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5th Cir. Gets Technical in a Case Challenging TX Ticket Cameras

The Fifth Circuit rejected a traffic violation camera companies' attempts to drag a challenge to their validity into a federal court. The circuit court held that the more proper venue was Texas' court system.

In a wonderfully technical case that would be fit for discussion in any advanced civil procedure course, the court details rather entertainingly just how it came to its decision.

Fed Agent's Lies About Affair Tolls Statute of Limitations: 5th Cir.

The Fifth Circuit decided to err on the side of equity and toll a statute of limitations in favor of a corporation originally indicted for illegal storage of ultra-hazardous materials. According to the circuit court, the state failed to prove that the company definitely would have discovered that it was injured and how was injured.

And what was the supposed cause that exploded into this protracted debacle? A federal agent's perjuring himself over an extra-marital affair.

JSW Steel Joined in Conspiracy to Tank Competitor, 5th Cir. Affirms

The Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has ordered a major steel company, JSW steel, to pay the equivalent of $156 million in fines, affirming a jury decision that the company was involved in a conspiracy to throttle supply lines to a competitor.

The ruling comes as very bad news to JSW, which has struggled in recent years to stay profitable in the rising tide of Chinese competitors.

Coffee Barista's Don't Interact With Customers Enough for Tip Pooling

The Fifth Circuit reversed and remanded a decision by a Texas federal district court in a case that involved barista tips, Montano v. Montrose Restaurant Assoc.

The legal issue at bar was whether or not "coffeemen" (aka baristas) are lawfully entitled to a percentage customer tips under a restaurant's tip pooling arrangement. It turns out that it has little to with what you call them; it has more to do with the nature of their work.

Mandatory Arbitration Agreements for Employees OK, 5th Cir. Rules

The National Labor Relations Board has been a thorn in the Fifth Circuit's said these past few years. Several days ago, however, the panel court made it perfectly clear that it hadn't changed its mind with regards to the proper scope of the National Labor Standards Act.

The issue at bar (now apparently settled) is whether or not employers can require the signing of mandatory arbitration clauses that preclude employee lawsuits against the company. The answer? Such clauses are allowed.

Race Abuse by Students Not Within Title VI's Scope, 5th Cir. Rules

What's a school's liability for discrimination suffered by its students at the hands of other students? This was the broad legal question posed by the Fennell family in Kyana Fennell v. Marion Independent School District.

The Fifth Circuit dismiss the complaint against a Marion Independent School District (MISD) and several of its employees. The circuit court found that school officials were not "deliberately indifferent" to racist student behaviors.

The Supreme Court has granted cert to an appeal of the Fifth Circuit's ruling that native Indian tribal courts have jurisdiction to hear civil tort claims against nonmembers. Specifically, the Fifth Circuit found that a Dollar General store could be sued in tribal court after a store manager of a store on tribal land allegedly molested a young member of the Choctaw tribe.

The ruling was the first of its kind and suggested that businesses and individuals who enter into agreements with an Indian tribe, especially commercial ones, can be subject to the jurisdiction of the tribal courts. As the dissent in that case noted, it was an ambitious ruling, especially "coming from a circuit that decides little Indian law."

Mexican States Can't Sue for Damage Caused by Deepwater Horizon

Even though it happened a little over five years, the Deepwater Horizon explosion is the gift that keeps on giving -- to the environment, and to lawyers.

This week's saga involves three Mexican states -- Veracruz, Tamaulipas, and Quintana Roo -- that sued BP, Transocean, and the other usual suspects, over damages resulting from the subsequent oil spill. The Fifth Circuit affirmed denial of their claims for lack of a "proprietary interest."

Mediation Ordered in Trinity Guardrail Case

Last week, we covered the enormous verdict in the Trinity guardrail case: $175 million which, when tripled under federal law, could mean a verdict of $525 million. While Trinity has indicated it plans to appeal the jury verdict, that may not be necessary.

Why? The judge in the case has just referred the parties to mediation with a Duke Law professor, Francis McGovern, who is one of the foremost experts in alternative dispute resolution. On top of that, Trinity faces uneasy investors and declining stock prices, both of which would be alleviated by a resolution of the case.

Highway Guardrail Fraud Verdict: $525M to Gov't, Whistleblower

The United States and Joshua Harman will split a $525 million jury award following a fraud suit in Texas federal court against Trinity Industries, a company that makes those metal highway guard rails that are supposed to stop cars. Key words: supposed to.

As it turns out, some of the rails instead turned into metal skewers, slicing through car bodies and killing at least five people, injuring even more.