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

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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.

Florida Corp. Loses Wisteria Island to the USA

The United States came out as a victor in a land title dispute with a Florida Corporation. F.E.B. Corp., a Florida company that sought to quiet title in Wisteria Island, an artificial landmass that was created by the Navy as a dumping grounds for seabed in order to improve shipping and aviation access. It lost a major fight in the Eleventh Circuit Court this week.

The case implicates the Quiet Title Act, possibly the only federal act that allows claimants to challenge a US claim to property. The Submerged Land Act Issue within the case is not addressed here as it is not critical to the outcome of the case.

Kaley v. United States: Landmark Asset Forfeiture Case?

Facing federal charges for reselling used medical equipment that may have belonged to Kerri Kaley's employer, Kerri and her husband, Brian Kaley, took out a home equity loan worth $500,000 in order to cover their legal defense costs. The money was then seized under asset forfeiture laws, with the district court refusing to grant so much as a hearing.

That was certainly a mistake, and the Eleventh Circuit agreed, reversing and remanding to the district court in Kaley I. Instead of a full hearing, where the Kaleys could challenge the indictment, the district court limited the issue to only whether the assets seized could be traced to the alleged offenses. The Kaleys presented no evidence (their defense isn't that they didn't do it -- it's that it wasn't illegal), and later appealed, arguing that a full hearing on the validity of the indictment was required.

The Eleventh Circuit disagreed in Kaley II, stating that the Due Process Clause does not "require the district court to try the case twice."

Supreme Court Won't Answer Odyssey Marine's Booty Call

The Supreme Court denied certiorari in a dispute over sunken treasure on Monday. The High Court's refusal to reconsider the issue closes a case that was over 200 years in the making. The district court and Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals decisions, finding that Spain was entitled to the loot under sovereign immunity, are now final.

Let's go back to the beginning to see how this case began its journey.

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.

Odyssey's Booty Plundered? Spain Wins Sovereign Immunity Appeal

Plundering was once the exclusive purview of pirates and scoundrels.

Then, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals realized that, as a coastal appellate district, it too was ripe for some plundering fun. And so the Eleventh Circuit decided to get in the pirate game, pillaging appellants' somewhat-stolen splendors of the seas.

But, as facts are never quite as simple as alliteration allows, we have to go back to 2007 to see how the Eleventh Circuit's plundering proclivities developed.

Circuit Won't Re-Hear Lake Lanier Water Withdrawal Dispute

The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals will not issue further opinions in a decades-long water dispute between Florida, Alabama, and Georgia unless the Supreme Court intervenes. On Monday, the court rejected a request from Florida and Alabama to vacate a unanimous water rights decision from a three-judge panel.

The source of the controversy? Atlanta-area death trap Lake Lanier, better known for summer drowning accidents than for its water supply.

Anthony v. Am. Gen'l. Fin. Servs., Inc., No. 08-15983

Mortgage Notary Fee Assessment Action

In Anthony v. Am. Gen'l. Fin. Servs., Inc., No. 08-15983, an action challenging defendant American General Financial Services's assessment of mortgage notary fees that exceeded the statutory maximum set by OCGA section 45-17-11(b), the court affirmed the dismissal of the complaint in part where 1) the district court properly dismissed the plaintiffs' private civil claim under the Georgia notary fee statute; and 2) the district court did not err by dismissing plaintiffs' fraud and "money had and received" claims as filed outside the statute of limitations.  However, the court vacated in part where defendant possessed an express and affirmative statutory duty to disclose the maximum statutory notary fee of $4.00.

Wooten v. Quicken Loans, Inc., No. 08-11245

Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act Action Dismissed

In Wooten v. Quicken Loans, Inc., No. 08-11245, an action for violation of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, the court affirmed the dismissal of the complaint where, in connection with a residential mortgage loan, charging a loan discount payment -- otherwise known as "points" or "discount points" -- to provide a specific, below-market interest rate did not constitute the "rendering of a real estate settlement service" within the meaning of 12 U.S.C. section 2607(b).

  • Alvarez v. Royal Atlantic Developers, Inc., No. 08-15358, concerned a national origin discrimination action under Title VII claiming that defendant terminated plaintiff because she was Cuban-American.  The Eleventh Circuit affirmed summary judgment for defendant in part on the ground that Title VII did not require the employer's needs and expectations to be objectively reasonable; it simply prohibited the employer from discriminating on the basis of membership in a protected class.  However, the court reversed in part, holding that plaintiff's letter to management contained no threats against the company or anyone else, nor did it provide a reasonable basis for inferring that she would try to disrupt operations.

    Neumont v. Fla., No. 04-13610, involved an action by a class of property owners in Monroe County, Florida, seeking to stop enforcement of an ordinance restricting vacation rentals.  The court of appeals affirmed summary judgment for defendant, holding that 1) the Florida Supreme Court advised the Eleventh Circuit that the ordinance was not unlawfully enacted; and 2) plaintiffs had an obligation to exhaust their state remedies for the specific ordinance and its application before they could challenge a taking under that ordinance in federal court.

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