U.S. Fifth Circuit

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


Contractor Doctors Can Sue Under 1973 Rehab Act

Further complicating the growing conflict over employees and contractors, the Fifth Circuit recently declared that independent contractors can sue "any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance" on discrimination suits.

According to this circuit, Section 504 (The Rehabilitation Act of 1973) does not adopt the definition of who is covered under Title I even though it may be influenced by that law.

P2P Networks Don't Have a Reasonable Expectation of Privacy

The Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit affirmed several criminal counts in a child pornography that centered around reasonable expectation of privacy to a peer-to-peer network.

Although the defendant attempted to defend himself pro se, his "several garbled motions" on sovereign citizen theory were not enough to convince the court that he enjoyed a reasonable expectation of privacy. This case marked the first time the Fifth Circuit confronted the issue of whether or not P2P networks are subject to the usual "reasonable expectation" test.

Fifth Circuit Affirms District Court Ruling Against Bad-Faith Debtor

The Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit took sides against a bad-faith debtor when it reviewed the facts of the case and described the plaintiff's actions as "an exercise in chutzpah."

In this Chapter 7 dismissal case, the plaintiff used every trick in the book to "flagrantly and repeatedly abuse" the bankruptcy court proceedings.

Ray Nagin's Call for New Trial Is 'Meritless,' 5th Cir. Rules

Remember former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin? He was chared and convicted of corruption charges in 2014 and is currently serving his sentence in federal prison in Texas.

The Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled against Nagin, essentially laughing off his calls for a new trial based on incorrect jury instructions. The circuit called this claim "meritless."

In case you missed it in the theaters, Machete Kills was the 2013 camp-action film about a Mexican vigilante who is hired by the U.S. president to kill an illegal arms dealer. It starred Danny Trejo, joined by a B movie star-studded cast that included Charlie Sheen, Lady Gaga, and Mel Gibson.

Machete Kills didn't win any Oscars, but it did inspire a First Amendment lawsuit after the Texas Film Commission denied it funding under the state's film incentive program. Machete Productions sued, arguing that the denial was unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination, an argument the Fifth Circuit rejected on Monday.

JSW Steel Joined in Conspiracy to Tank Competitor, 5th Cir. Affirms

The Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has ordered a major steel company, JSW steel, to pay the equivalent of $156 million in fines, affirming a jury decision that the company was involved in a conspiracy to throttle supply lines to a competitor.

The ruling comes as very bad news to JSW, which has struggled in recent years to stay profitable in the rising tide of Chinese competitors.

Criminal or Civil? Difference Is Huge in Former Texas AG's Suit

Usually there's no confusing about whether a matter is civil or criminal. But that wasn't the case in a recent Fifth Circuit opinion, released Monday. There, the Fifth Circuit ruled that Dan Morales' appeal to have two key documents disclosed is part of a civil appeal, not a criminal one notwithstanding the circumstances of the facts. That difference made his motion timely under the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure.

For litigators who think they've heard that name before, Morales was Texas' Attorney General up until it was discovered that he was involved in a scheme to skim a profit from the "Big Tobacco" settlement that took place in the 90's. The number? $17.3 billion. And those are 90s dollars.

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.