Hurricane Katrina Insurance Action, and Contract, Criminal and Environmental Matters - U.S. Fifth Circuit
U.S. Fifth Circuit - The FindLaw 5th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

Hurricane Katrina Insurance Action, and Contract, Criminal and Environmental Matters

In Bradley v. Allstate Ins. Co., No. 09-30035, an action seeking insurance proceeds arising from the total destruction of plaintiffs' home as a result of flood and wind damage suffered during Hurricane Katrina, the court affirmed partial summary judgment for defendant in part where the district court did not err in concluding that defendant was entitled to judgment as a matter of law on plaintiffs' claim for loss of contents.  However the court vacated in part where 1) the district court needed to evaluate certain causation issues and ascertain the applicability of the section 5(e) total loss provision; and 2) it was undisputed that plaintiffs had not repaired, rebuilt, or replaced the property within the two-year period allowed under the policy and Louisiana law.

In Celanese Corp. v. Martin K. Eby Co., No. 09-20487, an action under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), and the Texas Solid Waste Disposal Act (SWDA), claiming that, during an excavation, defendant failed to investigate what it hit in a pipeline corridor and rectify any damage, the court affirmed judgment for defendant where defendant was not liable as an "arranger" under CERCLA or the SWDA.

In US v. de Cay, No. 09-30218, defendants' appeal of the district court's order granting garnishment of one defendant's contributions to, and one defendant's monthly benefits from, state pension funds pursuant to a criminal restitution order, the court affirmed in part where 1) the Mandatory Victim Restitution Act allowed garnishment of a defendant's retirement benefits to satisfy a criminal restitution order; and 2) the U.S. had the constitutional authority to impose mandatory restitution for particular federal crimes and seek garnishment of any available resources to satisfy that restitution order.  However, the court vacated in part where the U.S. could garnish only twenty-five percent of defendant's monthly pension benefits.

In US v. Meza, No. 09-40793, the court affirmed defendant's sentence for immigrant-trafficking where the sentencing judge's reformulation of the sentence was permissible under 18 U.S.C. section 3582(c) and Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 35(a) because there was no formal break in the proceedings from which to logically and reasonably conclude that sentencing had finished.

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