5th Circuit Court Rules News - U.S. Fifth Circuit
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For a long, long while, we've wondered what was up with the Fifth Circuit's longstanding vacancies. In fact, just last week, I was speculating about the cause of the vacancies (a Democratic president versus two Republican senators) on FindLaw's Strategist blog. Looks like I'm not the only one wondering what's up: A blog post on the Thomson Reuters Legal Solutions blog goes into detail on the vacancies, as well as possible upcoming vacancies that could drastically change the court.

And speaking of change, the Clerk's Office at the Fifth Circuit has announced that starting this Wednesday, there will be none -- exact change is required for cash payments. I thought the announcement and new policy were pretty hilarious and inconvenient, but then the court, responding to jokes at its expense, explained the really good reason behind the change regarding change.

BP has taken its last gasp of air as it seeks it's one and only option in the ongoing saga of the oil-spill settlement agreement the company hastily signed. After unsuccessful attempts with the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, the oil giant is now trying its hand with the U.S. Supreme Court.

Whether the Supreme Court will grant cert. remains to be seen, but in the meantime, let's take a look at the legal backdrop of the case.

Walmart v. Dukes is one of those landmark decisions that will confuse law students for decades to come, but it was more than an interesting legal citation. The Supreme Court's holding decertified a class of 1.5 million current female employees of the retail giant, shortly after the Ninth Circuit had already removed a separate group, former employees, from the class.

It's this last group, led by named plaintiff Stephanie Odle, which will continue its fight in a district court in Dallas, after the Fifth Circuit revived her putative class action, approximately thirteen years after she first brought suit as part of the larger Dukes class.

In an attempt to make life easier for its clerks and judges, the Fifth Circuit has started to insert hyperlinks for citations in its decisions.

Three opinions published since Friday, including an immigration case we covered in our last post, have been updated with shiny blue links for each citation.

But do these links actually work?

So you plan on going into the Fifth Circuit for the first time, and you're psyched. It may be an exciting moment for new attorneys or even veteran litigators, but you need to take care of some business before you arrive.

Show up at the Fifth Circuit prepared by completing these three to-do's.

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.

Pharmacy Pseudoephedrine Logs Are Nontestimonial Business Records

In case you didn't already know this from watching "Breaking Bad," pharmacies track your pseudoephedrine purchases because the drug is commonly used to make meth.

That's why you get carded when you buy cold meds. It isn't enough for pharmacies to limit customers' pseudoephedrine purchases at a single store because meth-producers could just hop from store to store to buy the amounts they need. The driver's license tracking system arguably makes it harder for producers to get their hands on the drug.

This week, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that those pseudoephedrine transaction logs are nontestimonial business records, which means that it's pretty easy for the government to introduce the logs at trial.

No Trial for Pro Se Plaintiff Who Tried Court's Patience

A court’s patience will only take you so far in the wild world of federal appeals. When a plaintiff fails to perfect proper service or respond to a motion to dismiss, that patience will eventually wear thin.

Such was the case last week, when the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a district court had not abused its discretion in dismissing a complaint after the plaintiff squandered multiple opportunities to perfect service of process. The good news for lawyers? If a pro se plaintiff keeps trying the court's patience, the case will eventually be dismissed.

Attorney Misconduct vs. Unsportsmanlike Conduct: Don't be a Saint

In case you didn't see it, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals' hometown team, the New Orleans Saints, won the NFC South title on Monday night with a 45-16 win over the Eleventh Circuit's Atlanta Falcons. Quarterback Drew Brees added to the excitement of the win, setting a new, NFL, single-season passing record.

And while Brees' record-breaking pass is the most talked-about moment of the game, running back Pierre Thomas' first-quarter antics have also created buzz. After scoring the Saints' first touchdown of the game, Thomas pulled a bow out of his uniform, stuck it on the ball, and gave it to a fan, resulting in a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.

Fifth Circuit Rehearing En Banc, Miscellaneous Fees Changing

Changes are coming to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. The Fifth Circuit is adopting a new rehearing en banc amendment and a new fee schedule.

The changes to the en banc rehearing rule were approved following a public comment period. The amended rule, Fifth Circuit Rule 41.3, states: