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

October 2011 Archives

Missing Evidence Isn't Deal Breaker in Defective Design Case

Lost evidence is more or less a deal breaker when litigating a case, but the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled that a football helmet at the root of a plaintiff's products liability claim wasn't necessary to prove a design defect in this game-changing opinion.

The case emerged from an injury that the Appellant A.K.W. sustained during a high school football scrimmage. A.K.W.'s coaches were trying him out at a new position during practice. On the final play of the scrimmage, A.K.W. stepped up to tackle the opposing side's quarterback and was aided in that tackle by two of his teammates.

Lord British Hangs on to $28 Million NCsoft Judgment

Ultima creator Richard Garriott, better-known to the online gaming community as his alter ego Lord British, has 28 million reasons to be happy this week.

On Friday, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a $32 million jury award - $28 million in damages, plus $4 million in attorneys fees and interest - in Garriott's Korean employment law dispute with NCsoft Corporation, a Korean company that develops and publishes massively multiplayer online (MMO) games.

Fifth Circuit Rehearing En Banc, Miscellaneous Fees Changing

Changes are coming to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. The Fifth Circuit is adopting a new rehearing en banc amendment and a new fee schedule.

The changes to the en banc rehearing rule were approved following a public comment period. The amended rule, Fifth Circuit Rule 41.3, states:

Chatty Suspect Didn't Clearly Invoke Right to Counsel

Eight years ago, there was a serial killer at large in our hometown. The first thing we learned about serial killers is that everyone is an expert on serial killers.

We know that serial killers are usually white, male, and between the ages of 20 and 40. We know that they prefer victims of the same race. We know this because we learned it watching Silence of the Lambs. Thank you Dr. Lecter.

The average citizen is similarly savvy when it comes to Miranda warnings, thanks to Law & Order. But while every viewer is a Miranda expert, the show ultimately gives lay people a false sense of security that they invoke the right to counsel by merely uttering the word "lawyer."

Fifth Cir. Won't Take Off Prison Strip Search Judgment

Appellate courts will soon lose their authority to create precedent in prison strip search cases; the Supreme Court heard arguments in Florence v. Board of Chosen Freeholders of the County of Burlington this week, and will decide the constitutionality of minor offense strip searches.

This week, perhaps engaging in a last hurrah, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals released what could be its final opinion in the matter.

Oscar and Chandra Jimenez operated a bar in Wood County, Texas. The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) raided their bar in 2005. Oscar fled during the raid.

Houston Taxi Ordinance Doesn't Violate Equal Protection Clause

As Occupy Wall Street protests rage on nationwide, it seems that America is having a Network moment. We're mad as hell, and we're not going to take this anymore.

While it is unclear what "this" is, and how we're going to avoid taking it, it no doubt involves sit-ins and clever signage. After all, what is a movement without branding?

So with the anti-greed sentiment that is sweeping the media, it's surprising that there has been almost no coverage of a Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals decision this week that allows the rich to keep getting richer. On Monday, the circuit upheld a new Houston taxi ordinance that protects large taxi firms against competition from new taxi companies, finding that the ordinance does not violate the Fourteenth Amendment Equal Protection Clause.

Age Discrimination Supports Hostile Work Environment Claim

Despite a district court’s holding to the contrary, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals thinks that there are genuine issues of material fact in a hostile work environment lawsuit when a manager allegedly called his 65-year-old employee “old man,” “pops,” and “old mother******” for two months.

Milan Dediol, the aforementioned 65-year-old, was a born-again Christian working for Best Chevrolet in Kenner, La., when he requested a day off from work to volunteer at his church.

Fifth Circuit Nominee Stephen Higginson Waits for Senate Vote

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals may have to continue waiting for the Senate to confirm Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Higginson’s nomination to the bench due to delays in a D.C. Circuit nominee’s confirmation process.

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved Higginson’s nomination on July 14, but Caitlin Halligan, a nominee for the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, is ahead of Higginson in the vote queue. The Senate, however, could agree to hear Higginson’s nomination first; Halligan is expected to encounter Republican opposition, whereas Higginson has enthusiastic bi-partisan support from Senators Mary Landrieu and David Vitter, reports The Times-Picayune.