Names Two More Judges for the 11th Circuit

The political pendulum is quickly swinging to the right in the U.S. Eleventh Circuit, as President Trump named two more judges to the federal bench.

Judge Elizabeth Branch of the Georgia court of appeals has been nominated to fill a vacancy on the federal appeals court. Stan Baker, a federal magistrate, has been tapped for a district court judgeship in South Georgia.

The latest nominations, particularly to the appeals court, mark a clear changing of the guard during the Trump Administration.

Breastfeeding Decision Upheld for Constructive Discharge

Working on the narcotics task force, Stephanie Hicks wore a bulletproof vest to protect her from criminals.

That all changed after she returned from maternity leave, however. She asked for an accommodation at work because she was breastfeeding, but then the attacks came from her department.

She won a pregnancy discrimination case, and the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed. In Hicks v. City of Tuscaloosa, the appeals court said employers can be liable for constructive discharge when a breastfeeding mother quits.