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

August 2017 Archives

Court Revives Slavery Quote Libel Suit Against NYT

Walter Block, an economics professor, will be remembered for his statements in the New York Times more than for his lectures.

In 2014, the Times quoted him in an article about scholars at the Mises Institute who "championed the Confederacy." Block, an adjunct instructor at the institute, described slave life as "not so bad" if it were not involuntary.

"Not so bad -- you could pick cotton and sing songs," the newspaper said. Block sued the Times and its reporters for allegedly misquoting him.

Class Action Can Be Waived in Job Agreement, 5th Cir. Rules

A federal appeals court ruled that a company may lawfully require employees to waive a class action in their employment agreements.

In Convergys Corporation v. National Labor Relations Board, the divided appellate panel said the company did not violate the National Labor Relations Act. The court said Convergys could require job applicants to sign the waiver and could lawfully enforce it.

Concluding that "the use of a class or collective action is a procedure rather than a substantive right," the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the board's ruling that the waiver interfered with workers' right to band together.

Court Cuts Back Special Ed Claim

Michelle Woody, a professor of biblical counseling, has faith that her battle with the Dallas Independent School District will end well. She has been fighting for her daughter's educational benefits for half a decade.

After losing more than $13,000 of her reimbursement claim from the school district, she appealed to the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals for reconsideration. The appeals court sided with her in Dallas Independent School District v. Woody, and remanded the case to a trial judge.

Woody may have to pray harder, however, because the appeals court split the baby: she is entitled to reimbursement but not for everything she claims.