U.S. Eleventh Circuit - The FindLaw 11th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog


$100,000 Lesson on Employee Arbitration Agreements

Be careful what you ask for.

That should be the mantra for lawyers who advise businesses about arbitration clauses in employment agreements. It's cheap advice, given the real cost of arbitration.

In Hernandez v. Acosta, it turned out to be a $100,000 lesson. That's how much the employer owed in arbitration fees, which far exceeded the company's liability to one worker.

One Alabama lawyer is learning a harsh lesson courtesy of the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals and his attempt to fight a foreclosure on behalf of his clients.

In addition to having his appeal thrown out and his ability to draft a complaint trashed in a published federal appellate opinion, he was ordered to show cause as to why he shouldn't pay double his opponent's fees, costs and expenses. However, before you start to break out the tiny violins, it might not be the worst idea to take a look at what the appellate court had to say in Jackson v. Bank of America.

Court Says No Joint Employer Because 'Employer' Is a Homonym

Gaudencio Garcia-Celestino did not expect to get a grammar lesson from the federal appeals court.

In Garcia-Celestino v. Ruiz Harvesting, Inc., the issue was whether he worked for an "employer" under general common law principles. The U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals said he did not, which meant he lost his case against a company that employed him to pick fruit.

Fortunately for Garcia-Celestino and his fellow workers, they settled their claims against another company that paid them to do the work. The difference, the appeals court said, came down to a homonym.

On July 31, Georgia Supreme Court judge Britt Grant was confirmed as the newest justice for the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals by a vote of 52 to 46.

Although she was just appointed to her seat on Georgia's highest court in 2017 by the state's governor, and has barely just gotten that bench warm, she'll soon be taking the place of Judge Julie Carnes, who only recently stepped down to senior status. Grant was nominated before Carnes even scooted off the bench, and probably would have been confirmed that soon too, if it wasn't for political in-fighting.

No one likes or wants to be searched at any border. But in these times of hypersensitive border security, with nearly every traveler carrying minimally one or more pieces of high powered technology (seriously, even your first iPhone could do a lot), the issue of electronics border searches is a hot one.

Finding that a search of an electronic device at the border does not require probable cause, nor even reasonable suspicion, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals has broken with the Fourth and Ninth Circuits. In United States v. Touset, the defendant was found to be in possession of child pornography on his laptop computer and external hard drive as he crossed the border at customs in the airport in Atlanta, GA. After accepting a plea, the defendant appealed the district court's denial of a motion to suppress the evidence gathered during the border search.

It is a rare thing when appellate courts decide to reconsider cases en banc.

That was one of the sticking points in Bostock v. Clayton County Board of Commissioners, out of the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. The appeals court didn't take the case, prompting the dissenters to say the majority was dodging a momentous issue.

Two justices, out of twelve, said gay and lesbian rights in the workplace were important enough to compel the Second and Seventh Circuits to act en banc. The Eleventh Circuit, however, apparently not.

While companies that make money off disrupting regulated industries will frequently find themselves facing legal challenges, rarely do these companies wind up with a nemesis.

Unfortunately for Airbnb, a large property management company's legal actions against the short-term rental disrupter are rising to that level. The federal lawsuit Aimco brought against Airbnb in California was recently dismissed; however, their similar case in Florida's state court has now survived a motion to dismiss.

When news of the Parkland school shooting broke, the nation was shocked and saddened. While school shootings seem to occur with an alarming frequency, the high death toll at Parkland, and the failure of the first responders, really set it apart.

Notably, due to the onsite law enforcement officers failing to take appropriate action, a group of students have banded together to file the most recent lawsuit related to the shooting. As disturbing as the shooting was, when it was reported that onsite law enforcement actually ran away from the shooter and refused to enter the building after escaping, outrage and litigation ensued.

Website Accessibility Claim Against Hooters Revived

Dennis Haynes, who is blind and disabled, can navigate the internet using screen-reader software.

He wanted to read the Hooters website, but the website was not compatible with his software. He sued under the Americans with Disabilities Act to compel Hooters to make its website accessible to the visually impaired.

A trial judge dismissed, saying the case was moot because Hooters had already settled a similar suit that required the company to make similar accommodations. In Haynes v. Hooters of America, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals vacated and remanded.

Should Executions Be Made Public?

Before 1936, the United States had a long history of public executions.

Rainey Bethea was the last person to be hanged publicly, when he was put to death that year for murdering and raping a 70-year-old woman. But that "carnival in Owensboro" led to a banning of public executions in America.

Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber, changed that when he requested a public execution in 2001. Doyle Lee Hamm wanted next, and a federal judge wanted to give it to him.