Antitrust Challenge to Tobacco Settlement Implementation Rejected, and Contract and Criminal Matters - Criminal Law - U.S. Fifth Circuit
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Antitrust Challenge to Tobacco Settlement Implementation Rejected, and Contract and Criminal Matters

In US v. Pack, No. 08-41063, the court of appeals affirmed defendant's convictions for possession with intent to distribute 17.91 pounds of marihuana in violation of 21 U.S.C. section 841(a)(1) and using, possessing, and carrying a Luger pistol during, in relation to, and in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime in violation of 18 U.S.C. section 924(c)(1), holding that 1) it was permissible for the police ask a passenger like defendant to identify himself and to run computer checks on his driver's license; 2) the police did not have to observe the equivalent of direct evidence of a particular specific crime in order to detain a lawfully stopped individual to investigate where there is reasonable suspicion of criminal activity on his part; and 3) the length of the detention and the scope of the officer's investigation were reasonable in light of the facts creating the reasonable suspicion criminal activity.

In US v. Roberts, No. 09-50067, the Fifth Circuit affirmed defendants' firearm possession convictions, on the grounds that ) the court would not second-guess the judgment of experienced law enforcement officers concerning the risks of this particular situation; 2) defendants did not argue that the protective sweep at issue was anything more than a cursory inspection of only those spaces where a person may hide; and 3) the police were justified in temporarily seizing the weapons under these circumstances.

In Willow Bend, L.L.C. v. Downtown ABQ Ptnrs., L.L.C., No. 09-31135, a breach of contract action in Louisiana, the court of appeals dismissed plaintiff's appeal from the dismissal of certain New Mexico-based defendants for lack of personal jurisdiction, on the ground that neither defendant remaining in the appeal was an actual party to the contract at issue or otherwise assumed a fiduciary duty to the plaintiff.

Xcaliber Int'l Ltd. LLC v. Atty. Gen., No. 09-30492, involved a challenge to an amendment to the Louisiana state law implementing the tobacco settlement between the largest manufacturers of cigarettes and most of the states.  The court of appeals affirmed summary judgment for defendant on the grounds that 1) the statute did not mandate or authorize conduct that necessarily constituted a violation of the antitrust laws in all cases; 2) since the law established a state regulatory scheme that did not require or allow any input from private parties, it could not be classified as a hybrid restraint; and 3) plaintiff's allegations of non-price coercion were undermined by the limited relief it sought.

Penthouse Owners Ass'n v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyd's, No. 09-60652, involved a claim for insurance coverage for damage caused by Hurricane Katrina.  The Fifth Circuit vacated the district court's certified order finding a windstorm deductible endorsement in the policy at issue to require coverage for the destruction of the insured's buildings by Katrina's storm surge, on the ground that, based on principles of insurance contract interpretation, under Mississippi law, the deductible endorsement at issue did not render the policy ambiguous or otherwise expand coverage to include losses excluded elsewhere in the policy.

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