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Edit Delete 10th Circuit

TAX, FRAUD

U.S. v. Rampton, Aug-08-2014

J. Hartz finds that the lower court properly convicted defendant of nine counts of aiding and abetting the filing of false tax returns, after refusing to instruct the jury on the defense of entrapment by estoppel. Defendant argued that her receipt of a large tax refund check was a government pronouncement that her actions were legal. However, she was not entitled to argue this defense because it would be unreasonable for a jury to infer that the tax refund granted legality to her conduct. Affirmed.

Edit Delete 10th Circuit

SECURITIES, FRAUD, CLASS ACTIONS

United Food and Commerical Workers Union Local 880 Pension Fund v. Chesapeake Energy, Aug-08-2014

J. Hartz finds that the lower court properly found for defendants in a securities fraud class action. Right before the 2008 financial crisis hit, defendant sold 25 million shares in a public offering. Shortly thereafter, defendant's share price fell more than 30 percent. Although defendant did not disclose that it had an allegedly risky gas-price hedging strategy, and its CEO lacked the resources to meet margin calls, these omissions were not material or misleading. "No purpose would have been served by 'disclosing' that [CEO] McClendon might have to sell a large portion of the margined stock if the bottom dropped out of the market," the panel said. Affirmed.

Edit Delete 10th Circuit

ARBITRATION, EMPLOYMENT

Sanchez v. Nitro-Lift Technologies, Aug-08-2014

J. Seymour finds that the lower court improperly denied employer's motions to compel arbitration in an overtime dispute. Three employees claim their former employer failed to pay them overtime wages. While the "admittedly narrow" contract provides "forceful evidence" that plaintiffs' claims are not covered by the scope of the arbitration clause, all ambiguities in the contract must be resolved in favor of coverage. Reversed.

Edit Delete 11th Circuit

EMPLOYMENT, CIVIL RIGHTS

Evans v. Books-a-Million, Aug-08-2014

J. Berman finds that the lower court properly dismissed plaintiff's Family and Medical Leave Act and Title VII claims. The civil rights claim fails since nothing shows that the adverse employment actions against plaintiff were taken due to her race or gender. However, she may have a colorable claim under the Act because it does not require her to demonstrate traditional damages, but only a right to equitable relief. "Prejudicial action" under the Act is not synonymous with damages. Affirmed.

Edit Delete 2nd Circuit

ASSAULT, WITNESS

U.S. v. Ledee, Aug-08-2014

J. Walker Jr. holds that defendant's right to a public trial was not violated when the lower court closed the courtroom during an underage sexual abuse victim's testimony. "Ensuring [the victim's] uninhibited testimony was an overriding interest that would likely be prejudiced unless the courtroom were closed...such closure during [the victim's] testimony would be no broader than necessary to protect that interest." Affirmed.

Edit Delete 2nd Circuit

EMPLOYMENT

Nielsen v. AECOM Technology Corp., Aug-08-2014

J. Livingston holds that plaintiff failed to plead a sufficient Whistleblower Act claim where he alleged that defendant fired him after he complained that a colleague allowed fire safety designs to be approved without review. Plaintiff failed to allege that he reasonably believed that he had reported conduct protected by the statute. The conduct plaintiff complained of does not relate to shareholder fraud. Affirmed.

Edit Delete 2nd Circuit

SECURITIES, BANKRUPTCY

Picard v. Fairfield Greenwich, Aug-08-2014

J. Sack holds that a trustee charged with recovering assets on behalf of creditors and customers of Bernard L. Madoff and his investment firm failed to allege a plausible declaratory relief claim. Two underlying actions referred to by appellant are not barred by a bankruptcy stay because they do not involve estate property or suits against debtors. Affirmed.

Edit Delete 5th Circuit

IMMIGRATION, SENTENCING

U.S. v. Nava, Aug-08-2014

J. Smith finds that the lower court properly sentenced defendant for unlawful reentry after deportation. Although the original sentence was erroneous, the court did not have to hold a separate hearing to correct it, but could do so on its own. Affirmed.

Edit Delete 5th Circuit

DEATH PENALTY, MURDER

Brown v. Stephens, Aug-08-2014

J. Jolly finds that the lower court properly denied petitioner funding to appeal his death sentence and find a mitigation specialist. The sentencing court already gave adequate consideration to his troubled childhood and low IQ, as well as other mitigating factors. The brutality of the crime, in which petitioner and his accomplices bound and shot six people execution-style, outweigh the mitigating circumstances. Affirmed.

Edit Delete 5th Circuit

IMMIGRATION, ADMINISTRATIVE LAW

Garcia v. Holder, Aug-08-2014

J. Graves finds that the Board of Immigration Appeals properly denied petitioner withholding of removal and Convention Against Torture protection. He failed to prove that police were behind the beating and persecution that he suffered in El Salvador, and there is no right to asylum based purely on being the victim of a crime. Asylum requires persecution based on membership in a protected group, and neither economic extortion victims nor affluent Salvadorans are protected. Potential crimes by non-governmental entities against citizens combined with police failures do not prove government acquiescence. Affirmed.

Edit Delete 6th Circuit

DEBT COLLECTION, PROPERTY

Currier v. First Resolution Investment, Aug-08-2014

J. Stranch finds that the lower court improperly found for defendant in a debt collection dispute. Defendant held a lien against plaintiff's home for one month, although the judgment against her never became final and was later vacated. The filing of an invalid lien against a debtor's home while a collection action remains pending is prohibited under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, and therefore plaintiff has a valid claim. Reversed.

Edit Delete 6th Circuit

SEARCH, DRUG OFFENDER

U.S. v. Noble, Aug-08-2014

[Consolidated.] J. Moore finds that the lower court improperly convicted defendants for drug trafficking based on evidence collected in a search of one defendant's person. The officer frisked defendant for weapons because he noticed defendant was nervous. However, nervousness is not a sufficient reason to believe defendant was armed and dangerous, especially given that all the vehicle's occupants complied with the officer's commands. The officer did not recognize defendant as a person with a criminal history, nor did defendant give him any reason to believe he was a threat to the officer. Reversed.

Edit Delete 6th Circuit

COMPETENCE, SELF REPRESENTATION

U.S. v. Heard, Aug-08-2014

J. Kethledge finds that the lower court properly convicted defendant of drug and money-laundering offenses after a trial at which he represented himself. The trial court was not obligated to conduct a separate hearing on whether defendant was competent to stand trial. Defendant's diagnosis with a personality disorder does not automatically make him legally incompetent. Further, defendant's decision to represent himself was knowing and intelligent. Affirmed.

Edit Delete 7th Circuit

CIVIL RIGHTS, JURY

Marshall v. City of Chicago, Aug-08-2014

J. Kanne finds that the lower court properly dismissed plaintiff's civil rights claim that defendant officers wrongly entered his home and arrested him. The court was not required to excuse a prospective juror due to her preconceived belief concerning felons and firearms. This belief did not render her unfit to participate based on her explanation. The court did not violate plaintiff's rights by failing to provide him with a jury whose racial makeup reflected the community's demographics. Rather, plaintiff had only a right to a venire composed of a cross-section of the community, and he got one. The state took no actions to deprive him of such. Affirmed.

Edit Delete 7th Circuit

JURISDICTION, WRONGFUL DEATH

Lindner v. Union Pacific Railroad, Aug-08-2014

J. Sykes finds that the appeal must be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. Plaintiff brought this wrongful death suit after his parents were killed when defendant's train derailed and caused a bridge to collapse. Plaintiff initially filed suit only against diverse defendants, but later added some non-diverse ones. This defeated complete diversity and thus undermined the court's subject matter jurisdiction. Plaintiff's amendment was not made in bad faith or solely to defeat diversity. An order remanding to state court for lack of jurisdiction is generally not appealable.

Edit Delete 8th Circuit

DRUG OFFENDER, FIREARMS, SENTENCING

U.S. v. Deering, Aug-08-2014

J. Loken finds that the lower court properly convicted defendant of cocaine and firearm possession and properly sentenced him. His eventual cooperation with the government did not require the court to reduce his sentence, but rather only gave it the right to do so. Affirmed.

Edit Delete 8th Circuit

HABEAS, DRUG OFFENDER, INEFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE

Anderson v. U.S., Aug-08-2014

J. Colloton finds that the lower court properly denied petitioner habeas on his crack cocaine possession conviction. The evidence against him was sufficient, and the trial attorney's decision not to object to the admission of evidence obtained from a trash can was reasonable and strategic. The trash can was on the curb side, not within the home or the curtilage. Affirmed.

Edit Delete 8th Circuit

FRAUD, SENTENCING

U.S. v. Callaway, Aug-08-2014

J. Murphy finds that the lower court properly convicted defendant of wire fraud and mail fraud. He exploited a person who suffers from various disabilities. The court put adequate consideration into defendant's mitigating factors, such as his military service and typical health problems. The sentence reasonably reflected the victim's extreme vulnerability. Affirmed.

Edit Delete 8th Circuit

EDUCATION, CIVIL PROCEDURE

Stevenson v. Blytheville School District #5, Aug-08-2014

J. Smith finds that the appeal must be dismissed as moot. Plaintiffs sued to force defendant to opt back in to the Arkansas Public School Choice Act. The controversy is moot since defendant voluntarily fixed the problem, and there is no danger of repetition because the requested injunction applies only to the present school year, not future ones.

Edit Delete 8th Circuit

CIVIL RIGHTS, CONSTITUTION

Walls v. Tadman, Aug-08-2014

J. Smith finds that the lower court properly dismissed plaintiff's suit that defendant prison guards violated his Eighth Amendment right against the infliction of cruel and unusual punishment when they failed to protect him from attacks by fellow prisoners. Officials tried to offer him protective custody, but he declined it. This alone shows that defendants did what they were required to do. Affirmed.

Edit Delete 8th Circuit

BUSINESS PRACTICES, TRADEMARK

Syngenta Seeds v. Bunge North America, Aug-08-2014

J. Bye finds that the lower court properly dismissed plaintiff's United States Warehouse Act suit, but improperly dismissed its trademark infringement suit. There is no private cause of action for violations of a warehouse operator's fair treatment obligations under the Act. However, plaintiff should be allowed to prevent further evidence regarding its Lanham Act claims. Affirmed in part.

Edit Delete 8th Circuit

CIVIL RIGHTS, MALICIOUS PROSECUTION

Dowell v. Lincoln County, Missouri, Aug-08-2014

J. Bye finds that the lower court properly dismissed plaintiff's civil rights claim that defendants maliciously prosecuted him for rape and murder. Defendants did not hide exonerating evidence and had reasonable grounds to believe that defendant had committed the rape and thus the murder. Affirmed.

Edit Delete 8th Circuit

ENVIRONMENT, TORT

ASARCO v. Union Pacific Railroad, Aug-08-2014

J. Riley finds that the lower court properly dismissed plaintiff's suit to rearrange the parties' liabilities over environmental damage caused by a lead refinery and smelter. Defendant settled with the EPA for $25 million whereas plaintiff has paid approximately $200 million. There is nothing inherently unfair about this under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act. Nebraska law did not require defendant to waive the Act's protection. Affirmed.

Edit Delete 8th Circuit

DRUG OFFENDER, SENTENCING

U.S. v. Franco, Aug-08-2014

J. Egan finds that the lower court improperly denied defendant an evidentiary hearing on his sentence for methamphetamine distribution. Counsel should have presented witnesses to support defendant's credibility. Reversed.

Edit Delete 9th Circuit



Experience Hendrix v. Hendrixlicensing.com, Aug-08-2014

[Amended.]

Edit Delete 9th Circuit

CIVIL PROCEDURE

Laguna v. Coverall North America Inc., Aug-08-2014

Per curiam, the circuit court finds that the parties must file a response to a sua sponte petition for rehearing en banc.

Edit Delete Alabama Court of Civil Appeals

FAMILY LAW

Faulkner v. Hays, Aug-08-2014

J. Thompson finds that lower court properly dismissed the wife's action alleging the father conspired with his employer to suppress his true gross income, in order to reduce his child support obligation. The mother's filing is untimely if her motion is read as a request for relief from judgment on the ground of fraud, and she failed to pay the required filing fee to qualify her motion as an independent action. Affirmed.

Edit Delete Alabama Court of Civil Appeals

FAMILY LAW, JURISDICTION

J.H. v. C.Y., Aug-08-2014

J. Donaldson finds that the lower court properly had jurisdiction to rule on the minor child's custody, because the child left the home state of Mississippi more than six months prior to the ruling. Affirmed.

Edit Delete Alabama Court of Civil Appeals

EMPLOYMENT, CIVIL PROCEDURE

Alabama Department of Labor v. Davis, Aug-08-2014

J. Moore finds that the lower court improperly awarded appellee $4,865, the amount the department garnished from her income tax return to cover an overpayment of unemployment benefits. Appellee claims she did not receive the notices of determination as to her disqualification for benefits, but service was properly completed, because it is appellee's responsibility to update her address. Affirmed.

Edit Delete Alabama Court of Civil Appeals

FAMILY LAW

Long v. Limestone County Department of Human Resources, Aug-08-2014

J. Moore finds that the lower court improperly awarded custody of the minor child to the department of human resources. The department was not a party to the dependency action, and was not served with the guardian ad litem's motion to transfer custody. Further, the lower court should have held a hearing on the motion before changing the child's custody. Reversed.

Edit Delete Alabama Court of Civil Appeals

RESTRAINING ORDER, COMMUNICATIONS, CONTRACT

Jacobs Broadcast Group v. Jeff Beck Broadcasting Group, Aug-08-2014

J. Thomas finds that the lower court properly granted plaintiff a preliminary injunction prohibiting defendant from selling a radio translator construction permit because it would allegedly violate the parties' noncompetition agreement incorporated in their contract for the sale of four radio stations. Defendant was given sufficient notice that the preliminary injunction would be considered at a hearing to dissolve the temporary restraining order, and fully able to present a defense to the preliminary injunction because the elements necessary to establish one are identical to those of a temporary restraining order. Affirmed.

Edit Delete Alabama Court of Civil Appeals

NEGLIGENCE

Shirley v. Tuscaloosa County Park and Recreation Authority, Aug-08-2014

J. Moore finds that the lower court improperly ruled in favor of the park in a negligence action. There is evidence that the park officials knew the bleachers were in need of repair, and that there is a likelihood someone would fall off them in their state of disrepair. Nevertheless, the officials failed to guard the bleachers, or post any warnings. Reversed.

Edit Delete Alabama Court of Civil Appeals

TORT, EMPLOYMENT

Owen v. Tennessee Valley Printing Co., Aug-08-2014

J. Moore finds that the lower court properly found for defendant in a tort case. Defendant did not employ the man who hit plaintiff, but his wife. He was delivering defendant's newspapers in his wife's stead as a personal favor. Therefore, defendant cannot be held liable for his actions. Affirmed.

Edit Delete Alabama Court of Civil Appeals

WILLS / PROBATE, JURISDICTION

Pickett-Robinson v. Estate of Robinson, Aug-08-2014

J. Moore finds that the widow's appeal must be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. The parties did not offer the will for probate, so the court does not have jurisdiction over the administration of the decedent's estate.

Edit Delete Alabama Court of Civil Appeals

FAMILY LAW

Moore v. Moore, Aug-08-2014

J. Thomas finds that the lower court improperly declared the father's wage garnishment void. It was not necessary for the former wife to win a judgment declaring the former husband's child support payments to be in arrears. In addition, the husband and his employer were sufficiently notified of the total amount to be garnished from his wages. Reversed.

Edit Delete Alabama Court of Civil Appeals

LANDLORD TENANT

412 South Court Street v. Alabama Psychiatric Services, Aug-08-2014

J. Donaldson finds that the lower court improperly awarded a landlord an inadequate damages award against a tenant for breach of a lease agreement. The award of only two months rent is inconsistent with the jury's finding that the tenant breached the four-year amended lease after just 10 months. Therefore, the landlord is entitled to a new trial. Reversed.

Edit Delete Alabama Court of Civil Appeals

FAMILY LAW

L.T. v. W.L., Aug-08-2014

J. Moore finds that the lower court improperly denied a mother's petition contesting defendant's petition to adopt the minor child. The mother initially consented to the adoption, but her consent is invalid, because she under the age of 19 at the time, and was not appointed a guardian ad litem to protect her interests as required by law. Reversed.

Edit Delete Alabama Court of Civil Appeals

FAMILY LAW, JURISDICTION

Herzog v. Stonerook, Aug-08-2014

J. Moore finds that the appeal must be dismissed because the parties' Hawaii divorce judgment was not registered in Alabama. Therefore, Alabama courts do not have jurisdiction to hear the former husband's petition for modification.

Edit Delete Alabama Court of Civil Appeals

JURISDICTION, EMPLOYMENT

Ex parte Diamond Scaffold Services Group v. , Aug-08-2014

J. Thompson finds that petitioner's request for a writ directing the lower court to transfer the action to Mobile Circuit Court shall be granted. The employee's workplace accident occurred in Mobile County, and defendant's corporate is located in Mobile County. There is also no evidence defendant has ever done business by agent in Washington County.

Edit Delete Alabama Supreme Court

CIVIL PROCEDURE

Ex parte Alabama v. , Aug-08-2014

J. Bryan denies appellant a writ of certiorari.

Edit Delete Alaska Courts Of Appeal

SEARCH

Siedentop v. Alaska, Aug-08-2014

J. Mannheimer finds that defendant was improperly convicted of possession of cocaine with intent to deliver and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a felony drug offense. The officers violated the Fourth Amendment when one of them placed his foot across the threshold of defendant's property to prevent him from closing the door. The officers did not have a search warrant for defendant's home even though they had a warrant for the arrest of a third party whose girlfriend thought he might have gone to defendant's house. While the officers had reason to believe that they might find the third party in the house, the officers did not have probable cause to believe that the third party was currently in the house when they arrived. Reversed.

Edit Delete Alaska Supreme Court

BANKING/LENDING

Alaska Trustee v. Bachmeier, Aug-08-2014

J. Stowers finds that AS 34.20.070(b) allows for the inclusion of all reasonable foreclosure costs in a reinstatement quote in order to halt the foreclosure of a house. Under Kuretich and Albrecht, when a borrower whose mortgage had entered default challenged the inclusion in the reinstatement amounts of foreclosure costs that were neither attorney fees nor court costs, these foreclosure costs are properly included in the reinstatement amount. Further, the 2004 amendment did not expand the Unfair Trade Practices Act to cover real estate transactions, as well as transactions for goods and services. Reversed.

Edit Delete Alaska Supreme Court

CONTRACT, CORPORATIONS

Pederson v. Arctic Slope Regional Corp., Aug-08-2014

A shareholder sought to inspect books and records of account, specifically the minutes of a corporation's board and committee meetings relating to executive compensation. J. Fabe finds that the superior court improperly held that electronically maintained accounting records are not within the statutory category of "books and records of account." The corporation kept its complete books and records of account electronically, and the shareholder's statutory right of inspection extends beyond the annual reports and proxy statements provided by the corporation. Further, the corporation should not have demanded that the shareholder sign confidentially agreements before being allowed to inspect the documents he requested because the agreements made no attempt to differentiate confidential from non-confidential information on a reasonable basis, and the agreements contained unreasonably restrictive confidentiality protections. Reversed.

Edit Delete Alaska Supreme Court

ELECTIONS, MUNICIPAL LAW, TAX

Price v. Kenai Peninsula Borough, Aug-08-2014

J. Stowers finds that the superior court improperly upheld the Kenai Peninsula Borough Clerk's rejection of Price's ballot referendum application to repeal the Borough Ordinance, which authorizes the general law cities within the Borough to tax nonprepared food items on a year-round basis. The eferendum does not violate the prohibition on local or special legislation and would be enforceable if passed. The challenged ordinance is of boroughwide interest and does not apply to a permanently closed class. Further, the proposed referendum does not conflict with or exceed the scope of the power granted to the Borough Assembly to authorize general law cities to collect certain taxes. Reversed.

Edit Delete Alaska Supreme Court

EMPLOYMENT

Blas v. State Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Aug-08-2014

J. Stowers finds that the superior court properly upheld the Department of Labor's determination that claimant committed fraud when he failed to report that he worked and traveled during the weeks he received unemployment benefits. There was evidence that claimant worked during this time based on payment invoices, payment receipt stubs, and copies of paychecks that corresponded to the weeks that claimant had applied for unemployment benefits. Further, claimant did not dispute that he worked during that time. Additionally, there is evidence that claimant failed to report travel, as claimant admitted that he did not search for work during the period he traveled. Affirmed.

Edit Delete Alaska Supreme Court

ELECTIONS, CIVIL PROCEDURE

Alaska Judicial Council v. Kruse, Aug-08-2014

Voters challenged the constitutionality of AS 22.15.195, which grants the Alaska Judicial Council the power to recommend that the electorate not retain a sitting district court judge. J. Stowers finds that the superior court properly determined that AS 22.15.195 is constitutional. The voters fail to cite provisions of the Alaska Constitution that conflict with the statute, and the Council has an explicit grant of authority from the Alaska Legislature to make recommendations. Further, the Council did not exceed its authority by disseminating new information in the 60 days prior to the election because the legislature interprets AS 22.15.195 as permitting the Council to provide the public with additional information within the 60 days prior to an election. Affirmed in part.

Edit Delete Alaska Supreme Court

CONTRACT, TRUSTS

Moffitt v. Moffitt, Aug-08-2014

J. Bolger finds that the superior court improperly dismissed as untimely a daughter's lawsuit filed as her mother's guardian and conservator and the successor trustee of her parents' living trusts, seeking to rescind or reform a deed they executed in 1995 and a contract they signed in 1998. The laches defense applies to the daughter's equitable claims. The claims are for rescission or reformation of the 1995 deed and the 1998 agreement due to diminished capacity, undue influence, and unconscionability. The daughter had not rescinded the contract when she filed her claim, but asked for an order declaring both transactions null and void. Vacated.

Edit Delete California Courts Of Appeal

FAMILY LAW, TRIBAL LAW

Los Angeles County Dept. of Children and Family Services v. Ashlee R., Aug-08-2014

J. Kitching finds, on rehearing, that a juvenile court correctly terminated defendant's parental rights to her son. While defendant argued that the juvenile court made a mistake in finding that the Indian Child Welfare Act did not apply in this case due to a lack of evidence that the child could be considered Indian, she did not object during the hearing and brought her appeal too late to be considered. Affirmed.

Edit Delete California Courts Of Appeal

HABEAS, COMPETENCE, SEX OFFENDER

In re Williams v. , Aug-08-2014

J. Bigelow finds that the inmate has been improperly kept at a county jail for the purpose of receiving services to be made competent to stand trial. While the trial court correctly stated that it lacked authority to order placement at a facility that refused to admit the inmate because it could not guarantee his safety, the court has an obligation to find another facility that will accept the inmate. Furthermore, the inmate cannot be kept confined in county jail indefinitely, and the court must make a determination whether the inmate will become competent in the near future and place him elsewhere if need be.

Edit Delete California Courts Of Appeal

ATTORNEYS, ATTORNEY FEES

Mojtahedi v. Vargas, Aug-08-2014

J. Kitching finds, on rehearing, that a trial court correctly dismissed plaintiff's action against defendant for his share of attorney fees from his former clients. Plaintiff claimed that defendant, who took plaintiff's place and won the clients a settlement, owed him attorney fees for the time he worked for the clients. But plaintiff never brought an action against the clients for attorney fees, cannot show that he ever filed a lien against them, and, therefore, defendant should not have to pay him from the client trust fund account. Affirmed.

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