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

February 2012 Archives

Eleventh Circuit to Hear Alabama Immigration Law Appeal March 1

The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments on the legality of HB 56, the Alabama immigration law, on Thursday, March 1, according to WBRC. (The Eleventh Circuit famously avoids publishing its calendar on its website, so we're forced to rely on third parties for these kinds of details.)

The law -- which mandates public school immigration status checks, criminalizes transporting undocumented immigrants, requires E-Verify checks of all potential employees' status, and instructs police to check the immigration status of stopped person suspected of being an undocumented immigrant -- has faced mounting obstacles between federal injunctions and public outcry.

Eleventh Circuit: Forced Decryption is Self-Incrimination

The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled this week that a child pornography suspect appearing before a grand jury is allowed to invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and refuse to decrypt the contents of his computers.

John Doe, the suspect at the center of the controversy, was served with a subpoena duces tecum, requiring him to appear before a grand jury and produce the unencrypted contents from his laptop computers and five external hard drives. Doe informed the U.S. Attorney that he would invoke his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination and refuse to comply with the subpoena.

Reversed: Relators Adequately Alleged FCA Elements Against Medco

The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a Florida district court's dismissal of a False Claims Act lawsuit this week, finding that the relators bringing the case had sufficiently stated a claim upon which relief could be granted.

Lucas Matheny and Deborah Loveland brought a qui tam action against their employer's parent company, Medco Health Solutions, Inc. (Medco) and its subsidiaries, alleging violations of the reverse false claim provision of the False Claims Act.

Obama Nominates Jill Pryor for the Eleventh Circuit

It’s been a busy week for the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. After an attempted filibuster, the Senate confirmed Judge Adalberto Jordán for a seat on the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday.

Thursday, President Obama followed up Judge Jordán's confirmation with a new Eleventh Circuit nominee, Atlanta Attorney Jill Pryor. If confirmed, Pryor would fill Judge Stanley Burch's spot on the Atlanta-based appellate court, which has been vacant since August 2010.

Senate Confirms Judge Adalberto Jordán for Eleventh Circuit

After Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky) held up the confirmation vote earlier in the week, the Senate confirmed Judge Adalberto José Jordán for a seat on the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday by a vote of 94-5, reports The Washington Post.

President Obama nominated Jordán in August to succeed Senior Judge Susan Black.

Alabama, Florida Ask SCOTUS for Lake Lanier Water Rights Ruling

If the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals doesn’t want to wade into the interstate Lake Lanier water rights dispute, maybe the Supreme Court will.

In September, the Eleventh Circuit rejected a request from Florida and Alabama to vacate a three-judge panel’s unanimous decision regarding the long-running water rights dispute between Florida, Alabama, and Georgia over Lake Lanier water withdrawal. Florida and Alabama asked the Supreme Court to resolve the Lake Lanier dispute on Monday.

VSU Administrator Violated Expelled Student's Due Process Rights

Ronald Zaccari, the former President of Valdosta State University (VSU), expelled Thomas Hayden Barnes, a student, from the University in 2007 on the ground that Barnes presented a "clear and present danger" to the campus.

Granted, it was in the wake of the Virginia Tech massacre, and college administrators were a little jumpy, but Barnes did not receive a notice or a hearing before his expulsion. This week, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously ruled that Zaccari could be held personally liable for violating Barnes' due process rights, reports The Huffington Post.

First, let's back up to discuss the wrongdoing that prompted the expulsion: Barnes was expelled for protesting a planned parking deck on the VSU campus.

Court Applies Collateral Estoppel to Stop Illegal Reentry Prosecution

This week, a defendant prevailed in his appeal to dismiss an indictment charging him with one count of illegal reentry by an alien.

The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with Emiliano Valdiviez-Garza that the indictment must be dismissed based on collateral estoppel, and reversed and remanded the case with instructions to dismiss the indictment.

HIV-Positive Cop Applicant's Discrimination Claim Reinstated

The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals has one of the fastest hearing-to-decision turnaround times in the country. When this appellate court decides that an injustice has occurred, it moves quickly.

Last week, the Atlanta-based court heard arguments in an HIV-positive cop applicant's discrimination claim. Wednesday, the court ruled for the appellant, finding that he could pursue his discrimination claim against the Atlanta Police Department for denying his application based on his HIV status, reports the Associated Press.

Eleventh Circuit Upholds Florida's Anti-Gerrymandering Law

Every ten years, states draw new election districts after the census. In most states, the legislature executes this task, which means that the controlling party creates a redistricting map that looks more like a Picasso than a rational division of the state's voting populace.

Florida voters decided to kick cubist gerrymandering out of the state in 2010 with Amendment Six, a compact district amendment proposed by FairDistrictsFlorida.org. This week, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the voters, rejecting a challenge from politicians who wanted to stick with the golden days of incumbent-favoring redistricting maps, reports the Associated Press.