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

Conviction for Making False Statement to Customs Officer Vacated, and Criminal and Insurance Matters

Stewart Enters., Inc. v. RSUI Indemn. Co., No. 09-30722, concerned an action by an owner of cemeteries, funeral homes and other commercial properties throughout New Orleans against its excess insurer to recover for wind and flood damage sustained during a storm.  The court reversed partial summary judgment for defendant, on the grounds that 1) under Louisiana law, ambiguities in the policy are to be interpreted in favor of the insured and thus the policy provided flood coverage; and 2) the policies' anti-concurrent causation clause did not operate within the $25 million dollar limit.

Stone v. Thaler, No. 09-40028, involved petitioner's appeal from the dismissals, as time-barred, of his federal petitions for writs of habeas corpus.  The court vacated the orders on the ground that a time-credit dispute-resolution request under Texas law impedes a prisoner's ability to file for state habeas relief, so AEDPA limitations were tolled during petitioner's time-served credit dispute.

In US v. Chavira, No. 08-51308, the court vacated defendant's conviction for knowingly and willfully making a false statement to a Customs and Border Protection officer, on the grounds that 1) there was evidence that defendant was in actuality not free to leave the interrogation that occurred; and 2) defendant's freedom of movement was severely restrained to the degree a reasonable person would associate with arrest when she made the statement at issue.

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