U.S. Fifth Circuit: October 2009 Archives
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October 2009 Archives

Adair v. Lease Partners, Inc., No. 08-60674

In an appeal from an order remanding the case to state court in an action in which the FDIC had been a party but was subsequently dismissed, the order is reversed where the district court had no authority to remand the case because 12 U.S.C. section 1819(b)(2) continued to provide original jurisdiction over all claims in the case, even after the FDIC's dismissal.

Read Adair v. Lease Partners, Inc., No. 08-60674

Appellate Information

Filed October 28, 2009

Judges

Opinion by Judge Reavley

US v. Allen, No. 08-11041

Defendants' criminal contempt convictions are affirmed where: 1) the record did not indicate that the trial judge failed to consider the recusal standard under 28 U.S.C. section 455(a) in denying defendants' motion to recuse; 2) the district court's instruction to the government to prosecute defendants for criminal contempt did not indicate prejudgment of the case; and 3) a district court's statements on the evidence at sentencing may not be considered as an accurate reflection of the district court's view of the evidence during trial.

Read US v. Allen, No. 08-11041

Appellate Information

Filed October 28, 2009

Judges

Per Curiam

Villafranca v. US, No. 08-10920

In a Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) action against the U.S. alleging that federal agents used excessive force against plaintiff, judgment for defendants is affirmed where: 1) because agents' actions were privileged under Texas law, those actions did not constitute an assault for which the U.S. would be liable under the FTCA; and 2) the district court's finding that the agents' alleged negligence was not the proximate cause of plaintiff's injuries was not clearly erroneous.

Read Villafranca v. US, No. 08-10920

Appellate Information

Filed October 28, 2009

Judges

Opinion by Judge King

In the Matter of: Proeducation Int'l. Inc., No. 08-20398

In an appeal from the district court's affirmance of the bankruptcy court's order disqualifying counsel for a creditor, the order is reversed where: 1) the bankruptcy court should have considered counsel's evidence of his lack of involvement with the debtor while at his prior law firm in making its decision; and 2) counsel presented sufficient evidence to demonstrate that he did not operate under a conflict of interest when he undertook the representation of creditor.

Read In the Matter of: Proeducation Int'l. Inc., No. 08-20398

Appellate Information

Filed October 30, 2009

Judges

Opinion by Judge King

Handley v. Chapman, No. 09-10061

In a firearm possession prosecution, dismissal of a habeas petition is vacated and judgment for respondents is entered on the merits, where the Bureau of Prisons' regulation categorically excluding early-release eligibility for inmates convicted of firearm possession was not arbitrary and capricious because it was justified by public safety concerns.

Read Handley v. Chapman, No. 09-10061

Appellate Information

Filed October 29, 2009

Judges

Opinion by Judge Smith

US v. Menchaca-Castruita, No. 08-40403

Defendant's drug conspiracy conviction is vacated where no exigent circumstances existed to justify the police's failure to obtain a warrant to search defendant's residence, and thus, the district court erred in denying defendant's motion to suppress.

Read US v. Menchaca-Castruita, No. 08-40403

Appellate Information

Filed October 29, 2009

Judges

Opinion by Judge Wiener

US v. Caldwell, No. 08-50804

Defendant's child pornography conviction is affirmed where: 1) the trial court did not abuse its discretion when it showed the jury three short excerpts from three of the seventeen different videos at issue; 2) the district court did not err in allowing the jury to see the brief excerpt of the non-child pornography video found downloading as the search of defendant's home occurred; and 3) an employee of the company that designed the file-sharing software used by defendant did not give improper expert testimony.

Read US v. Caldwell, No. 08-50804

Appellate Information

Filed October 26, 2009

Judges

Opinion by Judge Garwood

US v. Rangel-Portillo, No. 08-40803

Defendant's conviction for transporting undocumented aliens is vacated where the district court erred in denying defendant's motion to suppress evidence obtained as the result of an unconstitutional stop by a United States Border Patrol agent.

Read US v. Rangel-Portillo, No. 08-40803

Appellate Information

Filed October 26, 2009

Judges

Opinion by Judge Benavides

Lefevre v. Cain, No. 08-31233

In habeas proceedings regarding petitioner's robbery conviction, grant of the petition is reversed where petitioner's shackling during trial did not violate his right to self-representation because he waived that right by failing to object to his counsel's actions on his behalf.

Read Lefevre v. Cain, No. 08-31233

Appellate Information

Filed October 26, 2009

Judges

Opinion by Judge Owen

Becker v. Tidewater Inc., No. 08-30183

In an action based on injuries sustained by plaintiff on an oil rig owned by one defendant and operated by another defendant, the district court's judgment holding the operator 55% liable for plaintiff's injuries and the owner 45% liable is affirmed in part where: 1) the reciprocal indemnity agreement between defendants obligated the operator to indemnify the owner for plaintiff's injuries; and 2) the district court did not clearly err in determining that the owner was not the superseding cause of the incident.  However, the judgment is reversed in part where: 1) the operator's negligence in failing to properly warn employees how to operate certain machinery on the boat should not have been characterized by the district court as time-charterer negligence; and 2) the parties' agreement only entitled the owner to attorney's fees incurred in defending the underlying tort action. (Superseding opinion)

Read Becker v. Tidewater Inc., No. 08-30183

Appellate Information

Filed October 26, 2009

Judges

Opinion by Judge Benavides

Hill v. Carroll Cty., No. 08-60516

In a 42 U.S.C. section 1983 action arising out of plaintiff's daughter's death while she was being driven to jail, summary judgment for defendants is affirmed where defendant-officers' use of a four-point restraint did not itself amount to a constitutional violation.

Read Hill v. Carroll Cty., No. 08-60516

Appellate Information

Filed October 28, 2009

Judges

Opinion by Judge Jones

Alvarez v. Midland Cred. Mgmt., Inc., No. 09-10851

In plaintiffs' appeal from a denial of a motion to remand in a case removed pursuant to the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA), the appeal is dismissed where, as a result of the elimination of the unique issues under CAFA and the desire not to resolve complex issues of federal versus state jurisdiction on a limited record with abbreviated briefing and decisional deadlines, the court of appeals' original permission was improvidently granted.

Read Alvarez v. Midland Cred. Mgmt., Inc., No. 09-10851

Appellate Information

Filed October 19, 2009

Judges

Opinion by Judge Haynes

First Am. Bank v. First Am. Transp. Title Ins. Co., No. 07-31033

In an action seeking the proceeds of a maritime insurance policy, partial summary judgment for defendant, holding that the measure of indemnity was limited under the policy to the amount by which the payments to the holders of the priming liens for necessaries reduced plaintiff's recovery on its mortgages, is affirmed in part where the policy did not allow recovery of consequential damages.  However, the order is reversed in part where the difference in values was not to be determined solely by the proceeds recovered from the foreclosure sale at issue.

Read First Am. Bank v. First Am. Transp. Title Ins. Co., No. 07-31033

Appellate Information

Filed October 14, 2009

Judges

Opinion by Judge Owen

Rodriguez v. Holder, No. 08-60585

In a petition for review of the BIA's order overturning an Immigration Judge's order granting petitioner a good-faith hardship waiver of the joint filing requirement of section 216(c)(4)(A) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, the petition is granted where the BIA applied the incorrect legal standard to conclude that petitioner's marriage was not entered into in good faith.

Read Rodriguez v. Holder, No. 08-60585

Appellate Information

Filed October 9, 2009

Judges

Opinion by Judge Haynes

Great Lakes Reinsurance (UK) PLC v. Durham Auctions Inc., No. 08-60898

In an action to declare void a policy of marine insurance, the court of appeals answered a certified question in favor of plaintiff where, under federal maritime choice of law rules, contractual choice of law provisions were generally recognized as valid and enforceable, and the parties chose New York law in the policy.

Read Great Lakes Reinsurance (UK) PLC v. Durham Auctions Inc., No. 08-60898

Appellate Information

Filed October 9, 2009

Judges

Opinion by Judge Garwood

A.M. v. Cash, No. 08-10477

In a First Amendment action challenging a school's prohibition on displaying the Confederate flag, summary judgment for defendants is affirmed where: 1) defendants reasonably anticipated that visible displays of the Confederate flag would cause substantial disruption of, or material interference with, school activities; 2) the policy gave students adequate notice of what clothing was prohibited; and 3) plaintiffs failed to provide evidence that the ban was enforced unequally.

Read A.M. v. Cash, No. 08-10477

Appellate Information

Filed October 9, 2009

Judges

Opinion by Judge Dennis

Wesbrook v. Thaler, No. 08-70024

In a capital habeas matter, denial of the habeas petition is affirmed where: 1) there was no reasonable probability that the outcome of the punishment phase would have been different if the jury had been presented with evidence that petitioner had "frontal lobe" damage; 2) violation of petitioner's Sixth Amendment right to counsel through the use of an undercover informant did not have a substantial and injurious effect on the verdict at the punishment phase; and 3) the record did not support petitioner's contention that the trial judge acted in a dual role as both investigator and adjudicator.

Read Wesbrook v. Thaler, No. 08-70024

Appellate Information

Filed October 13, 2009

Judges

Opinion by Judge Jolly

US v. Betancourt, No. 08-40909

Defendant's drug distribution conviction is affirmed where: 1) the district court told the jury to use great care when determining the voluntariness of defendant's confession and to consider the relevant circumstances before deciding how much weight to give the confession; and 2) Congress did not intend for the word "knowingly" in 18 U.S.C. section 841(a) to modify language in section 841(b).

Read US v. Betancourt, No. 08-40909

Appellate Information

Filed October 9, 2009

Judges

Opinion by Judge Prado

Wiley v. State Farm Fire & Cas. Co., No. 09-60191

In an action for Hurricane Katrina-related insurance proceeds, summary judgment for defendant-insurer is affirmed where the parties' prior settlement agreement precluded plaintiff's claim because it unambiguously released all Katrina-related claims arising from insured damage known to plaintiff at the time of the settlement.

Read Wiley v. State Farm Fire & Cas. Co., No. 09-60191

Appellate Information

Filed October 9, 2009

Judges

Opinion by Judge Wiener

Wiley v. State Farm Fire & Cas. Co., No. 09-60191

In an action for Hurricane Katrina-related insurance proceeds, summary judgment for defendant-insurer is affirmed where the parties' prior settlement agreement precluded plaintiff's claim because it unambiguously released all Katrina-related claims arising from insured damage known to plaintiff at the time of the settlement.

Read Wiley v. State Farm Fire & Cas. Co., No. 09-60191

Appellate Information

Filed October 9, 2009

Judges

Opinion by Judge Wiener

Cantu-Delgadillo v. Holder, No. 08-60122

In a petition for review of the BIA's order denying petitioner's request for administrative closure and dismissing his appeal from the BIA's order removing him from the U.S., the petition is denied where: 1) because the Department of Homeland Security opposed the administrative closure, the BIA had no discretion to administratively close the case; and 2) petitioner had no fundamental liberty interest in being able to reside with his children and work in the U.S.

Read Cantu-Delgadillo v. Holder, No. 08-60122

Appellate Information

Filed October 1, 2009

Judges

Per Curiam

US v. Flowers, No. 08-30964

In an action by the U.S. seeking reformation of a trust provision that sought to pass part of an estate to a family member free and clear of tax obligations, summary judgment for defendants is affirmed where the government was unable to demonstrate any entitlement to the disputed money by virtue of its contract with defendant establishing a payment plan for past due taxes.

Read US v. Flowers, No. 08-30964

Appellate Information

Filed October 1, 2009

Judges

Opinion by Judge Higginbotham

Fairley v. Hattiesburg, No. 08-60942

In an action under the Voting Rights Act concerning the drawing of districts for municipal elections, judgment for defendants is affirmed where: 1) plaintiffs failed to present evidence constituting a redistricting plan that would have shown either the factual or legal possibility of creating a majority-minority district by dividing college dormitory students among the city's wards; and 2) the district court did not clearly err in its use of total voting age population in making its computations.

Read Fairley v. Hattiesburg, No. 08-60942

Appellate Information

Filed September 29, 2009

Judges

Opinion by Judge Smith

US v. Rhine, No. 08-10502

Defendant's drug and firearm possession sentence is reversed where the district court clearly erred when it determined that defendant's earlier drug-related activity was relevant conduct for sentencing purposes.

Read US v. Rhine, No. 08-10502

Appellate Information

Filed September 29, 2009

Judges

Opinion by Judge Wiener