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

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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.

Consumers Can Partially Revoke Consent to Automated Calls

Wouldn't it be great if robocallers actually listened when you told them not to call?

That's what Emily Schweitzer was thinking when she filed suit against a credit card company for making robocalls to her at work. A trial judge dismissed her case -- because, after all, the robots weren't listening -- but a federal appeals court said she had a right to stop the work-hour calls under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.

"In law, as in life, consent need not be an all-or-nothing proposition," the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals said in Schweitzer v. Comenity Bank. "[W]e now hold that the Act permits a consumer to partially revoke her consent to be called by means of an automatic telephone dialing system."

11th Circuit to Drunken, Randy Player-Types: Caveat Emptor

This next question is going to smack some readers as being highly chauvinistic, but what does a rich man in a bar expect when beautiful young girl asks him to buy her a drink? This question, believe it or not, is at the heart of a recent Eleventh Circuit case that reversed several criminal convictions against some enterprising businesses in Miami.

The opinion is colorful, offering a dose of booze, Star Trek, film-noir, and theology in such an efficient bundle -- all of which help lead the court to answer the "what are you expecting" question with "not much."

Surcharge for Swiping Credit Cards Violates Free Speech, 11th Rules

It's only been little more than a month since the Second Circuit decided the New York case of Expression Hair Design v. Schneiderman, ruling that the state's no-surcharge law is lawful. Serendipitously, the Eleventh Circuit ruled this week that no-surcharge laws violate the First Amendment's guarantee of free speech.

The Eleventh Circuit ruled that the state's applicable statute, which bans retailers from charging a surcharge to customers who elect to use their credit cards is nonsense when taken in conjunction with the state's express allowance of offering a discount for cash.The court said it may have the look of regulating conduct, but in reality, it regulates speech.

Two Florida companies obtained a judgment of $50 million against the Dominican Republic. This was entered as a default judgment because the country failed to respond to the lawsuit. In its appeal before the Eleventh Circuit, the Dominican Republic claimed excusable neglect for failing to respond to the lawsuit.

Apparently, a low-level employee had acted on the country's behalf in deciding not to participate in the legal action. That clerical error almost cost the government $50 million. Fortunately for the Dominican Republic, they were able to raise convincing arguments on appeal before the 11th Circuit.

Unavailable Forum Invalidated Payday Lender's Arbitration Clause

The Federal Arbitration Act comes into play once again, this time in a case from the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Last month, you'll recall, the Arkansas Supreme Court struck an arbitration agreement that wasn't mutual -- the phone company, Alltel, could enforce the arbitration clause against customers, but not the other way around.

The Eleventh Circuit in Inetianbor v. CashCall, Inc. affirmed the district court's refusal to compel arbitration due to a forum selection clause and a forum that was unavailable.

11th Cir. OKs RICO Suit Against Spirit Airlines

Bargain-basement airline company Spirit Airlines is known for a lot of things. Some of them include very cheap fares; others include nickel-and-diming and a "Draconian" cancellation policy (according to The Atlantic) that allows Spirit to cancel a customer's reservation, without notice, and without compensation, if the customer isn't at the boarding gate 15 minutes before the flight (even if he's already checked in).

Bryan Ray was fed up with this. Not only did he file a class action against Spirit, but he made his a civil RICO claim. That's right: He said Spirit was engaged in "racketeering," and the predicate crimes were mail and wire fraud due to Spirit's penchant for charging ancillary "fees" that placed the final price of a ticket well beyond what the customer was told it would cost.

Collection 'Fees' or 'Costs'? Contractual Language Nails Debt Collector

This is an important case to check out if you work in the debt collection industry, or you work against the debt collection industry.

Two plaintiffs, with nearly identical back-stories, had outstanding medical bills. Neither paid their bills. Both accounts were referred to Franklin Collection Service, Inc., after the original healthcare providers tacked on a "collection fee" of 30 to 33.3 percent. Franklin had agreements with both providers that awarded it 30 percent of whatever it collected.

The difference? One plaintiff, Calma, signed an agreement that allowed for "all costs of collection including reasonable interest, reasonable attorney's fees (if suit is filed) and reasonable collection agency fees," while the other, Bradley, signed an agreement that agreed that he would be responsible for the "costs of collection."

Court Lets Atlanta Water Dispute Flow Into Mediation

Atlanta, the city best known for its "Real Housewives" cast and streets with peachy names, could soon have a new claim to fame as the city with the most legal battles involving water rights.

Earlier this year, the Supreme Court refused to hear the tri-state battle between Florida, Alabama, and Georgia over Atlanta's dependence on Lake Lanier as its primary water source.

This week, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against Atlanta in a separate aquatic dispute over the southern mega-city's water contract with its neighbor, Sandy Springs.

Donkeys and FCC Orders: Court Lacks Jurisdiction to Hear Fee Case

In September, Eleventh Circuit Judge J.L. Edmondson called out fellow Circuit Judge Ed Carnes for his lengthy opinions. (While Judge Carnes' writing may be verbose, we gravitate toward his opinions because he is easily the most engaging writer on the Eleventh Circuit bench.)

This week, Judge Carnes authored a 25-page opinion explaining why a disgruntled Alabama telecomm customer can't recover improperly assessed fees from AT&T. In true Carnes fashion, rife with analogies about donkeys in lions' hides, Carnes explains why the district court didn't have subject matter jurisdiction to hear the case.