U.S. Fifth Circuit - The FindLaw 5th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

Action Regarding Fatal Police Shooting, Plus Contract Action

Valle v. Houston, No. 09-20624, involved an action based on an incident in which decedent was shot and killed by Houston police officers during an incident at his family's home.  The Fifth Circuit affirmed on the grounds that 1) although an officer's decision to order entry into plaintiffs' home was arguably the "moving force" behind the constitutional violations that resulted in decedent's death, because his decision was not a decision by a final policymaker of the City, the City could not be liable; and 2) plaintiffs failed to present sufficient evidence of causation as to the entry of their home.

Bonn Operating Co. v. Devon Energy Prod. Co., No. 09-11040, concerned an action for breach of a joint operating agreement regarding an oil field.  The court of appeals affirmed summary judgment for defendant on the grounds that 1) case law was clear that "commencement of operations" for the drilling of a well occurs before the well is spudded; 2) defendant properly charged plaintiff for penalties from the date it commenced operations on the well until payout; and 3) plaintiff was estopped from claiming that the expenses incurred on the well before the ballot were not properly chargeable.

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