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

December 2011 Archives

Attorney Misconduct vs. Unsportsmanlike Conduct: Don't be a Saint

In case you didn't see it, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals' hometown team, the New Orleans Saints, won the NFC South title on Monday night with a 45-16 win over the Eleventh Circuit's Atlanta Falcons. Quarterback Drew Brees added to the excitement of the win, setting a new, NFL, single-season passing record.

And while Brees' record-breaking pass is the most talked-about moment of the game, running back Pierre Thomas' first-quarter antics have also created buzz. After scoring the Saints' first touchdown of the game, Thomas pulled a bow out of his uniform, stuck it on the ball, and gave it to a fan, resulting in a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.

Nailed It: Illegal Loan is Absolute Nullity, Not Debt

Most of us don't like to be judged. Pageant participants and models may willingly endure endless scrutiny, but the rest of population tries to avoid situations in which someone else tells us if we're smart, attractive, talented, or correct.

District court judges, like pageant princesses, endure a lot of criticism. Their opinions can be reviewed by a federal appellate panel, then the full circuit court, and then the Supreme Court -- each with an opportunity write extensively about how the judge erred in his/her initial analysis. So when the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals exclaims that a district judge "nailed" an issue, it's cause for applause.

Top Five List: Most Interesting Opinions from the Fifth Circuit

At each year's end, lists dominate the Internet as writers determine the best of the best and the worst of the worst. It's arbitrary and lazy, but readers love lists. So who are we to deny the people?

Thus, in the spirit of populist pandering, we bring you our top five list featuring the most interesting Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals cases from 2011.

Will the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Trial be Delayed?

Cameron International Corporation (Cameron), one of the litigants in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill litigation, is asking the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider the scheduled nonjury trial in the matter, which is set to begin on February 27 in New Orleans. U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier is slated to preside.

Cameron, which designed and manufactured the blowout preventer used on the Deepwater Horizon rig, claims that a nonjury trial under the current plan would violate its constitutional rights.

Honey Badger Does Care About a Cease and Desist Notice

They're common refrains heard 'round Tigerland thanks to a star cornerback and a hit YouTube video.

"Honey Badger takes what he wants."

"Honey Badger don't care."

But according to the Louisiana State University (LSU) Compliance Office, Honey Badger does care.

Holy Land Foundation Trial Didn't Violate Confrontation Clause

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the convictions of five former Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF) directors this week for contributing funds to Hamas, a designated terrorist group.

After a mistrial in 2007, the appellants were convicted in 2008 on money laundering, tax fraud and conspiracy charges. On Wednesday, the Fifth Circuit rejected the appellants’ contention that testimony in the 2008 trial violated the Confrontation Clause.

Until it was closed by the U.S. government after 9/11, HLF was a pro-Palestinian charitable organization based in Richardson, Texas, which held itself out to be the largest Muslim charity in the United States. Its stated mission was to provide humanitarian assistance to needy Palestinians living in the Israeli-occupied territory of the West Bank and Gaza.

Case Dismissed: Perjured Plaintiff Loses Racial Harassment Appeal

We don't practice employment law, so we won't presume to tell you how to practice employment law. What we can tell you is how to annoy - or avoid annoying - judges in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals when filing a harassment lawsuit. While this niche competency doesn't translate well to a social-networking profile or a resume, it could save you, and your client, unnecessary drama in the courtroom.

Today's lesson: consistency.

If you file a harassment lawsuit for a client, claiming he left his job solely based on racial harassment, make sure that your client didn't also file a personal injury claim against a different defendant, insisting that he left the same job due to back pain from a car accident.

No Qualified Immunity: Deputy Loses Interlocutory Appeal

Today, we have a refresher on the standard of review in interlocutory appeals, courtesy of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Department.

Interlocutory appeals aren't the fuel of everyday practice because most appeals wait until after a judge or jury decides a case. If you're facing your first interlocutory appeal, welcome to the wonderful world of qualified immunity.

First, let's dispose of the facts in the case.