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

June 2013 Archives

Hamas Victims Can't Recover Using Terrorist Funds

A family injured in a terrorist attack carried out by Hamas cannot use Holy Land Foundation funds in order to satisfy their civil judgment against Hamas.

The Holy Land Foundation (HLF) has been designated by the federal government as a terrorist organization that acts as a fundraiser for Hamas in the United States. However, the Fifth Circuit will not allow HLF funds to be used to satisfy civil judgments while the money is under criminal forfeiture proceedings.

Website Calls Lafayette Police Racist, Appeals Site Shutdown

A website alleging racist policies of the Lafayette Police Department is appealing its shutdown by a federal magistrate in 2012 to the Fifth Circuit, and the Court will hear their case in July.

The webmasters of "realcopsvcraft.com" are appealing federal magistrate Judge Pat Hanna's ruling, claiming that shutting the website down chilled their First Amendment free speech rights, reports Baton Rouge's The Advocate.

The Fifth Circuit is slated to hear the case on July 8, 2013, and what arguments will they be likely to hear?

Debt of a Salesman: 'Outside' Salesmen Are FLSA Exempt

Fifth Circuit judges came down hard on traveling salesmen on Tuesday, after ruling that a weekly salary of $300 plus commissions was in accordance with minimum wage laws.

The salesman in question, Florentino Meza, works for Intelligent Mexican Marketing, Inc. (IMM), a company that sells food and drink products to convenience stores doing sales work.

The Fifth Circuit found that Meza’s work qualified under the Fair Labor Standard Act (FLSA) exemption for “outside salesmen,” which exempted him from receiving federal minimum wage and overtime.

CNG Cabs Can Cut Line at Love Field: 5th Cir

The Fifth Circuit gave the O.K. to a Dallas ordinance which allows CNG-fueled cabs to move to the head of the line when picking up passenger’s from the city’s Love Field Airport.

The Court’s decision on Thursday in Association of Taxicab Operators USA v. City of Dallas comes as a big win for cities incentivizing compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles, which operate with lower emissions than gasoline powered vehicles.

The Fifth Circuit opined that this law is not preempted by the federal law, particularly the Clean Air Act.

5th Circuit to Exclude Judge From Execution Stay

Two judges on the Fifth Circuit agreed on Tuesday to exclude Judge Jones from the review of a death penalty stay, after Jones' "racist comments" lead to a formal complaint of judicial misconduct.

Judge Edith Jones, a former Chief Judge of the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, was impaneled with two other judges for review of a stay of execution for Elroy Chester. Chester, a convicted murderer, was executed on Wednesday evening, reports The Associated Press.

This may be one of many death penalty cases Jones may be removed from, as her purported views on the death penalty have raised objections from many.

Can't Fire Employee for Lactating, 5th Circuit Confirms

Under Title VII, a woman should not be fired for expressing breast milk or lactating, a stance now confirmed by the Fifth Circuit in their EEOC v. Houston Funding II, Ltd. opinion, filed in late May.

The Court found that firing Donnicia Venters for wishing to pump her breast milk at work was ultimately sex discrimination, which may help bridge the last four decades since the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) of 1978.

5th Cir Judge Accused of Bias Over Racial Comment

Judge Edith Jones is being accused of racial bias after a comment in her speech to the Federalist Society in February implied that Blacks and Hispanics are more involved in violent crime.

A complaint for judicial misconduct, filed by a broad coalition of civil rights organizations and legal ethics experts, alleged that Judge Jones made statements in her speech at the University of Pennsylvania School of Law that “violated basic rules of judicial ethics,” particularly the duty to remain impartial, reports MySanAntonio.com

Complaints of bias against judicial officers are not uncommon, but they are serious charges.

Can You Sue If School Outs You to Mom? Not in the 5th Cir.

Bad news for gay high school kids wanting to sue their coaches; the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last week that two Texas high school softball coaches had qualified immunity despite allegations that the two “outed” a lesbian player to her mother.

In Wyatt v. Fletcher, the Court ruled that the plaintiff’s Section 1983 claim alleging a 14th Amendment violation of privacy was vague at best and certainly not enough to overcome the public school coaches’ qualified immunity.

Is there a right to keep your sexual orientation private at public school?