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

January 2013 Archives

Lost Homeowners' Association Fees Are Not a Compensable Taking

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals decided this week in a matter of first impression that the loss of an association's right to collect assessments on condemned properties does not require just compensation under the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment.

According to the court, compensating for these types of assessments "would allow parties to recover from the government for condemnations that eliminate interests that do not stem from the physical substance of the land" and "unjustifiably burden the government's eminent domain power."

Two Contracts. Two Hurricanes. Different Results?

Two contracts thwarted by the same natural disasters can have two different outcomes in litigation.

That's why it's important to carefully define your force majuere responsibilities in an agreement.

'Cruelty to Children' Not a Crime of Violence?

In 2011, Leodegario Resendiz-Moreno pleaded guilty to one charge of illegal reentry. His sentencing range was calculated at a total offense level of 21, which included an upward adjustment based upon the judge’s determination that a prior Georgia conviction for first-degree cruelty to children constituted a crime of violence.

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed with that finding, and vacated the sentence. Sure, a child cruelty conviction may support the argument that Resendiz-Moreno is a terrible person, but it doesn’t support a finding that he committed a crime of violence.

Here’s why.

Inter Vivos Trust Dispute Falls Outside Probate Exception

In 1996, Elmer and Nelva Brunsting established the Brunsting Family Living Trust for the benefit of their offspring. At the time of its creation, the Trust was funded with various assets, and both of the Brunstings' wills included pour-over provisions, providing that all property in each estate is devised and bequeathed to the Trust.

After the Brunstings passed, Candace Curtis alleged in a federal complaint that Amy and Anita Brunsting -- her sisters, who were acting as co-trustees of the Trust -- had breached their fiduciary duties to Curtis, a beneficiary of the Trust.

Last week, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals held that, under Marshall v. Marshall, Curtis' claims for breach of fiduciary duty do not implicate the probate exception to federal jurisdiction.

BP Supervisor Must Comply With Medical Orders in Spill Litigation

Last week, the top BP supervisor on the Deepwater Horizon rig lost his appeal to avoid testifying in the upcoming civil case about the 2010 explosion that devastated the Gulf of Mexico, New Orleans' WWL-TV reports.

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Jan. 3 that Donald Vidrine must comply with a district court order to submit to a medical examination and provide his medical records and reports to a court-appointed doctor.