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

November 2012 Archives

Fifth Circuit: SCOTUS Overruled Tickles

Note it in your Outlook, folks. November 26, 2012: The date that the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals officially acknowledged that the Supreme Court has overruled Tickles.

Don’t freak out. The italicized Tickles means that we’re talking about a case; not the start of a downward spiral into a world without snuggles, giggles, or happiness.

In Contempt, or Not In Contempt? That is the Question.

Back in 2010, when the Deepwater Horizon platform was gushing barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico — and brilliant plans like "let's throw garbage at the leak" failed to stymie the flow — the Obama administration decided that offshore drilling might not be all that it was cracked up to be.

Ten days after the Deepwater explosion, President Obama ordered Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar to review the event and report on additional precautions and technologies to “improve the safety of oil and gas exploration and production operations."

Less than a month later, the Secretary directed a six-month moratorium on permits for new wells being drilled using floating rigs and an immediate halt to drilling operations on the 33 permitted wells that were currently being drilled using floating rigs in the Gulf of Mexico.

Fifth Circuit Resolves Final Issue in Child Porn Restitution Case

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has issued an amended opinion for In Re Amy Unknown, the child pornography restitution case it decided last month.

The amended opinion involved U.S. v. Wright, one of the restitution claims in the litigation. In the amended opinion, the Fifth Circuit concluded that, because the government did not appeal and Amy did not seek mandamus review in Michael Wright's case, Wright's sentence should be affirmed.

American Airlines to Appeal Union Vote to Supreme Court

Between its bankruptcy restructuring and union battles, American Airlines is keeping its lawyers busy.

In June, the struggling airline won a federal court order temporarily blocking its passenger-service employees from conducting a union representation election, Bloomberg reports. District Judge Terry Means ruled that American was likely to succeed on its claim that the election violated labor laws because the union's request for the election in December 2011 met a then-applicable employee-interest standard of 35 percent; the threshold was raised to 50 percent, effective immediately, in February before the National Mediation Board ordered the vote.

Expert Video Admissible Because It's Not a Re-Enactment

The Fifth Circuit permits evidence of experiments conducted under substantially similar conditions. Furthermore, if a party offers demonstrative evidence only as an illustration of general scientific principles, and not as a re-enactment of disputed events, it doesn't have to pass the substantial similarity test.

Here's a recent example of how that policy affected a plaintiff's case.

No Need to Look Beyond Guidelines for 'Conspiracy' Definition

Jesus Rodriguez-Escareno pleaded guilty to illegal reentry following a deportation. He had earlier been convicted of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. At his sentencing for illegal reentry, the district court increased his sentence because it considered his earlier crime to be a “drug trafficking offense,” which permitted a 16-level enhancement under the Sentencing Guidelines. Rodriguez-Escareno received a 48-month prison sentence.

Rodriguez-Escareno didn’t object to the Presentencing Report application of the Sentencing Guidelines. On appeal, however, he argued the enhancement was improper. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, reviewing for plain error, affirmed the sentence.