People and Events News - U.S. Eleventh Circuit
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A federal judge allegedly gets into a physical fight with his wife. A lawyer gets "seized" at a security checkpoint when she refuses to take off her coat. A child pornographer gets a rehearing because his lawyer was late coming back from lunch.

These were among the most-viewed posts in FindLaw's U.S. Eleventh Circuit Blog this year (though, honestly, a lot of really good ones were missing; c'mon folks, what's wrong with bagel envy?).

For your reading enjoyment, here were the Top 11 blog posts (because it's the Eleventh Circuit, get it?) in 2014:

The new hotness in suing over the Affordable Care Act took a hit at the Eleventh Circuit today, with the court denying relief to Kawa Orthodontics in a dispute over the delay of the ACA's employer mandate.

Kawa Orthodontics, owned by Larry Kawa (a noted figure in the Republican Party), apparently spent a bunch of money on figuring out how to comply with the mandate. Then, wouldn't you know it, the Treasury Department delayed enforcement of the employer mandate for another year, then another year. The bizarre thing is that, when Kawa filed its lawsuit, it didn't ask for that money back; rather, it just sought a declaratory judgment and injunction finding Treasury's delayed enforcement unlawful.

As we give thanks this year, we wondered, what is there to be thankful for in the Eleventh Circuit? It runs the gamut from the rural Alabama, north to the cosmopolitan Florida coast, with a heavy dose of swamp in between, so there are a lot of things to be thankful for.

Here are some of our favorites.

Since we last brought you the story of Judge Mark Fuller, the Alabama federal district court judge accused of domestic violence, a lot has changed: America has suddenly decided it's a lot less tolerant of domestic violence than it was before NFL player Ray Rice's video appeared on TMZ.

Now, both of Alabama's Republican U.S. senators -- Richard Shelby and Jeff Sessions -- have called on Fuller to resign.

It's been a slow week in the Eleventh Circuit. Last week, though, was a doozey. A Florida judge ruled the state's same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional. Alabama's Supreme Court said that injured consumers could go after brand-name pharmaceutical companies for problems caused by generics (provoking no small amount of controversy).

With high courts in each state in the Eleventh remaining quiet, this week we have some (alleged) Chinese hackers and a class action lawsuit.

Hot on the heels of a similar ruling in Mississippi last week, a federal judge in Alabama has also declared part of the state's abortion law unconstitutional.

As in Mississippi, the issue in Alabama was the constitutionality of a state law requiring doctors administering abortions to have admitting privileges at local hospitals. (Laws requiring admitting privileges are being used to try to eliminate access to abortions in several states, mainly in the South.)

Judge Myron Thompson's 172-page opinion in Planned Parenthood v. Strange found that the Alabama's Women's Health and Safety Act of 2013 is an "impermissible undue burden" that would "have the striking result of closing three of Alabama's five abortion clinics, clinics which perform only early abortions, long before viability."

In a 2-1 decision, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a Florida statute prohibiting doctors from asking about patients' gun ownership. The Eleventh Circuit's opinion reverses a controversial District Court decision -- known in the media as "Docs v. Glocks" -- that found the law unconstitutional.

The Firearm Owners Privacy Act, passed in 2011, prevents a physician from inquiring into a patient's firearm ownership unless that ownership is relevant to the patient's medical care. Violation of the law could lead to a physician's license being suspended or revoked, along with a $10,000 fine.

The statute followed an American Medical Association policy enactment encouraging doctors to talk to patients about firearms in homes with children, according to The Christian Science Monitor. Almost immediately after the law's passage, several doctors and medical organizations sued the state of Florida, alleging that the law infringed on their First Amendment free speech rights.

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We've been following this story for way too long, since the "West Wing-like deal" rumors started swirling back in September.

With as many as four vacancies to fill on the Eleventh Circuit bench (out of twelve seats total), and with his nominee of choice to a three-years-vacant seat, Jill Pryor, blocked by two Georgia Republican senators, President Barack Obama reached across the aisle and forged a bipartisan compromise: two Democratic choices for three Republican choices.

The rumored deal and nominations went through, but confirmation is a whole different issue, and it's not looking good for one of the district court appointees: Judge Michael Boggs of the Georgia Court of Appeals.

This is not a distinction worth bragging about.

The Center for Public Integrity recently reviewed three years' worth of judicial financial disclosures to determine how often, if ever, judges heard cases despite a conflict of interest. While some might argue that any conflicts are too many conflicts, the results weren't completely damning of our federal appeals court system: 26 missed conflicts over three years, out of how many cases? Tens of thousands?

Still, the Eleventh Circuit in particular had a rough time, with a nation-leading seven missed conflicts, four from Judge James Hill alone, plus one shining example of how a judge should deal with such a mistake.

Scenario #1: You took a DUI defense case for a fixed fee. She's a first time offender, no record, barely over the limit, but the case is strong. It's probably going to plead out, right? This case should not take a lot of time, except someone needs to spend hours answering every single one of her questions. You know this type of client -- the freaked out emails/phone calls/texts come every hour.

Scenario #2: There are fourteen courthouses in Miami, Florida, some state, some federal. Your client has both a misdemeanor marijuana possession charge, and a child custody dispute. Somehow, he ended up at the federal courthouse. How do you get him where he needs to go?

Whether your client needs a general overview of the law, a local perspective, or simply a map to the courthouse, we're making your job easier -- starting right now.