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

September 2012 Archives

Grand Jury Target Must Turn Over Bank Records

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled this week that a grand jury investigation target must turn over records and documents pertaining to foreign bank accounts which were used to evade U.S. taxes, Talk Radio News reports.

While a district court had previously held that the target could invoke the Fifth Amendment to avoid disclosure, the appellate court concluded that the government is allowed to demand the documents under the Required Records Doctrine.

5th Cir Panel Backtracks: Corps Isn't Liable for Katrina Breach

In March, a Fifth Circuit panel decided that the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) was liable to property owners who suffered billions of dollars in damage during Hurricane Katrina. Tuesday, the same panel decided that the Corps decisions regarding the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (MRGO) — the channel at the center of the lawsuits — were judgment calls based on public policy considerations.

Now, the panel says that plaintiffs can’t sue the Corps.

So what gives? The discretionary-function exception to the Tort Claims Act.

Fifth Circuit Grants Farmers Branch En Banc Rehearing

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments about a Texas town's immigration policy in en banc rehearing on Wednesday.

Farmers Branch adopted Ordinance 2952 in January 2008, requiring housing renters to apply for a residential occupancy license from the city's Building Inspector. Under the ordinance, a non-citizen prospective occupant must provide an identification number establishing his or her lawful presence in the U.S. in order to get an occupancy license.

UPS Collective Bargaining Agreement Doesn't Bar Title VII Suit

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last week that federal courts could hear a former UPS employee's Title VII sex discrimination claim, despite the fact that the company's collective bargaining agreement provided a grievance procedure for statutory discrimination claims.

Amber Ibarra worked as a package car driver for the United Parcel Service (UPS) until the company terminated her for "recklessness resulting in a serious accident" after she lost control of her van and struck a telephone pole while delivering packages. Plenty of people run into telephone polls -- for various reasons -- but UPS apparently frowns upon such incidents.

Fifth Circuit Rejects Former Saint's Disability Benefits Appeal

Gene Atkins played professional football from 1987 until 1996, spending the majority of his time playing with the New Orleans Saints and a few years with the Miami Dolphins. He was well-recognized for his aggressive, hard-hitting play as a defensive back and he sustained a number of injuries resulting from on-field collisions. Now he says those hard-hitting plays have left him disabled, and entitled to increased benefits under the Bert Bell/Pete Rozelle NFL Player Retirement Plan.

Unfortunately, the Plan disagreed, and the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals can't do anything but sympathize with Atkins, the Times-Picayune reports.

Jindal Appeals La. Chief Justice Decision to Fifth Circuit

The Louisiana Supreme Court is embroiled in a bit of a brouhaha.

Chief Justice Kitty Kimball is retiring in January after 20 years on the state’s Supreme Court and 3 years as the chief justice. Now, the remaining justices are bickering about who should be the next chief.

The Louisiana Constitution makes it pretty clear: The judge oldest in point of service on the supreme court shall be chief justice. The debate within the state: What qualifies as service?

Planned Parenthood Asks Fifth Circuit for En Banc Review

Planned Parenthood isn't quite finished with its challenge to a Texas law that defunds the organization within the Lone Star State.

On Tuesday, Planned Parenthood asked the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals for en banc rehearing of a three-judge panel's decision in Planned Parenthood Association, et al v. Thomas Suehs. The panel ruled last month that Texas can block Women's Health Program (WHP) funding to Planned Parenthood and other healthcare providers that offer abortions.