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

March 2014 Archives

Texas H.B. 2 Abortion Regulations Upheld

Texas' most recent abortion regulations, found in H.B. 2, were upheld by the Fifth Circuit on Thursday.

Finding that the district court both misapplied standards and misconstrued evidence, the Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas v. Abbott Court found that both the medical abortion and "admitting privileges" regulations were constitutional and not an undue burden to women. This ruling threatens the Fifth Circuit's other pending abortion case in Mississippi, which is scheduled for hearing in April.

How did the court come to support these abortion regulations?

Texas Arbitration Agreements Can Be One-Sided and Legal

Arbitration agreements often seem one-sided, and in some employment cases, they may seem downright predatory.

But as the Fifth Circuit affirmed in their most recent look at arbitration agreements, even an agreement that allows the employer to unilaterally terminate is not illusory -- it's legal.

5th Circuit to Hear Miss. Abortion Clinic Admitting Privileges Case

Another admitting privileges case is making its way to the Fifth Circuit, this time from a Mississippi abortion law.

On Monday, the Fifth Circuit notified the parties that it would hear oral arguments on April 28 from both the state of Mississippi and the Jackson Women's Health Organization as to whether the Mississippi "admitting privileges" requirement should apply to the clinic.

This case should remind you of the recently passed Texas law, and it may not be coincidence that neither case has been resolved yet.

Dollar General Owner Can Be Sued in Tribal Court

Tribal court jurisdiction can be tricky, but the Fifth Circuit seemed to simplify it in a case where a Native American minor was allegedly molested at a Dollar General.

Dolgencorp, which operates a Dollar General on a Choctaw Reservation in Mississippi, is being sued by a Choctaw minor who was employed in the store as part of a Youth Opportunity Program (YOP) training program. Unfortunately, while employed there, the minor alleges that the manager, a non-tribe member, molested him.

The Fifth Circuit found that the tribal courts do have jurisdiction over the minor's tort claim against Dolgencorp, but why?

Louisiana Sues MoveOn.org Over Billboard, Branding

MoveOn.org is being hauled into federal court for allegedly using Louisiana's motto on a billboard criticizing Gov. Bobby Jindal.

Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne filed a federal suit against MoveOn.org in his official capacity as both lieutenant governor and commissioner of the Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism claiming that the advocacy group used the state's service mark and motto without permission, reports The Times-Picayune.

Can a political billboard crib a state's motto like that?

SLAPPs and Kool Smiles: Law Firm's Ads Not Protected Speech

A Texas law firm's SLAPP appeal has been denied by the Fifth Circuit, which found that the firm's ads were not protected under Texas' anti-SLAPP laws.

Anti-SLAPP jurisprudence is still evolving, and this was a new issue for the Fifth Circuit: whether law firm ads disparaging a Texas dentist could escape liability under the Lanham Act through an anti-SLAPP motion.

Here's why this ruling left the Texas firm no longer smiling:

Homestead Funds Still Part of Bankruptcy Estate Under Texas Law

Homestead exceptions are a nice public policy "plus" of bankruptcy law. They attempt to ensure that those filing for bankruptcy will have somewhere to go and lick their financial wounds after the case is finished.

But can the proceeds from selling your home be protected permanently from bankruptcy? The Fifth Circuit says no.

BP Suffers Loss in Gulf Settlement Appeal: Time to Pay Up?

BP received some bad news this week from the Fifth Circuit: It has to pay up according to the settlement agreement it signed to compensate the victims of the Deepwater Horizon Gulf oil spill.

We wouldn't hold our breath that this is BP's last word on the case, but for now it appears that the oil giant will have to shell out billions to affected and possibly affected Gulf-area businesses, Reuters reports.

What did the court say to finally shut the door on this epic BP case?

Texas' AG Was Law School Pals With Gay Marriage Plaintiff

In a strange twist of fate, Texas' attorney general is continuing to fight for Texas' gay marriage ban in De Leon v. Perry -- despite the fact his law school friend is one of the plaintiffs.

Attorney General Greg Abbott now has to square the reality that he is choosing to defend Texas' gay marriage ban while his long-time friend Mark Phariss fights for he and his partner to be legally wed, reports The Associated Press.

Attorneys general are facing crises of conscience, or at least constitutionality, across the U.S. over this issue, but will Abbott fight to deny Phariss the right to marry?