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

Recently in Injury & Tort Law Category

If there was a prize for most tragic case dismissed on appeal, the case filed by John Gorman's wife would certainly be a contender.

The facts of Gorman v. Sharp really are tragic. After a recent promotion, Gorman attended an officer firearm safety training session, which he was required to attend for his job as the director of investigations with the Mississippi Gaming Commission. Unfortunately, the Special Agent in charge of training, Robert Sharp, forgot to replace his regular real firearm that he carried with a dummy firearm for a roleplaying exercise. As a result of the instructor's own negligence, he shot and killed John Gorman during that exercise.

$16 Million Award Upheld for Defective Brake Design

A bag of cattle feed fell on the accelerator of a utility vehicle, causing it to run over Gini Nester and break her neck.

A jury awarded nearly $16 million because the manufacturer knew the parking brake was unsafe and didn't fix it. Textron appealed, but an appeals court affirmed.

Among other problems for the defendant, there was a video -- but not of Nester's accident. The jury saw a video of a similar accident, and that's one reason the defendant appealed in Nester v. Textron, Inc.

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.

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.

Gun-Toting Plaintiff Blows Statute of Repose

Sorry for this, but Edward Burdett shot himself in the foot.

Literally, Burdett shot himself in the foot and then sued the gunmaker. Adding insult to injury, a judge dismissed Burdett's case because he blew the statute of repose.

In Burdett v. Remington Arms Company, the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals then stomped it out. Just shooting from the hip here.

The straight story goes like this:

5th Cir. Gets Technical in a Case Challenging TX Ticket Cameras

The Fifth Circuit rejected a traffic violation camera companies' attempts to drag a challenge to their validity into a federal court. The circuit court held that the more proper venue was Texas' court system.

In a wonderfully technical case that would be fit for discussion in any advanced civil procedure course, the court details rather entertainingly just how it came to its decision.

Fed Agent's Lies About Affair Tolls Statute of Limitations: 5th Cir.

The Fifth Circuit decided to err on the side of equity and toll a statute of limitations in favor of a corporation originally indicted for illegal storage of ultra-hazardous materials. According to the circuit court, the state failed to prove that the company definitely would have discovered that it was injured and how was injured.

And what was the supposed cause that exploded into this protracted debacle? A federal agent's perjuring himself over an extra-marital affair.

JSW Steel Joined in Conspiracy to Tank Competitor, 5th Cir. Affirms

The Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has ordered a major steel company, JSW steel, to pay the equivalent of $156 million in fines, affirming a jury decision that the company was involved in a conspiracy to throttle supply lines to a competitor.

The ruling comes as very bad news to JSW, which has struggled in recent years to stay profitable in the rising tide of Chinese competitors.

Coffee Barista's Don't Interact With Customers Enough for Tip Pooling

The Fifth Circuit reversed and remanded a decision by a Texas federal district court in a case that involved barista tips, Montano v. Montrose Restaurant Assoc.

The legal issue at bar was whether or not "coffeemen" (aka baristas) are lawfully entitled to a percentage customer tips under a restaurant's tip pooling arrangement. It turns out that it has little to with what you call them; it has more to do with the nature of their work.

Mandatory Arbitration Agreements for Employees OK, 5th Cir. Rules

The National Labor Relations Board has been a thorn in the Fifth Circuit's said these past few years. Several days ago, however, the panel court made it perfectly clear that it hadn't changed its mind with regards to the proper scope of the National Labor Standards Act.

The issue at bar (now apparently settled) is whether or not employers can require the signing of mandatory arbitration clauses that preclude employee lawsuits against the company. The answer? Such clauses are allowed.