Dismissal of Hurricane Katrina-Related FLSA Action Affirmed, and Criminal and Environmental Matters - U.S. Fifth Circuit
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Dismissal of Hurricane Katrina-Related FLSA Action Affirmed, and Criminal and Environmental Matters

RSR Corp. v. Int'l. Ins. Co., No. 09-10405, involved an action seeking a declaratory judgment that plaintiff had no obligations to defendant under four Environmental Impairment Liability policies that plaintiff's predecessor in interest had sold to defendant earlier.  The court of appeals affirmed summary judgment for plaintiff on the grounds that 1) by its plain language, the triggering of a condition in the policies requires only (a) the existence of "other insurance" insuring to defendant's benefit and (b) overlapping coverage between that other insurance and plaintiff's policies; 2) the policies had nothing to do with whether or not the pollution in question could be characterized as "routine"; and 3) the district court did not err in finding that a condition in the policies barred all recovery.

Thibault v. BellSouth Telecomms. Inc., No. 08-31226, concerned an action for unpaid wages arising out of electrical splicing work plaintiff performed in New Orleans, Louisiana in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.  The court of appeals affirmed the dismissal of the action on the grounds that 1) the summary judgment record does not contain sufficient evidence to support a finding that plaintiff was a Fair Labor Standards Act employee while performing splicer services; and 2) the court did not find sufficient summary judgment evidence to sustain a finding of a fixed term of employment for six months.

In US v. Bustillos-Pena, No. 08-31226, the court of appeals vacated defendant's sentence for violating 8 U.S.C. section 1326 by being knowingly and unlawfully present in the U.S. after having been deported for an aggravated felony, on the ground that applicability of a sixteen-level enhancement under section 2L1.2 of the Sentencing Guidelines was ambiguous where the defendant was deported before being sentenced to more than thirteen months of imprisonment on a conviction that predated his deportation and where the defendant was convicted of illegal reentry while incarcerated, and thus, the rule of lenity applied.

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