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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.

ADA Doesn't Require Reassignment of a Disabled Employee

An employer does not have to reassign a disabled employee to a vacant position ahead of more qualified, non-disabled employees, a federal appeals court said.

The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals said the American with Disabilities Act "only requires an employer allow a disabled person to compete equally with the rest of the world for a vacant position" as a reasonable accommodation.

"The ADA does not require reassignment without competition for, or preferential treatment of, the disabled," the panel said.

ACLU Wins Appeal for LGBT Club Against Middle School

A federal appeals court has ruled that LGBT students may proceed against a Florida middle school that denied its application for a student club.

In reversing the dismissal of the club's lawsuit, the Eleventh Circuit said that Florida law gives middle school and high school students the same rights to form extra-curricular clubs. The justices said Florida's law inconsistently defines "secondary education," but concluded that a middle school is a secondary school for equal access purposes.

"We conclude that 'secondary education,' under Florida law, means at least 'courses through which a person receives high school credit that leads to the award of a high school diploma,'" the justices said in reversing and remanding the case.

Unless the school district appeals, the district court will now decide whether Carver Middle School must accept the club. The appellate court decision has far-reaching implications, however.

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Refusal to Quash Subpoenas Ruled 'Abuse of Discretion' by 11th Circ.

In a case that is somewhat reminiscent of Citizens United, which revolves around the amorphous notion what constitutes valid speech, the 11th Circuit just ruled that a lower court abused its discretion when it did not quash subpoena's against state officials and granted them the benefit of doubt of privilege.

The subpoenas were directed at lawmakers; they alleged that the Act violated the First Amendment rights of the Alabama Education Association (AEA) because of alleged bad faith.

Georgia executed death row inmate Kelly Gissendaner Wednesday morning, having defeated an 11th hour legal appeal that sought to spare her life. Gissendaner, who was sentenced to death for conspiring with her boyfriend to kill her husband, became Georgia's first female prisoner to be executed in 70 years.

Advocates, including Pope Francis, had argued for clemency. The Pontifex Maximus wrote a letter urging Georgia to commute her sentence and her children attended a parole board hearing to argue on her behalf, missing her execution in the process. Despite that advocacy, Gissendaner was executed soon after a last minute 1983 complaint was rejected by the Eleventh Circuit last night.