Criminal, Education, Employment and Personal Injury Matters - U.S. Fifth Circuit
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Criminal, Education, Employment and Personal Injury Matters

In Gregory v. Thaler, No. 08-20423, the court of appeals affirmed the denial of petitioner's habeas petition, holding that 1) petitioner's conclusory statements regarding the content of the uncalled witnesses testimony were insufficient to demonstrate ineffective assistance; and 2) in any event, it was unlikely that either uncalled witness would have been available to testify on petitioner's behalf.

US v. Texas, No. 08-40858, involved defendants' appeal from the district court's order holding that defendant State of Texas denied students with limited-English proficiency (LEP students) equal educational opportunities in Texas public schools, thereby violating the court's longstanding injunctive order and Section 1703(f) of the Equal Educational Opportunities Act (EEOA).  The court of appeals reversed, on the grounds that 1) even if, as the trial court suggested, intervenors raised new facts suggesting a violation of the injunction's broader principle of equal educational opportunities, there was no finding of statewide de jure segregation of Mexican Americans in Texas, and thus the lower court erred in finding that intervenors could establish a violation; 2) the issues raised by intervenors' EEOA claim had not been properly addressed in the absence of individual school districts as parties; 3) reasonable minds could differ over what comparative method was most effective to determine whether language barriers were being overcome, and there was no evidence that the district court's preferred method of comparison was better than that of the State's; and 4) there was no finding nor sufficient evidence that individual districts were ignoring LEP underperformance on individual campuses or sufficient evidence of resulting actual harm to such campuses and their students.

Carmona v. Southwest Airlines Co., No. 08-51175, involved an action claiming that the termination of plaintiff's employment violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  The court of appeals reversed partial judgment for defendants, on the grounds that 1) there was sufficient evidence for a reasonable jury to find that plaintiff was an "individual with a disability" within the meaning of the ADA, because there was sufficient evidence for a reasonable jury to conclude that he had an impairment, psoriatic arthritis, that substantially limited his major life activity of walking; 2) there was sufficient evidence that defendant's own actions reflected that attendance on scheduled days was not required to qualify for the position of flight attendant; and 3) a reasonable jury could have found defendant's proffered explanation for plaintiff's discharge was false and that the true reason was his disability.

Wells v. SmithKline Beecham Corp., No. 09-50244, concerned an action claiming that defendant pharmaceutical manufacturer failed to warn plaintiff that one of its drugs could cause him to become a compulsive gambler.  The court of appeals affirmed summary judgment for defendant, holding that plaintiff's expert testimony did not establish a causal relationship between the drug and gambling.

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