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


Dispute Over Krusty Krab Restaurant Lands in Fifth Circuit

Kids know that SpongeBob SquarePants would protect The Krusty Krab's secret recipe.

Some seasoned judges don't know that, however, even in a lawsuit over "The Krusty Krab." Viacom, which created the cartoon crab shack on Nickelodeon, wants to keep a businessman from using the name for his planned restaurants.

The big problem is, Viacom didn't trademark the name. But another problem is, the judges don't know SpongeBob.

Trump's Latest Nomination for 5th Circuit: Andy Oldham

Andy Oldham barely had time to decorate his office when President Trump nominated him to the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Oldham was just named general counsel by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Jan. 2, when the President came calling a month later. It may be a bit of a rush for the nominee, but changes have been coming to the appeals court for a while.

It is Trump's third nominee to the Fifth Circuit since he took office, and they all came from Texas. That's good and bad news, depending on how you look at it.

5th Cir. Considers Minimum Age for Exotic Dancers

Just in time for Mardi Gras, a state appeals court is considering whether young women may bare their breasts in Louisiana.

But revelers shouldn't worry about flashing for beads along the streets of New Orleans during the annual carnival. The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals is focused on nude entertainers there.

Louisiana passed a law that prohibits women under age 21 from stripping. A trial judge said the law was unconstitutional, but the appeals court justices are taking another look.

Texas Executes 3rd Man of 2018

As lawyers scrambled to save his life, John David Battaglia prepared to die.

The attorneys asked any court that would listen to arguments that Battaglia was delusional, mentally incompetent, and shouldn't be executed for fatally shooting his two young daughters. They were nine and six years old.

The last-minute appeals didn't work. They usually don't in Texas.

Court Reverses Medicare Fraud Convictions for New Orleans Doctor

Sixty-eight-year-old Dr. Pramela Ganji is serving her last days in federal prison, but she will soon be free again.

The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals court threw out the case against her in United States of America v. Ganji. The appeals court said prosecutors did not prove she was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

The government's case was "rather peculiar," the judges said. It was also a lesson in how not to try a case.

Judge Edward Prado of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals was recently nominated by President Trump to serve as the ambassador to Argentina. And while the official ambassador position has been vacant for nearly a year, if Prado is confirmed (which is highly anticipated), it will create a new vacancy on the Fifth Circuit.

Recently, Trump was able to fill two open seats on that bench with the appointments of Justices James Ho and Don Willett. And by making an appointment from that bench, he might just get the chance to put another jurist there.

Court Upholds Convictions for Stealing Confidential Information

Sean James Hager felt like his employer didn't have his "long-term interests at heart."

So he devised a plan for his future. Using his employer's confidential information, he started a company that sold parts to the employer and netted about $1.16 million for himself.

That was the plan anyway -- until he was convicted of wire fraud and other crimes. In United States of America v. Hager, he also made another mistake.

Soccer Players Interfered With Flight Crew: Convictions Upheld

Soccer players Jonathan Petras and Wisam Shaker were slow to learn the rules for unruly passengers aboard commercial airlines.

You can't curse at flight attendants. You can't make obscene gestures at them. You can't threaten them and call them names like "ugly," "racist," or "pig."

Petras and Shaker finally learned the rules after the pilot landed the plane and police escorted them off to face criminal charges. Put another way, that's the way a ball player bounces.

Justice Don Willett, the Texas Tweeter Laureate, may be a favorite of appellate lawyer Twitter (which, yes, appellate Twitter is a thing), but if the numbers are any indication, his popularity among Senators fell along strict party lines. The 50 to 47 vote went his way, but just barely.

Both Justice Willett, and James Ho, were nominated to seats on the Fifth Circuit, and this week, both had their nominations confirmed. Interestingly, Ho seemed to garner more partisan support than the social media savvy Willett. The Senate voted Ho in 53 to 43.

Court Upholds Conviction of Angry IT Guy for Damaging Computer System

Everybody knows that the IT guy can make or break a computer system.

Everybody also knows he's not supposed to break it on purpose. Michael Thomas, however, apparently didn't get that memo.

Thomas, chief technology officer for a software company, said he had permission to damage the system. In United States of America v. Thomas, the jury and the courts said, "uh, no."