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

May 2012 Archives

Court Rejects Citizen Suit Against Atchafalaya Basin Program

If you had hoped to take administration of the Clean Water Act into your own hands, you may be out of luck.

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Thursday that the Clean Water Act does not allow citizen suits to enforce the conditions of a §1344 permit.

When Must Cops Return Seized Property?

In March, we told you about a Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals decision in which the court ruled that New Orleans police did not violate a man's Second Amendment rights by refusing to return his lawfully-seized gun after the district attorney declined to pursue charges against him. At the time, Judge Rhesa Hawkins Barksdale wrote for the 2-1 panel that "the right protected by the Second Amendment is not a property-like right to a specific firearm, but rather a right to keep and bear arms for self-defense."

Now, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has backtracked, not on its Second Amendment stance, but on whether the cops must return seized property under state law.

Will Vilma's Defamation Lawsuit Go All the Way to the 5th Circuit?

You’ve probably noticed that we seize every chance we can find to write about Louisiana football in this blog. And we thank you for your indulgence.

Usually, the relationship between the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and Louisiana’s gridiron greats is tangential. Sometimes, football players find their way to the appellate court for their off-field pursuits, so we at least feel justified writing about them. This week, we started crossing our fingers that the Saints bounty program — one of the biggest scandals in the NFL history — could eventually make its way to the Fifth Circuit.

Circumstantial Evidence Sufficient to Prove CWA Violations

Courtroom dramas tend to downplay the power of circumstantial evidence. In the real world, juries frequently convict defendants based on inferences, rather than confessions and eyewitnesses, and appellate courts affirm those convictions.

Even in a case involving Clean Water Act violations, like today's Fifth Circuit case, circumstantial evidence can be damning.

Duvall v. Dallas: Three More Reasons to Keep Clients Out of Prison

Most people want to avoid prison, and rightly so. Despite the abundance of reading time, it’s crowded, the food’s terrible, and it’s fairly stressful to live knowing that you could be shanked at any second for looking at someone the wrong way in the prison yard.

Not to mention the complete loss of personal freedom.

There are three cases over the last two years that make observers extra-nervous about prison conditions in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals’ states: Duvall v. Dallas County, Waganfeald v. Gusman, and Depriest v. Epps. Let’s go through these case-by-case, and discuss why you should keep fighting to keep your clients out of prison.

Fifth Circuit Restores Planned Parenthood Funding Pending Hearing

A three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals restored funding to Texas Planned Parenthood clinics on Friday, finding that there's sufficient evidence that a state law preventing Planned Parenthood from participating in the Women's Health Program is unconstitutional, reports The Associated Press.

The decision reinstates Judge Lee Yeakel's injunction pending a trial in the matter.

Negligent Misrepresentation Reversal Can Rock You Like a Hurricane

With the start of hurricane season less than a month away, the Gulf Coast is once again preparing to dance with Mother Nature. Residents are hopeful that this season will be known for respectful do-si-dos, rather than the high-velocity mosh pits that residents endured with Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Gustav, but gale force winds aren't the area's only foe in a storm. Lawyers and their clients inevitably end up battling insurance companies after every major hurricane.

A recent Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals opinion in a negligent misrepresentation appeal shows that those battles can be almost as devastating to flood insurance policy holders as the hurricanes themselves.

Judge Smith Stays Injunction on Texas Planned Parenthood Funding

Texas Planned Parenthood clinics will be short on money while federal courts debate the constitutionality of a state law that cuts funding to the program.

Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Jerry Smith -- currently the judicial branch's most famous proponent of judicial review -- stayed an injunction this week that would have restored Planned Parenthood funding, reports The Austin Chronicle.