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PETA Fails in Suit to Release Captive Orca

Lolita, the killer whale, will remain in captivity.

That's the decision of the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals v. Miami Seaquarium. The animal rights group and others claimed that Lolita should be freed under the Endangered Species Act.

The appeals court said PETA did not prove that captivity posed a serious threat to the whale. It will not be a sequel to "Free Willy."

White House Withdraws Nomination of Brett Talley

If you heard a big sucking sound out of Alabama, it was not just Roy Moore's loss in his bid for the U.S. Senate.

As President Trump was backing away from his controversial pick, the White House announced it would "not be moving forward" with Trump's nomination of an Alabama lawyer for a federal judgeship.

It had not looked good for attorney Brett J. Talley for a while. The American Bar Association had called him "unanimously" unqualified.

South Florida's Federal Bench to Be Reshaped by Trump

President Trump will reshape the court in the South District of Florida -- and that none too soon, according to some observers.

The Miami Herald says the "unprecedented" number of vacancies gives the President five seats to fill on a federal bench of 13, not including 10 senior judges in South Florida. The newspaper says the high number is rare.

Meanwhile, another report recently named Florida the No. 1 Judicial Hellhole in the country. The confirmation hearings should be interesting....

An Alabama Supreme Court decision from 2015 may have flown under the radar at the time it was issued, but then-Chief Justice Roy Moore's dissent is coming back to haunt the now-Republican Senate candidate.

The majority decision upheld the conviction of a 17-year-old child rapist (that was working at a daycare when he committed his crime) on one charge that required "forcible compulsion" to be proven. But Moore, alone out of the nine justices, dissented based upon a strict textualist approach that seemingly ignored the actual facts and court precedent.

As some commentators have noted, this case probably has less to do with Moore's own history, and more to do with his personal philosophy. Moore's dissenting opinion did not let the defendant off the hook for his crimes and shouldn't be used as evidence that Moore is soft on crime. In fact, one of the charges that resulted in a conviction and 20+ year sentence against the defendant was not even considered on appeal, so it's not like Moore was trying to get the guy out of jail.

Lawyers' Feud Stifles Class Action Settlement

It is an old feud with a new twist.

Bock & Hatch used to share work with Anderson& Wanca against companies that sent out unsolicited faxes. The alliance broke up with bad blood years ago.

In Technology Training Associates v. Buccaneers Limited Partnership, that feud is back in the news. Now the case is more about the lawyers than the litigants.

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.

Nonparty Not Bound by an Injunction as a Successor in Interest

Company A obtains an injunction against Company B, which sells its assets to Company C. Is Company C bound by the injunction?

The simple answer is "no" because Company C was not in privity with the parties to the A-B injunction. That's the basic rule of ADT v. NorthStar Alarm Systems.

The U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals said that NorthStar Alarm Services was not bound by an injunction because it was not in privity with the parties to the injunction. Also, the appeals court said, the company had no notice that there was an injunction against Vision Security when it purchased the company.

"In the absence of a finding that NorthStar knew about the injunction against Vision Security, the district court erred when it ruled that NorthStar was bound by the injunction under a theory of de facto merger," the appellate panel said. "A court cannot bind a party whose 'rights have not been adjudged according to law.'"

State Violated Dairy's Free Speech Right to Advertise 'Skim Milk'

Mooooove over, Florida oranges. All-natural skim milk is about to be a little more famous in the Sunshine State.

A federal appeals court has ruled that a Florida dairy producer has a free speech right to advertise its natural "skim milk," even though the state prohibited the description. The U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals said the advertisement was truthful and entitled to First Amendment protection.

"The State was unable to show that forbidding the OCheesee Creamery from using the term 'skim milk' was reasonable," the court said.

Death Row Inmate Ruled Incompetent

Vernon Madison, one of the longest-tenured tenants on Alabama's death row, has cheated death again.

Seven hours before his scheduled date with death last year, an appellate court stayed his execution. A new U.S. Supreme Court case gave him a chance to challenge the constitutionality of the ultimate sentence.

Then last week, the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals said he was incompetent to be executed because strokes have left him unable to understand why he was sentenced to die.

"Mr. Madison may have been told that he is being executed because of the murder he committed, but he doesn't remember his capital offence, and according to his perception of reality he never committed murder," the federal appeals court said.

Lesson From Employee Hacking Case: Don't Use 'Password' for a Password

In the fast-paced computer world, people occasionally use "password" as a default password on their accounts. Bad idea.

It was an expensive lesson learned for furniture company Brown Jordan and one of its top executives. Christopher Carmicle used the password to access email of other employees, including superiors, leading to costly litigation and termination.

According to the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, Brown Jordan rightfully terminated Carmicle for hacking into the email. The judges probably would have affirmed the judgment against him for other reasons, too, if the company had acted sooner.