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

Court Revives Grandma's Case Against Officials Who Sent Her to Men's Jail

Fior Pichardo de Veloz was on her way to Miami for the birth of her grandchild when a not-so-funny thing happened.

She was arrested on old drug charges, but that wasn't it. What happened next made all the newspapers: police took her to the men's jail.

It got worse. That's why she sued in Pichardo de Veloz v. Miami-Dade County.

A recent Engle-progeny case decided by the Eleventh Circuit is making headlines as Phillip Morris and RJ Reynolds just had a $20 plus million judgment reinstated by an appellate panel.

Sadly, the plaintiff's estate had to bring the appeal as the plaintiff, Judith Berger, passed. Notably though, Mrs. Berger did testify at trial, and won. Unfortunately, during a post-judgment motion, the court vacated the $20 million in punitive damages that were awarded.

This Thursday's deadline for the Florida 2018 midterm election recount had been looming as a Florida House hopeful asked the court to extend the deadline.

Jim Bonfiglio, who is the mayor of Ocean Ridge, at the last count, was trailing his opponent, Mike Caruso, by only 37 votes. Bonfiglio's emergency request to extend the deadline for the recount was granted, and the deadline for the state to complete its recount has been pushed out five additional days to November 20.

Exact Match Voter-ID Law in Georgia Tossed by Federal Judge

By the time voters exit the polls in Georgia, the "exact match" and the shooting match will be over.

They will have chosen a new governor, and the decision in Georgia Coalition for the People's Agenda v. Kemp won't matter. A judge had ruled the state's "exact match" voter identification requirement was an undue burden on voters.

It could have been an issue in the race for governor between Democrat Stacey Abrams and Secretary of State Brian Kemp. As politics would have it, Kemp was also the defendant in the case.

The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled that Fastcase's petition for declaratory relief against Lawriter may proceed to the merits stage.

In short, this case relates to Lawriter's claim that Fastcase is infringing upon its rights to the Georgia code by accessing the code that Lawriter publishes on behalf of the state. Interestingly though, the federal district court dismissed the matter due to its belief that Lawriter doesn't actually have any rights to enforce, and due to a lack of jurisdiction. The appellate court disagreed on both grounds and reversed.

Judge: Georgia, Don't Toss Absentee Ballots

"Mismatched signatures" may take over "hanging chads" for the most contested ballots in recent American politics.

While 2000 was the year of the hanging chad, 2018 is turning into the year of mismatched signatures. In Georgia, a judge has issued a temporary restraining order against officials who have been rejecting absentee ballots based on discrepancies in signatures.

The hot-button issue is raging among activists who claim the Secretary of State is manipulating the ballot count. That's a problem for Secretary Brian Kemp because he is also running for governor.

Georgia Code Can't Be Copyrighted, 11th Circuit Rules

A federal appeals court said Georgia's annotated code cannot be copyrighted, which was not quite as settled a law as lawyers might think.

In Code Revision Commission v. Public Resource.Org, the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals said the law cannot be copyrighted because it belongs to the public. It was another victory for an open-law advocate who copied the entire state code and published it on the internet.

Carl Malamud, a regular thorn in the side of government, tweeted his victory dance with a song. Attorneys for the state of Georgia and at least one judge were not amused.

A recent decision of the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals helps to provide OSHA and OSHA-regulated businesses with some certainty as to when the courts should issue an administrative search warrant sought by OSHA.

The case, USA v. Mar-Jac Poultry, involved a large poultry processor that reported an industrial injury to OSHA, as required, then became the subject of what it contended was undue scrutiny. After OSHA succeeded in getting a warrant issued for, pretty much, a full search, Mar-Jac successful fought to quash the warrant. When the district court agreed, and essentially told OSHA to seek a more limited warrant, OSHA appealed.

Ricin Possession Charges Dropped for Technicality

Sometimes, a criminal case falls through the cracks.

It shouldn't happen, and everybody knows that -- especially when it's a terrible crime. That's what a federal judge had to deal with in Georgia.

A white supremacist had been charged with possession of ricin -- a biological toxin that can kill you just by inhaling it. But the judge dismissed the case because lawmakers "inexplicably" took it off the dangerous toxin list.

A recent decision out of the Eleventh Circuit may have arbitration agreements the nation over getting rewritten.

The JPay v. Kobel case concerned whether JPay customers were limited to the federal court to have class claims heard. After the district court decided that the customers were in fact limited to the federal court, despite the existence of an arbitration agreement, the matter was dismissed on summary judgment. Fortunately for the customers though, the appellate court held that the lower court made a significant error requiring reversal.