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

July 2012 Archives

Construction Worker Too Masculine to Win Title VII Claim

Title VII doesn't guarantee a work environment characterized by civility or charm. It won't atone for a “world-class trash talker and the master of vulgarity in an environment where these characteristics abound.”

Last week, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals reiterated that Title VII merely prohibits discrimination with respect to employment compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.

CJA Ancillary Matters Don't Include Prior State Conviction Appeals

If Cher could turn back time — if she could find a way — she’d take back those words that hurt you, and you’d stay.

If Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals litigant Juan Garcia could turn back time, he’d take back a guilty plea to cocaine delivery in an Iowa court.

So yeah, Cher and Juan Garcia run in different circles.

5th Cir Addresses Alcohol Exclusion in Accidental Death Policy

Insurance policies are written to favor the insurer by including coverage exclusions, and the courts won't help beneficiaries litigate around them.

Last week, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a decision to deny a widow's claim on an accidental death insurance policy, finding that the insurer did not have to pay under the policy's alcohol exclusion

Court Denies Mixed Motive Rehearing in Racial Harassment Case

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a rehearing in a retaliation and constructive discharge lawsuit this week.

While that may not seem like big news, rehearing would have been an opportunity to reexamine the court's 2010 Smith v. Xerox Corporation ruling. In Smith, the court held that a plaintiff could use a mixed motives theory in a Title VII retaliation case.

Fifth Circuit Rules for Debt Collector in FDCPA Appeal

We rarely hear about debt collectors winning Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) cases at the appellate level. Perhaps that's because a debtor prevailing over the big, bad bank is a fitting end to a quixotic mission, whereas the debt collector winning is just ... boring.

But debt collectors love need lawyers, too. If you're one of the ones paying your bills with debt collector revenues, keep reading because the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals actually ruled that a debt collection letter didn't violate the FDCPA this week.

Evan Stone Gets 'EFF'-ed Up in Porn Copyright Trolling Sanctions

Copyright trolling seems to be a decent business model, until a court starts imposing sanctions. And woe is the attorney on the receiving end of those sanctions, according to a recent Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals opinion.

Attorney Evan Stone represents Mick Haig, a company which produces pornographic films. Their copyright infringement lawsuit — which lead to attorney sanctions against Stone — is at the root of this appeal.

Can Skilling Help Overturn Zach Scruggs Misprision Conviction?

Dickie Scruggs is a legal legend on the Gulf Coast. The former plaintiffs’ attorney became one of the wealthiest men in Mississippi and was depicted in The Insider before he pleaded guilty to conspiring to bribe Circuit Judge Henry Lackey of in 2008.

And while the elder Scruggs is serving time in an Alabama prison —and appealing a 2009 conviction for improperly influencing then-Circuit Judge Bobby DeLaughter of Hinds County — his son, Zach Scruggs, is appealing his own misprision conviction to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

SORNA Requirements Don't Apply to Certain Pre-Act Offenders

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has scaled back the reach of the congressional authority in the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA).

Friday, the appellate court issued an en banc ruling reversing Anthony Kebodeaux's SORNA conviction for knowingly failing to update his sex offender registration after his intrastate change of residence. While the court found that SORNA sometimes exceeds congressional commerce power, it is a narrow ruling.

How Do You Explain the Green Card Process?

Green card marriages happen. The concept seems cliché when used in movies and television shows, yet there are people who turn to sham unions to get citizenship. But while marriage may be what brings two willing parties together today, it’s not a guaranteed path to citizenship or a green card.

If you have an immigration law practice, you’ve probably fielded hundreds of questions about green cards: Do I have to get hitched to get a green card? Does marrying a citizen guarantee citizenship?

Fifth Circuit Interprets Old Derivative Citizenship Rules Strictly

Congress simplified derivative citizenship laws when the Child Citizenship Act of 2000 became effective. But if you represent a client who turned 18 before the CCA, you have to argue for citizenship under the old rules. It can be complicated, as Patrick Ayton learned this week when he lost his removal appeal in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

To understand why the Fifth Circuit found that Ayton didn't meet the requirements for derivative citizenship, you need a little background information on Ayton.