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Edit Delete 10th Circuit


Levy v. Kansas Dept. of SRS, Jun-16-2015

J. Briscoe finds that the lower court properly found in favor of a social services agency in an employment lawsuit alleging disability discrimination and retaliation. The employer did not waive its sovereign immunity rights by accepting federal funds, because the waiver included in the Rehabilitation Act does not apply by default to the Americans with Disabilities Act, even though the two acts are closely related. In addition, appellant did not join other plaintiffs in an Americans with Disabilities Act lawsuit filed against his employer until four years after the perceived offense occurred, and was thus barred from raising his claims by the two-year statute of limitations. Affirmed.

Edit Delete 10th Circuit


Ute Indian Tribe v. State, Jun-16-2015

J. Gorsuch finds that the district court improperly found in favor of a conglomeration of Utah officials in a dispute over tribal jurisdiction. Utah authorities should not have prosecuted a Native American woman for traffic violations that occurred within a portion of the national forest that is owned by the Ute Indian Tribe, as the tribal court had jurisdiction. In addition, agreements Utah authorities claim waives the tribe's claims of immunity have expired, and whether those documents truly waived immunity is doubtful. Reversed.

Edit Delete 11th Circuit


Surtain v. Hamlin Terrace Foundation, Jun-16-2015

Per curiam, the circuit finds that the lower court properly dismissed plaintiff's race- and disability-based employment discrimination claims, but should not have dismissed her Family and Medical Leave Act claim. Defendant knew that plaintiff had repeatedly visited a doctor and received a conclusory doctor's excuse, but without more, this cannot be said to have put it on notice that she had a disability. There is also no first resort evidence of racial discrimination since plaintiff cannot show that similarly situated employees of another race were treated differently after having the same performance issues. Allowing plaintiff to amend her interference claim, however, would not be futile. The supervisor who offered to assist her may have initially done so in good faith before undermining her efforts, but this was not necessarily due to retaliatory motives. Affirmed.

Edit Delete 11th Circuit


U.S. v. Wingo, Jun-16-2015

J. Rosenbaum finds that the lower court improperly convicted defendant of fraud and money laundering via a charitable non-profit organization focused on feeding the hungry. The court likely should have known that defendant was not adequately competent to proceed, let alone to plead guilty. Although he played a leadership role in the organization, other members testified as to his absent-mindedness and lack of focus. Incompetent defendants have a fundamental constitutional right not to stand trial or be convicted. On remand, if defendant is not found to be incompetent after all, the conviction and maximum sentence may be reinstated. Reversed.

Edit Delete 2nd Circuit


Espinoza v. Dimon, Jun-16-2015

J. Katzmann finds that the district court properly dismissed shareholder's derivative action to hold company officials liable for "London Whale" losses. Plaintiff alleged company failed to properly oversee ever-riskier trades by its investment office -- including a group of overseas traders led by the "London Whale" -- then lied about the mounting scandal, which cost company billions. When company's board investigated and declined to bring action against officials, plaintiff filed his derivative lawsuit to force its hand; the complaint was dismissed for failure to state a claim because board had acted on his request to investigate and had instituted remedial measures. While precedent allowed a review of the dismissal only for abuse of lower court discretion, Circuit expressed a desire to retire that standard and look at derivative actions de novo. Affirmed.

Edit Delete 4th Circuit


Yanez-Marquez v. Lynch, Jun-16-2015

J. Hamilton finds that appellant, from El Salvador, should be denied review of the dismissal of her appeal from the order removing her from the U.S. Appellant says ICE agents should have left after entering the premises and finding a multi-unit dwelling since the search warrant listed the premises as a single-family home. After putting the premises under surveillance, agents found out an illegal alien was living there, and pictures of the premises depicted a small, single-story home with one mailbox. They validly believed it was a single-family home. The locked bedroom door agents encountered when they went into the home did not necessarily imply that the home was a multi-unit dwelling. Appellant says that the execution of the warrant occurred at 5:00 a.m., instead of between 6:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m., violated her fourth amendment rights. Supporting this claim, the magistrate judge specifically stated the warrant should be executed in the daytime, crossing out the option to search at night. But nothing showed that appellant suffered a diminished capacity during the early search or that the questioning was particularly lengthy.

Edit Delete 5th Circuit


U.S. v. Ceballos, Jun-16-2015

J. Prado finds that the lower court properly convicted the inmate on charges of transporting illegal aliens for financial gain. After apprehending a Mexican national in the U.S. without authorization, Customs and Border Protection agents set up a sting operation, which resulted in the inmate's arrest when she arrived to pick up an agent posing as the Mexican national. While the inmate makes several claims of trial error, there is no evidence that the alleged errors violated her right to a fair trial. Additionally, there is sufficient evidence to sustain conviction, despite claiming violations of her Sixth Amendment right of confrontation. Affirmed.

Edit Delete 5th Circuit


U.S. v. Heredia-Holguin, Jun-16-2015

J. Higginson finds that the appeal of defendant's sentence on charges of illegal reentry following a previous deportation must be dismissed as moot and that his request to vacate the remaining term of his supervised release is denied. The Mexican native lost his lawful permanent residency status in the U.S. in 2005 and was removed to his home country; however, he returned without permission in 2006, and was arrested on state and federal drug charges in 2013. Since there is no merit to the appeal, the lower court properly sentenced defendant to 12 months in prison, followed by a three-year term of supervised release.

Edit Delete 6th Circuit


Moody v. Michigan Gaming Control Board, Jun-16-2015

J. Boggs finds that the lower court properly found for the Board on the drivers' challenge to their suspensions due to their refusal to answer questions about allegations that the harness drivers have been fixing horse races. However, it improperly ruled against plaintiffs on their claims that the board's requested discovery might have forced them to possibly incriminate themselves. The drivers were not granted immunity ahead of the hearing, and had reason to fear that their answers might be used as evidence against them at a criminal trial. To ban them from horse racing for refusing to incriminate themselves is a grave consequence that unconstitutionally compels self-incrimination. Reversed in part.

Edit Delete 7th Circuit


U.S. v. Lockwood, Jun-16-2015

J. Manion finds that the lower court properly convicted defendant of being a felon in possession of a pipe bomb. He stipulated to possessing the device, but argued that it could not qualify as a "destructive device" under the statute because it lacked a power supply that would allow it to explode. This rendered his trial a question of credibility before the jury, which reasonable found against him. Counsel was not ineffective in allowing him to proceed this way since it was not an altogether poor strategy, but defendant cannot now go back on the decision to focus the jury on the question of knowledge. He also has no right to appeal the stipulation that he possessed an explosive. Affirmed.

Edit Delete 7th Circuit


Thomas v. Clements, Jun-16-2015

J. Williams finds that the lower court improperly denied petitioner habeas on his conviction of sexually assaulting his ex-wife and roommate before intentionally murdering her. Counsel was ineffective in failing to consult with an expert to determine the veracity of petitioner's claim that the strangulation was accidental and took place during sex. This is decisive since there was no evidence of external bruising on the victim's death, but the state's expert insisted that she was strangled. Petitioner's testimony was consistent throughout and repeatedly indicated accidental responsibility as well. Reversed.

Edit Delete 7th Circuit


U.S. v. Hines-Flagg, Jun-16-2015

J. Williams finds that the lower court properly convicted defendant of operating a fraud scheme with her nephew via which the two stole identities and created fake identification cards with them. The pair would typically have several of these on them, rendering her claim of innocent intent totally implausible. However, the court should not have enhanced the sentence for relocation to another jurisdiction. Temporary trips to other jurisdictions to continue ones crime does not count as relocation under the sentencing guidelines, nor does it indicate the kind of sophisticated intent or complex plan that this enhancement is intended to punish. Affirmed in part.

Edit Delete 8th Circuit


Letterman v. Farnsworth, Jun-16-2015

J. Melloy finds that the lower court properly denied two of defendants qualified immunity against plaintiff's civil rights claim, but should have granted it to another. Plaintiff's decedent was sentenced to 120 days in jail for marijuana possession and became manic in a psych ward. He was placed in a padded cell, but seen to be stumbling around and mumbling to himself. One of the defendants watched him on a monitor and heard his head slam into a door frame. Defendant Earls, a lieutenant, was told that the decedent had been laying unresponsive for hours and said "let sleeping dogs lie." This clearly amounts to a deliberate disregard of the risk, but the lower level employee who told Earls about this cannot be said to have acted with deliberate indifference. She is thus entitled to qualified immunity since at most she was negligent. Affirmed in part.

Edit Delete 8th Circuit


U.S. v. Gaffney, Jun-16-2015

J. Benton finds that the lower court properly convicted defendant of methamphetamine possession with intent to distribute after his conditional guilty plea. He was stopped for speeding and appeared very nervous and intoxicated when police spoke with him. The officers did not delay the stop to obtain a drug dog, but already had one with them, who quickly detected four pounds of drugs. Although the stop was based largely on an inexperienced officer's visual estimate, it was still reasonable. A defense investigator found that defendant likely was only traveling a mile per hour faster than the limit, but this does not make the officer's guess unreasonable. Affirmed.

Edit Delete 9th Circuit


Newman v. Wengler, Jun-16-2015

Per curiam, the Circuit finds that the district court properly denied a prisoner's habeas petition challenging his conviction for attempted rape. Petitioner had a full and fair opportunity in state court to litigate his Fourth Amendment claims, and a precedent doctrine therefore bars consideration of his claims in a federal habeas corpus petition. Affirmed.

Edit Delete Arizona Court Of Appeals Division One


Montgomery v. Rogers, Jun-16-2015

J. Gemmill finds that the justice court improperly issued an order adopting a limiting jury instruction. The real party in interest's acquittal of extreme DUI was not a judicial determination that the BAC test result was unreliable, and the jury should not have been instructed that the test did not "prove beyond a reasonable doubt." Vacated.

Edit Delete Board of Immigration Appeals


Matter of Pena v. , Jun-16-2015

J. Cole finds that the immigration judge improperly found respondent inadmissible. He is a native and citizen of the Dominican Republic who first filed for a visa after marrying an American citizen in 1996. As a lawful permanent resident, he cannot be treated as an "arriving alien" for admission purposes. Although his green card application was not totally accurate, this may not have been due to fraud or bad faith. Reversed.

Edit Delete California Courts Of Appeal


Santa Clara County Department of Family and Children's Services v. M.H., Jun-16-2015

J. Rushing finds that the lower court properly placed the child in protective custody after he was exposed to repeated instances of domestic violence. The mother argues that it was erroneous to find that the child would suffer severe emotional harm. However, evidence was provided to show the child had already been exposed to his father's violence since he was born. Furthermore, the mother has a history of domestic violence in other relationships as well as with the father. Affirmed.

Edit Delete California Courts Of Appeal


Lafkas v. Lafkas, Jun-16-2015

J. Kriegler finds that the lower court improperly divided a partnership interest in a real estate company with which the husband has one-third interest. The husband argues that the partnership interest is his separate property although the partnership agreement modification made during their marriage had listed the wife along with himself. The community property question is unable to be determined with the provided documents since there is not a specific declaration about the partnership interest. Therefore, additional documents must be provided in order to make the determination. Reversed.

Edit Delete California Courts Of Appeal


J. v. J., Jun-16-2015

Per curium, the California Court of Appeals finds that the lower court improperly changed a custody order to place the children with the non-custodial parent which required them to move out of state in the middle of their school year. The mother argues that it was erroneous not to consider their existing relationships and what was in their best interest. The children's best interest were not considered including the stability they currently have, their existing relationships or losing their mother as their primary caretaker. Vacated.

Edit Delete California Courts Of Appeal


California v. Contreras, Jun-16-2015

J. Marquez finds that the lower court properly imposed certain terms on defendant's probation after he was convicted of drug possession and burglary. Defendant argues that his requirement to stay out of Kohl's and Sears stores is unconstitutional since his travel is restricted. However, the restriction is proper since it relates to his previous crime. Furthermore, the restriction is an attempt to prevent future crimes. Additionally, defendant argues that his requirement not to use a police scanner or surveillance equipment is overbroad since it does not contain a qualifier about his knowledge of the presence of such equipment. The scanner and surveillance equipment condition needs to be clarified to allow for the possibility that defendant might "unwittingly" violate the requirement. Reversed in part.

Edit Delete California Courts Of Appeal


Pacific Gas and Electric Company v. Public Utilities Commission, Jun-16-2015

Per curium, the California Court of Appeals finds the Public Utilities Commission properly imposed $14.4 million in civil penalties upon appellant for misleading it about the internal pressure of some of the company's pipelines. Appellant argues that it was erroneous to treat the pipeline pressure discovery as a continuing violation held over from a previous investigation. However, the commission placed a duty on appellant to correct any misleading or incomplete data that had not been satisfied at the time the pressure issue was discovered. Additionally, appellate argues that it was not give adequate notice of the potential fines. However, the commission is not required to provide a notice. Affirmed.

Edit Delete Connecticut Court Of Appeals


Procaccini v. Procaccini, Jun-16-2015

J. Alvord finds that the lower court failed to use defendant's net income and instead used his gross income to make the post judgment financial order in a divorce proceeding. Reversed.

Edit Delete Connecticut Court Of Appeals


Connecticut v. Kallberg, Jun-16-2015

J. Borden finds that the trial court improperly denied defendant's request to dismiss all charges of third degree larceny under a plea agreement. Charges against defendant had been nolled as part of a global plea deal on several charges. Plaintiff charged defendant with the third-degree larceny after accepting the plea deal. Reversed.

Edit Delete Connecticut Court Of Appeals


Nassra v. Nassra, Jun-16-2015

J. Alvord finds that the language of the dissolution agreement regarding the payment of outstanding real estate taxes was "clear and unambiguous," and the court properly concluded defendant had not violated his obligation under the agreement and denied plaintiff's motion for contempt. Affirmed.

Edit Delete Connecticut Court Of Appeals


Wagner v. Our Lady of Mount Caritas, Jun-16-2015

J. Sheldon finds that the jury verdict for punitive damages should not have been set aside because the jury could have determined defendant was fraudulent in claiming it was a Roman Catholic monastery, when it was not recognized by the Diocese. Plaintiffs claim they would not have given money to defendant knowing it was not a Roman Catholic institution. Affirmed.

Edit Delete Connecticut Court Of Appeals


Civie v. Connecticut Siting Council, Jun-16-2015

J. Lavine finds that plaintiffs were aware of an easement belonging to the power company when they purchased the property, and they failed to prove they are at a loss due to the clearance of vegetation beneath the new transmission line. Plaintiffs were not classically aggrieved under the Uniform Administrative Procedure Act and therefore lacked standing. Affirmed

Edit Delete Connecticut Court Of Appeals


Modaffari v. Greenwich Hospital, Jun-16-2015

J. Keller finds that the lower court properly instructed a jury to ignore testimony from one of plaintiff's witnesses and upheld the verdict, in an employment discrimination complaint, in favor of defendant. Plaintiff believes the exchange should have led to a mistrial, but the jury was told to disregard it. The exchange was not prejudicial. Affirmed.

Edit Delete Connecticut Court Of Appeals


McGee v. Commissioner of Correction, Jun-16-2015

J. Lavine finds that the habeas court correctly found there was an adequate cross-examination of witnesses and that no juror misconduct occurred. Plaintiff was convicted of robbery and fourth degree sexual assault and was acquitted on larceny charges and second and third degree sexual assault. Affirmed.

Edit Delete Connecticut Court Of Appeals


SBD Kitchens v. Jefferson, Jun-16-2015

J. Borden upholds the trial court's judgment in all three appeals. In the first two appeals, the court confirmed the arbitrator's award of punitive damages for plaintiff, and in the third appeal, plaintiff claims the trial court improperly denied its motion for attorney fees. The court properly awarded punitive damages for plaintiff. Defendant argues there was no actual malice proven regarding a website it set up to warn the public about plaintiff, but plaintiff could not even use search advertising due to the defamatory website set up by defendant. Affirmed.

Edit Delete Connecticut Court Of Appeals


In re Angel R v. , Jun-16-2015

J. Bishop finds that the Department of Children and Families, which had custody of a transgender teenager, violated her due process rights when they transferred the teen to the Department of Correction and an adult prison. The Department of Children and Families did not make enough of a case regarding the danger the teen posed in order to transfer her. The teenager has been transferred back to department custody and will age out of state care, so there is no practical relief the court can offer. Reversed.

Edit Delete Connecticut Court Of Appeals


Browne v. Commissioner of Correction, Jun-16-2015

J. Beach finds that the habeas court properly denied plaintiff a writ of habeas corpus for ineffective assistance of counsel. Affirmed.

Edit Delete Connecticut Court Of Appeals


Connecticut v. Schuler, Jun-16-2015

J. Gruendel finds that the lower court properly allowed evidence of a previous non-consensual sexual encounter into evidence in a jury trial against defendant. The encounter at issue was similar to the sexual assault that occurred when the victim was sleeping off intoxication, only to wake up to defendant performing oral sex on the victim. Affirmed

Edit Delete Connecticut Supreme Court


Dinan v. Patten, Jun-16-2015

J. Espinosa finds that the statutory share plaintiff spouse should receive as part of an estate should be calculated on the basis of the value before the deduction of taxes and that plaintiff should not be stopped from seeking her statutory share. Affirmed.

Edit Delete Connecticut Supreme Court


Ferri v. Powell-Ferri, Jun-16-2015

J. Eveleigh finds that the state does not require a party to a marriage dissolution action to take affirmative steps to recover marital assets taken by a third party. Public policy requires the court to try and keep the financial status of the parties at a status quo during dissolution proceedings. Affirmed.

Edit Delete Court of International Trade


Jiangsu Jiasheng Photovoltaic Technology v. U.S., Jun-16-2015

J. Pogue finds that a domestic exporter's motion to intervene in this dispute over antidumping duties on crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells shall be denied as untimely, since this litigation began more than two years ago.

Edit Delete DC Circuit


Aera Energy v. FERC, Jun-16-2015

J. Sentelle finds that respondent properly adjusted natural gas transport rates. Petitioner owns and operates a gas pipeline that runs from Wyoming to other western states and knowingly accepted a level-based rate structure instead of a traditional one. This gave it access to lower initial rates to help it with marketing and also exposed it to recovering costs that it would otherwise recover if it used a normal rate structure. Petitioner cannot now claim that it was unaware of the long term benefits and detriments of this approach since its business practices and contracts indicate otherwise. Its totally equity-based capital structure is unique, but this does not appear to have affected its rate projections. Affirmed.

Edit Delete DC Circuit


Matter of Stevenson v. , Jun-16-2015

J. Kavanaugh finds that the lower court properly upheld the bankruptcy court's finding that petitioner bank is entitled to equitable subrogation. The debtor and her son jointly own a house that they refinanced under a deed of trust that gave Wells Fargo certain rights to the house. The debtor then refinanced a second time with HSBC Bank, but the son did not assent. HSBC then paid off the first mortgage, which gave it the right to sue the son under it even if he did not assent to HSBC's own mortgage. Once the debtor stopped making mortgage payments, HSBC had no choice but to proceed under an equitable subrogation theory since it could not foreclose absent the son's signing of its own deed of trust. Equitable enrichment applies in just such cases to prevent forfeiture or unjust enrichment. Affirmed.

Edit Delete DC Circuit


Murphy v. Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys, Jun-16-2015

J. Henderson finds that the lower court properly denied plaintiff prisoner's FOIA request for grand jury information from two criminal cases. Releasing the times and dates of a grand jury convention could reveal witnesses' identities. For example, an offender might be able to discover whether a given witness was absent from work or home at the same time that the grand jury proceeding was ongoing. Secrecy is essential given the great lengths to which defendants will go to discover witnesses' and informants' identities. Witness tampering and reprisals are common when secrecy is eroded in such proceedings. Plaintiff already received a copy of his indictment with nothing redacted except for times, dates and names. Affirmed.

Edit Delete Delaware Supreme Court


Terex Corp. v. Southern Track & Pump, Jun-16-2015

J. Valihura answers a certified question of law for the third circuit by interpreting a supplier's repurchase obligation under Delaware's Equipment Dealer Contracts Statute, and deciding that a supplier's repurchase obligation does not extend to used inventory under the statute. The so-called Dealer Statute was enacted to balance the interests of dealers and suppliers, and though the statute does not distinguish between new and used, it includes the term "all inventory" in its wording. In finding the Dealer Statute ambiguous and silent on the subject of used inventory, the court favors the interpretation that the omission was intentional and that the parties or courts are to determine the value of used inventory. The "all inventory" wording applies only to "new, unused, undamaged, and complete inventory."

Edit Delete Federal Circuit


Williamson v. Citrix Online, Jun-16-2015

J. Linn finds that the lower court improperly found for defendants in a patent dispute over "virtual classroom" software after incorrectly construing the limitations "graphical display representative of a classroom." However, it correctly found that the term "distributed learning control module" in certain claims lacked corresponding structure, and dismissed these claims. Reversed in part.

Edit Delete Federal Circuit


Microsoft Corporation v. Proxyconn, Jun-16-2015

J. Prost finds that the patent board misconstrued three terms in making its finding that defendant's claims are unpatentable. The disputed patent claims relate to a system for increasing the speed of data access in a packet-switched network. The board properly found claim 24 related to searching for data with a digital digest in a network's cache memory is patentable. Reversed in part.

Edit Delete Federal Circuit


GTNX v. Inttra, Jun-16-2015

[Consolidated.] J. Taranto finds that petitioner's appeal of the patent board's reconsideration of its prior decision in the case must be dismissed. The patent board vacated its prior decision in this case after finding that the proceedings violated a statutory proscription. Petitioner has identified no statute that precludes the board from reconsidering an initial institution decision. Affirmed.

Edit Delete Georgia Court Of Appeals


Sevilla-Carcamo v. State, Jun-16-2015

Per curiam, the court of appeals finds on reconsideration that defendant's interlocutory appeal must be granted.

Edit Delete Georgia Court Of Appeals


Lopez v. State, Jun-16-2015

J. McFadden finds that the lower court properly convicted defendant of aggravated stalking. On appeal, defendant argued ineffective assistance of counsel. However, defendant failed to establish that counsel was deficient. Affirmed.

Edit Delete Georgia Court Of Appeals


Ragland v. State, Jun-16-2015

J. McFadden finds that the lower court properly convicted defendant of rape and enticing a child for indecent purposes. On appeal, defendant argued ineffective assistance of counsel but failed to establish deficient performance. Affirmed.

Edit Delete Georgia Court Of Appeals


Ballard v. Newton County Board of Tax Assessors, Jun-16-2015

J. Boggs finds that the lower court properly granted summary judgment to a tax board in a property valuation case. Appellant argued the property purchased at a tax sale should have qualified for a one-year, purchase price freeze. However, the lower court found that a tax sale does not qualify as an arm's length, bona fide sale under state law. Affirmed.

Edit Delete Georgia Court Of Appeals


State v. Powell, Jun-16-2015

Per curiam, the court of appeals finds that the state's appeal must be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. The state sought to appeal a remolded sentence in a robbery and burglary case.

Edit Delete Georgia Court Of Appeals


Owens v. State, Jun-16-2015

J. McFadden finds that the lower court properly convicted defendant of marijuana possession with intent to distribute. Defendant argued certain statements he made to police should not have been admissible at trial. However, some of his comments were made prior to his arrest, and others were made after he had been Mirandized. Affirmed.

Edit Delete Georgia Court Of Appeals


Shears v. State, Jun-16-2015

J. McFadden finds that the lower court properly convicted defendant of trafficking in methamphetamine and possession of a controlled substance. On appeal, he argued ineffective assistance of counsel but failed to establish deficiency or prejudice. Affirmed.

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