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

First Amendment Challenge to San Antonio Parade Fee, and Criminal and Immigration Matters

In Ecuadorian Plaintiffs v. Chevron Corp., No. 10-20389, an action alleging that defendant-Chevron polluted the Ecuadorian Amazon Rainforest over the course of several decades while engaging in oil extraction in the region, the court affirmed district court's order directing plaintiffs' consultants to submit to a foundational deposition, holding that 1) it made no sense to require defendant to seek the consulting firm's documents from an Ecuadorean official, given the plaintiffs' denial that they provided any such documents to the official and his interest in denying receipt of the firm's material; and 2) the record did not clearly demonstrate that defendant was attempting to evade restrictions on discovery in Ecuador.

In International Women's Day March Planning Comm. v. San Antonio, No. 09-50692, a First Amendment challenge to the City of San Antonio's imposition of fees on the organizers of marches on its streets, as a means of ensuring that march organizers pay for the expense of providing traffic control and cleanup for these events, the court affirmed summary judgment for defendants where 1) the city's financial support for certain processions was not government speech exempt from First Amendment scrutiny; and 2) San Antonio's decision to selectively subsidize a limited number of events could be permissible, as long as the City did not discriminate invidiously in its subsidies in such a way as to aim at the suppression of dangerous ideas, or leverage its power to award subsidies into a penalty on disfavored viewpoints.

In US v. Armstrong, No. 08-20323, the court affirmed defendants' convictions for engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from specified unlawful activity, conspiracy, and aiding and abetting mail fraud, holding that ) the trial court's instructions dispelled any danger that the jury would give weight to the exhibit at issue as substantive evidence or to bolster credibility; 2) certain challenged statements were not offered for the truth of the matter asserted and thus were not hearsay; and 3) the district court did not abuse its discretion by allowing the use of a summary witness.

Related Resources