U.S. Fifth Circuit

U.S. Fifth Circuit - The FindLaw 5th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

President Obama's immigration reform plans won't be coming to fruition anytime soon, thanks to a recent ruling by the Fifth Circuit. The court recently upheld an injunction against the immigration changes, finding that the Obama Administration was unlikely to win on the merits.

Twenty-six states, led by Texas, had sued over the planned immigration overhaul, which would have provided work visas and halted deportations for millions of immigrants. Despite the central role of the immigration debate in the lawsuit, however, the Fifth's ruling primarily dealt with standing and administrative law.

Coffee Barista's Don't Interact With Customers Enough for Tip Pooling

The Fifth Circuit reversed and remanded a decision by a Texas federal district court in a case that involved barista tips, Montano v. Montrose Restaurant Assoc.

The legal issue at bar was whether or not "coffeemen" (aka baristas) are lawfully entitled to a percentage customer tips under a restaurant's tip pooling arrangement. It turns out that it has little to with what you call them; it has more to do with the nature of their work.

5th Cir. Favors Worker Mobility Over Texas-Based Non-Compete Clauses

The Fifth Circuit unanimously rejected a Texas-based financial institution's argument that Texas' applied Selection Clause automatically subsumed Choice-of-Contract because allowing such an application would violate Oklahoma's public policy in favoring worker's right to earn a living.

The is noteworthy because it contrasts the two state's competing viewpoints of worker's rights. It also displays the Fifth Circuit's lively writing style.

Mandatory Arbitration Agreements for Employees OK, 5th Cir. Rules

The National Labor Relations Board has been a thorn in the Fifth Circuit's said these past few years. Several days ago, however, the panel court made it perfectly clear that it hadn't changed its mind with regards to the proper scope of the National Labor Standards Act.

The issue at bar (now apparently settled) is whether or not employers can require the signing of mandatory arbitration clauses that preclude employee lawsuits against the company. The answer? Such clauses are allowed.

Race Abuse by Students Not Within Title VI's Scope, 5th Cir. Rules

What's a school's liability for discrimination suffered by its students at the hands of other students? This was the broad legal question posed by the Fennell family in Kyana Fennell v. Marion Independent School District.

The Fifth Circuit dismiss the complaint against a Marion Independent School District (MISD) and several of its employees. The circuit court found that school officials were not "deliberately indifferent" to racist student behaviors.

20-Year Sentence Upheld for Ex-Litigator Who Bribed Judge

An ex-litigator Marc Rosenthal was sentenced to 20 years for his strong-arm tactics in settlements and for bribing a judge and witnesses.

The former attorney in question -- Marc Rosenthal -- appealed the decision against him and argued that government wiretaps of his conversation should have been excluded from the body of evidence. That argument fell on deaf ears and the Fifth Circuit upheld the conviction.

It seems that Texas has been getting hit with lawyer/judge bribery cases lately. It's a big state.

If you're going to couple business travel with a family trip, don't bill your client for your vacation expenses. That's the lesson from a recent Fifth Circuit ruling upholding the removal of a bankruptcy trustee who billed the estate for his family's extended stay in New Orleans during oral arguments. Steven Smith, the trustee in question, continually put his own interests ahead of the estate's, the court found.

What's more, because Smith was removed as trustee for cause, the Bankruptcy Code required Smith to be removed as trustee from all other bankruptcy proceedings.

Lunch breaks are the best time of the day. Workers get to rest and stuff their faces and employers don't have to pay them for that time -- so long as the break is about 30 minutes or more. Cut into that time, however, and you no longer have a lunch, you just have a rest, even if workers were able to chow down between tasks.

Take, for example, the naval base security guards who had their lunch breaks eroded by travel requirements. Since their employer required them to leave their post to eat, their lunch breaks were too short to be automatically exempt from pay under the Fair Labor Standard Acts, the Fifth Circuit ruled recently.

When Mark Phariss and Vic Holmes tried to get married two years ago, they were told, "We don't do that in Texas." The couple sued, along with Nicole Dimetman and Cleo DeLeon, arguing that their relationship deserved equal legal rights and respect. They won in district court and, following the Supreme Court's ruling on same-sex marriage in Obergefell v. Hodges, in the Fifth Circuit.

Now, they do do that in Texas. And Phariss and Holmes will get the chance to do it as well, as the couple will finally get their marriage license this Friday in San Antonio, Texas.

The Fifth Circuit isn't a bad place to practice if you want to be on the forefront of some of the nation's most pressing legal issues. From 3D-printed guns, to Bird Law, to immigration, abortion and voting rights, the Fifth Circuit makes news.

But how do you make it as an appellate lawyer? Above the Law says to "follow your heart." Sure! But how about those skills? And in appellate practice, those skills are primarily brief writing and oral argument. Thankfully, the Bar Association of the Fifth Federal Circuit is there to help you out, for a modest fee. The organization is putting on a two day CLE crash course in appellate advocacy this fall.