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

April 2016 Archives

No Good Faith Required Between University and Students in TX

A Texas case coming out of the Fifth Circuit should remind practitioners to watch your step in Texas with regards to breach of good-faith suits. A student who sued Southern Methodist University for breach of good and fair dealing, but discovered that his relationship with his school fell decidedly outside of Texas' handful of recognized and protected relationships.

When you go to the Lone Star State, take note of the relationships in which you enter formal agreements. You might not be getting what you thought you bargained for.

5th Circuit Ruling in Lawyer Speech Case Is a Teachable Moment

A recent Fifth Circuit ruling can be regarded as a teachable moment to attorneys who do not strictly adhere to local court rules governing attorney interactions with previous clients. In general, an attorney cannot make out of court statements that could reasonably be foreseen to have a material prejudicial effect on the administration of justice.

Although this sounds like a restraint on speech, lawyers would do well to heed this general rule lest they risk angering the ethics board.

5th Circ. Vacates Injunction That Halted Google Child Porn Inquiry

The free speech interests of Internet users and countervailing states' interests will clash in court, according to the Fifth Circuit. The court overturned a lower district court injunction that stopped Mississippi's AG from investigating whether Google's search platform aided illicit Internet traffic including drugs and child porn.

Although this is not a case the circuit reviewed on the merits, it is at least the second case we've written about that deals with issues of user-freedoms and the public good.

OSHA and Walmart: 'Cookie-Cutter' Compliance Won't Do, 5th Circ. Rules

A recent Fifth Circuit ruling, which affirmed OSHRC's interpretation of a key OSHA provision, should prove helpful to companies concerned about compliance issues. Apparently, a cookie-cutter approach simply will not do. As Walmart learned, if you're a company with multiple identical buildings that must be OSHA compliant, it's no good arguing "they're all the same, anyway."

It was a strange outcome at the circuit level. Although it was found that the offending company Walmart was in violation of OSHA, it still managed to wiggle itself off the hook with a truly modest sum: $1,700.

Fifth Circuit Remands Helicopter Contract Case

A recent Fifth Circuit case highlights the importance of making sure that indemnity clauses in commercial goods sales are airtight.

In Perry Luig v. North Bay Enterprises, the First Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a lower court's ruling that a defendant company should not be heard to present evidence that they had been bilked into buying a helicopter that was not "airworthy." Was this a material question of fact? Probably.