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

September 2010 Archives

DMCA Copyright Infringement Case, and Immigration Matter

In Bokhari v. Holder, No. 09-60538, a petition for review of the BIA's determination that petitioner was ineligible for adjustment of status, the court denied the petition where 1) the employment authorization provided to petitioner under 8 C.F.R. section 274a.12(b)(20) did not provide him with lawful immigration status; and 2) petitioner was in unlawful immigration status, as defined in 8 C.F.R. section 1245.1(d)(1)(ii), after June 10, 2003, and he unlawfully remained in the United States for more than 180 days thereafter.

In re: Kleibrink, No. 07-11190

In In re: Kleibrink, No. 07-11190, a debtor's appeal from a district court's affirmance of a bankruptcy court's ruling that a creditor held an enforceable security interest in a property of his, despite his having received a discharge in an earlier bankruptcy proceeding, the court affirmed the order where the notice given to the creditor did not satisfy the due process standard for notice set forth in Mullane.

Griffin v. J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., No. 09-30734

In Griffin v. J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., No. 09-30734, plaintiff's appeal from the district court's grant of his ex-attorney's motion to intervene and judgment in favor of intervenor granting imposition of a statutory lien upon plaintiff's recovery pursuant to a contingency fee agreement, the court reversed the order where the district court lacked supplemental jurisdiction over intervenor's claim in intervention against plaintiff.

SEC Action Against Mark Cuban, and Criminal and Insurance Matters

In American Int'l. Specialty Lines Ins. Co. v. Rentech Steel LLC, No. 08-11052, an action by an insurer seeking a declaration that plaintiff had no duty to either defend defendant in an underlying state-court personal injury lawsuit or to indemnify defendant for the judgment, the court affirmed summary judgment for defendant where the Texas Workers' Compensation Act imposed no obligation on a nonsubscriber to compensate an employee for injuries sustained due to the employer's own negligence, and thus the exclusion was not applicable.

In Bradley v. Allstate Ins. Co., No. 09-30035, an action seeking insurance proceeds arising from the total destruction of plaintiffs' home as a result of flood and wind damage suffered during Hurricane Katrina, the court affirmed partial summary judgment for defendant in part where the district court did not err in concluding that defendant was entitled to judgment as a matter of law on plaintiffs' claim for loss of contents.  However the court vacated in part where 1) the district court needed to evaluate certain causation issues and ascertain the applicability of the section 5(e) total loss provision; and 2) it was undisputed that plaintiffs had not repaired, rebuilt, or replaced the property within the two-year period allowed under the policy and Louisiana law.

Duval Wiedmann, LLC v. InfoRocket.com, Inc., No. 09-50787

In Duval Wiedmann, LLC v. InfoRocket.com, Inc., No. 09-50787, an action for breach of a patent license agreement, the court affirmed summary judgment for defendant where the district court correctly held that the agreement terminated on November 29, 2004, sixty days after plaintiff received actual notice of termination. However, the order is remanded where the district court did not address what royalties, if any, were owed to plaintiff over a certain time period.

Discharge of Debts Denied Based on Fraud, and Criminal Matters

In Reed v. City of Arlington, No. 08-11098, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case in which debtors omitted a pending $1 million-plus judgment from their sworn statements and bankruptcy filings, the discharge of the debtor's debts is reversed where, to protect the integrity of judicial processes, judicial estoppel barred the trustee from collecting the judgment.

Natural Gas Market Manipulation Action, and Arbitration Matter

Noble Drilling Servs. Inc. v. Certex USA, Inc., No. 10-20083, involved plaintiff's appeal from the district court's dismissal of its case pursuant to an arbitration clause incorporated into two agreements to which plaintiff was not a party.  The court reversed because no evidence supported a conclusion that plaintiff knew of the terms of the agreements, plaintiff could not have the knowledge necessary to support the "knowingly exploited" theory of direct benefits estoppel.

Hurricane Katrina Canal Breach Case, and ERISA Action

In Anderson v. Cytec Indus., Inc., No. 09-30333, an action challenging defendant's denial of plaintiff's ERISA claim for short-term disability benefits, the court affirmed judgment for defendant where 1) it was not unreasonable to ask for some objective showing that plaintiff's PTSD-related disability prevented him from performing his job; and 2) defendant's decision that plaintiff was not "totally disabled" was not arbitrary and capricious and was supported by substantial evidence.

In Jackson v. Watkins, No. 09-10635, an action claiming that plaintiff, a veteran county prosecutor, was discharged on account of his race in violation of Title VII, the court affirmed summary judgment for defendants where plaintiff failed to provide sufficient evidence to rebut each of defendants' nondiscriminatory reasons for plaintiff's termination.

Federal Election Campaign Act Challenge and Criminal Matter

In In re: Cao, No. 10-30080, an action brought by the national political party committee of the Republican Party claiming that certain provisions of the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) violated plaintiffs' right to free speech under the First Amendment, the court affirmed judgment for defendant FEC where each of the challenged FECA provisions constituted a constitutionally permissible regulation of political parties' campaign contributions and coordinated expenditures.

In Ecuadorian Plaintiffs v. Chevron Corp., No. 10-20389, an action alleging that defendant-Chevron polluted the Ecuadorian Amazon Rainforest over the course of several decades while engaging in oil extraction in the region, the court affirmed district court's order directing plaintiffs' consultants to submit to a foundational deposition, holding that 1) it made no sense to require defendant to seek the consulting firm's documents from an Ecuadorean official, given the plaintiffs' denial that they provided any such documents to the official and his interest in denying receipt of the firm's material; and 2) the record did not clearly demonstrate that defendant was attempting to evade restrictions on discovery in Ecuador.

Stevens v. Epps, No. 09-70009

In Stevens v. Epps, No. 09-70009, a capital habeas matter, the court affirmed the denial of petitioner's habeas petition, holding that, because the trial court allowed a juror to be struck after having rejected the prosecutor's assertion that she did not complete her juror questionnaire, it was not unreasonable for the Mississippi Supreme Court to conclude that the trial court implicitly credited the prosecutor's assertion that he struck the juror because she was inattentive, and thus, that court properly rejected petitioner's Batson claim.

In Songer v. Dillon Resources, Inc., No. 09-10803, an action brought by truck drivers who operate commercial trucks against defendants for unpaid overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the court affirmed summary judgment for defendants and dismissal of plaintiffs' claims with prejudice, holding that the Motor Carrier Act (MCA) exemption applied to bar plaintiffs' claims because: 1) the MCA applies to defendant-staff leasing agency because is a joint employer with the two companies, both of whom are subject to the exemption, and 2) plaintiffs engaged in activities that directly affect operational safety of motor vehicles in transport of property in interstate commerce.