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

December 2017 Archives

Justice Don Willett, the Texas Tweeter Laureate, may be a favorite of appellate lawyer Twitter (which, yes, appellate Twitter is a thing), but if the numbers are any indication, his popularity among Senators fell along strict party lines. The 50 to 47 vote went his way, but just barely.

Both Justice Willett, and James Ho, were nominated to seats on the Fifth Circuit, and this week, both had their nominations confirmed. Interestingly, Ho seemed to garner more partisan support than the social media savvy Willett. The Senate voted Ho in 53 to 43.

Court Upholds Conviction of Angry IT Guy for Damaging Computer System

Everybody knows that the IT guy can make or break a computer system.

Everybody also knows he's not supposed to break it on purpose. Michael Thomas, however, apparently didn't get that memo.

Thomas, chief technology officer for a software company, said he had permission to damage the system. In United States of America v. Thomas, the jury and the courts said, "uh, no."

A federal district court judge has been booted off the case of Robinson v. Jackson State University as a result of some questionable judgments. The jury returned a verdict in favor of the terminated university employee, however, the verdict was left to languish in a post-judgment limbo due to judicial inaction.

Then when the plaintiff's attorney attempted to spur some action from the court by requesting a judicial transfer, a year after the jury rendered its verdict, Southern District of Mississippi Judge Henry Wingate ruled that the defendants post-judgment motion for a judgment notwithstanding the verdict (as a matter of law) was granted. Escalating matters even further, Judge Wingate awarded defendants costs. Plaintiff timely appealed what, for all intents and purposes, appeared to be a spiteful ruling.

Insurance Doesn't Cover Ponzi Scheme Losses

If somebody steals your car, your insurance should cover it. Right?

But what if you loan somebody your car, and they crash it commiting a robbery? Will your insurance pay then?

That's the gist of a deal gone wrong in an insurance case, Cooper Industries, Ltd. v. National Union Fire Insurance Company. The Fifth Circuit said the insurer didn't have to pay for a company that lost money it loaned to fraudsters in a Ponzi scheme.

'Deep Division' in Planned Parenthood Ruling

Facing a stalemate, a federal appeals court let stand a ruling that continues Medicaid funds to Planned Parenthood in Louisiana.

The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals split 7-7 on whether to reconsider a decision in favor of Planned Parenthood. The organization, which provides abortion services, had sued after the former governor tried to block the funding.

In Planned Parenthood of Gulf Coast v. Gee, the en banc panel of judges divided sharply. The vote is a harbinger of more litigation in other states, but the court itself will change before that happens.