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11th Circuit

IMMIGRATION, ADMINISTRATIVE LAW

Spaho v. U.S. Attorney General, Sep-16-2016

J. Walker finds that the Board of Immigration Appeals properly upheld an immigration judge's finding that petitioner was removable. He is a citizen of Albania who has been a permanent resident in the U.S. since 2002, but his 2012 guilty plea to drug trafficking in Florida and 40-month prison sentence permitted the board to strip him of his green card and other protections. The modified categorical approach to classifying such crimes is not unlawful, and his conviction meets the federal standard for illicit trafficking. Affirmed.

2nd Circuit

DISABILITY DISCRIMINATION, EDUCATION

B.C. v. Mount Vernon School District, Sep-16-2016

J. Livingston finds in favor of the school district in a disability discrimination suit. A group of children found to need additional instructional assistance under New York's Individuals with Disabilities Education Act claimed disparate treatment under the Americans with Disabilities Act because they were more often assigned to classes that kept them from accumulating the credits necessary to move on to the next grade. But because the two acts define "disability" differently, the statistics presented by the students and their parents fail to demonstrate discrimination by the district. Affirmed.

2nd Circuit

DUE PROCESS, CONSTITUTION

Betances v. Fischer, Sep-16-2016

J. Walker finds that the district court properly found for inmates affected by New York's practice of administratively adding a term of post-release supervision when sentencing judges failed to do so. State law requires parole for violent felons, but some judges did not fix it at sentencing; instead, prison officials calculated the additional time when processing offenders. The practice was ruled a due-process violation by the circuit in 2006. Because nearly two years passed before state officials moved to re-sentence the affected inmates, the finding was appropriate. Affirmed.

5th Circuit

INSURANCE, INDEMNIFICATION

Federal Insurance Co. v. Northfield Insurance Co., Sep-16-2016

J. Owen finds that the lower court improperly concluded that defendant was not obligated to defend the insured due to a pollution exclusion clause in the policy. Both insurance companies are required to indemnify and defend the insured against various claims and liabilities by Louisiana land owners regarding mineral rights. Reversed.

5th Circuit

EMPLOYMENT, DISABILITY DISCRIMINATION

Dillard v. City of Austin, Sep-16-2016

J. Costa finds that the lower court properly dismissed the former employee's disability discrimination claims because he was fired for a non-discriminatory reason. There is substantial evidence that the city provided the employee with reasonable accommodations in the form of an administrative assistant position. Affirmed.

6th Circuit

IMMIGRATION

Amezola-Garcia v. Lynch, Sep-16-2016

J. Rogers finds that the immigration board's order removing the immigrant for being illegally present in the U.S. must be remanded. The board was not correct when it stated that the immigrant testified he lied on his application about his 1996 attempted entry. Rather, the evidences shows he testified that he forgot about the incident. However, the board correctly rejected the immigrant's claim that his relation to his murdered brother-in-law will subject him to future persecution in Mexico. Reversed in part.

7th Circuit

SOCIAL SECURITY, HEALTHCARE, ADMINISTRATIVE LAW

Ghiselli v. Colvin, Sep-16-2016

J. Wood finds that the lower court improperly denied claimant social security disability benefits for problems including degenerative disc disease, asthma and obesity. Although one doctor advised that she could perform a four-hour shift, this was not objectively supported by medical evidence. On the other hand, the absence of objective medical corroboration for a complainant's subjective accounts of pain does not permit an administrative judge to disregard those accounts. Reversed.

7th Circuit

DISABILITY DISCRIMINATION, EMPLOYMENT

Lawler v. Peoria School District No. 150, Sep-16-2016

Per curiam, the circuit finds that the lower court improperly dismissed an employee's disability-based employment discrimination claim that she was wrongly terminated due to a PTSD relapse. An earlier relapse led to her being transferred to a different school where she was attacked by an unruly student, and instead of responding adequately to her request for another transfer, the school accelerated her next performance review and rated her as unsatisfactory. Even if the district thought she had changed her mind about the need for an accommodation, it still may have failed to engage her in a full review process, and on appeal every assumption must be made in her favor. Reversed.

9th Circuit

DRUG OFFENDER, SEARCH

U.S. v. Soto-Zuniga, Sep-16-2016

J. Gould finds that the district court erroneously convicted defendant of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. The court should have granted defendant's discovery requests regarding the constitutionality of the checkpoint and whether its purpose is to control immigration or prevent general crime. Furthermore, the court should have granted defendant's discovery request regarding the government's investigation into his supposed drug smuggling activities because the documents may contain information allowing defendant to identify teenagers to whom he says he gave a ride and who may have planted the drugs. Vacated.

9th Circuit

EMPLOYMENT, DAMAGES

Mitri v. Walgreen, Sep-16-2016

Per curiam, the circuit finds that the district court properly ruled on behalf of a pharmacist in a wrongful termination lawsuit related to the pharmacist's whistleblowing activities about Medicare billing fraud. The evidence suggests Walgreens' managing agent knew about and approved firing the pharmacist. However, the punitive damages award of $1.1 million is reduced to $352,000 because the jury did not award for emotional damages and there is no evidence Walgreens engaged in a pattern of behavior or caused physical harm. Affirmed in part.

9th Circuit

HABEAS

Tarango v. McDaniel, Sep-16-2016

[Order.] [Modified.] Per curiam, the circuit finds that in the matter of the district court erroneously denying a Nevada prisoner's habeas petition, in which he claims the police tailed a hold-out juror in a trial after a robbery and shootout at a bar filled with off-duty police officers, the case will not be reheard en banc.

9th Circuit

CIVIL RIGHTS, EMPLOYMENT

Dev v. Donahoe, Sep-16-2016

Per curiam, the circuit finds that the district court properly granted summary judgment to the U.S. Postmaster General in an employment and civil rights case. The employee failed to establish that he was treated differently on the basis of his race or gender. Affirmed.

9th Circuit

CIVIL PROCEDURE

Lowry v. City of San Diego, Sep-16-2016

[Order.] J. Thomas finds that upon the vote of a majority of judges this case will be reheard en banc.

9th Circuit

CIVIL RIGHTS, IMMUNITY

A.K.H. v. City of Tustin, Sep-16-2016

J. Fletcher finds that the district court properly denied qualified immunity to a policeman who allegedly used unlawful force when he killed an unarmed man who had been involved in a domestic dispute. The dispute was over by the time the police arrived, the man neither posed an immediate threat nor attempted to flee, and the officer's actions escalated to violence in less than a minute. Affirmed.

9th Circuit

INSURANCE

Newman v. United Fire & Casualty, Sep-16-2016

Per curiam, the circuit finds the district court properly granted summary judgment to a woman in an insurance complaint. Montana law applies in this case and requires United Fire to extend its coverage beyond the St. George premises.

Alabama Court of Civil Appeals

CIVIL PROCEDURE, PROPERTY

Bekken v. Greystone Residential Association, Sep-16-2016

J. Donaldson finds that the lower court improperly granted a residential association an injunction to enforce restrictive covenants. The action, which stemmed from a dispute over a home owner's outdoor improvements, was subject to a six-year statute of limitations. Reversed.

Alabama Court of Civil Appeals

FAMILY LAW

J.S. v. J.C., Sep-16-2016

J. Moore finds that the lower court properly terminated an incarcerated father's parental rights to a child. Contrary to the father's argument, the lower court did not err by denying his motion for transport so he could be present at the trial. Affirmed.

Alabama Court of Civil Appeals

FAMILY LAW

K.S.B. v. M.C.B., Sep-16-2016

J. Moore finds that the lower court properly terminated a father's parental rights to his child. The father did not support the child despite having the means to do so and had not visited the child in approximately two years. Affirmed.

Alabama Court of Civil Appeals

PRISONERS RIGHTS

Veteto v. Merriweather, Sep-16-2016

Per curiam, the court of civil appeals finds that the lower court improperly granted summary judgment to a prison warden and others in an action filed by an inmate concerning his treatment at the prison. The warden and other defendants failed to establish that there were no questions of material fact in the case. Reversed.

Alabama Court of Civil Appeals

WORKERS COMPENSATION

Page v. Southern Care, Sep-16-2016

J. Moore finds that the lower court properly determined an employee's mileage expenses pursuant to a workers' compensation settlement. Contrary to the employee's argument, she was not entitled to reimbursement for all of the miles she claimed for travel to her physician's office and pharmacy. Affirmed.

Alabama Court of Civil Appeals

RESTRAINING ORDER, FAMILY LAW

Venturi v. Venturi, Sep-16-2016

J. Thomas finds that a father's appeal in a protection-from-abuse case must be dismissed as untimely.

Alabama Court of Civil Appeals

CIVIL PROCEDURE, REAL ESTATE

Dombrowski Living Trust v. Morgantown Property Owners Association, Sep-16-2016

J. Donaldson finds that the lower court properly denied a trust's request to judicially redeem certain real property, which had been sold at a tax sale. The trust's delay in asserting its claim unfairly prejudiced the new owner of the disputed property. Affirmed.

Alabama Court of Civil Appeals

CIVIL PROCEDURE, NEGLIGENCE

Williams v. Limestone County Water & Sewer, Sep-16-2016

[Withdrawn.] J. Thompson finds that the lower court improperly granted summary judgment to a county water authority on a property owner's claim of negligence. The authority failed to establish that there were no issues of material fact. Reversed in part.

Alabama Supreme Court

PROPERTY, BANKING/LENDING

Iberiabank v. Niland, Sep-16-2016

J. Murdock grants ex parte Arvest Bank a writ of mandamus directing the circuit court to vacate its order denying Arvest's motion to quash a writ of execution obtained by plaintiff bank against property owned by defendant. The bank's interest in the property was attached to an individual's interest, but the bank's claim was extinguished when the individual died. Reversed.

Alabama Supreme Court

CIVIL RIGHTS

Okafor v. State, Sep-16-2016

J. Stuart finds the court of civil appeals incorrectly reversed the circuit court's grant of summary judgment in favor for the state on its forfeiture action concerning $16,500. Defendant, who was present during the search of the home where drugs and the money were found, requested the money back, stating it was not subject to condemnation because it was seized during an unlawful search. However, he failed to show he had a legitimate expectation of privacy, and circuit court properly declared that the money was contraband and it should be forfeited to the state. Reversed

Alabama Supreme Court

SENTENCING

Spencer v. State, Sep-16-2016

J. Murdock finds the court of criminal appeals incorrectly denied an inmate's motion for sentence reconsideration, holding the "prison-mailbox rule" applies to plaintiff, who had placed his motion in the prison system mailbox, but it was not delivered to the court until one year later. Reversed.

Alaska Courts Of Appeal

SEX OFFENDER, SENTENCING, CONSTITUTION

Lane v. State, Sep-16-2016

J. Mannheimer finds that the superior court incorrectly declared defendant to be mentally ill after he was found guilty of sexual assault. Defendant did not agree to the declaration, which was determined by a judge and both the prosecution and defense attorneys. Since the declaration could potentially expose defendant to a petition for involuntary mental commitment when he completes his sentence, it is unconstitutional. Reversed.

Alaska Courts Of Appeal

EVIDENCE, SEX OFFENDER

Miller v. State, Sep-16-2016

J. Mannheimer finds that defendant was properly found guilty of possessing a large amount of child pornography. Defendant argued that the prosecutor should not have entered evidence that he possessed a book about a man who advocated sexual relations between adults and children and who engaged in sex with hundreds of boys, but the evidence was ultimately harmless to the trial. Affirmed.

Alaska Supreme Court

PROPERTY

Fink v. Municipality of Anchorage, Sep-16-2016

J. Stowers finds that a pair of homeowners had no interest in a property. The property was previously considered undevelopable when subdivided in 1952, but an earthquake in 1964 rendered it developable. The homeowners owned four plots on the disputed land and now wish to develop it, but they did not show a substantial interest in the property before and are barred by the statute of limitations from pursuing any claim. Affirmed.

California Courts Of Appeal

CIVIL PROCEDURE, FAMILY LAW, DEBT COLLECTION

Rothstein v. Superior Court of Los Angeles, Sep-16-2016

J. Baker finds that the the lower court must vacate its order to transfer both a family law and civil case to a new judge. Since the civil case, which was filed against the husband for an unpaid debt by the limited liability company the wife runs, is not related to the couple's divorce case, only the civil case is to be transferred to a new judge.

California Courts Of Appeal

EMPLOYMENT

Perez v. U-Haul Co. of California, Sep-16-2016

J. Zelon finds that the trial court properly denied the employer's request to compel the aggrieved employees to arbitrate their employment claims that were filed under the Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA). Although the employer contends that the employment claim against it should be stayed so the parties can enter arbitration to determine if they having standing to litigate their claims, California law does not allow an employer to compel its employees to split a PAGA claim between more than one forum. Affirmed.

California Courts Of Appeal

NEGLIGENCE

Jorge v. Culinary Institute of America, Sep-16-2016

J. Richman finds that the trial court improperly denied the private college's request for judgment notwithstanding the verdict. Although the jury found that the college could be held liable for the car accident its chef instructor got into on his way home from work, the decision is unsupportable since the chef instructor was in his own car and off duty when the accident occurred during his normal commute. Reversed.

Court Of Federal Claims

CONTRACT

DekaTron v. U.S., Sep-16-2016

[Order.] J. Firestone finds that the government's motion to dismiss a company's contract claim for $4.9 million is denied on the grounds that the company has adequately stated a claim. The contracting officer representative verbally harassed the company's employees and hindered the company's performance under a technical support services contract by holding up invoices and applying penalties arbitrarily. As a result, the U.S. Department of Labor declined in bad faith to exercise the option year on the contract.

Court Of Federal Claims

TAX

Gann v. U.S., Sep-16-2016

J. Bruggink finds that a tax penalty was properly assessed to a man. The testimony and documentary evidence suggests that the man either knew or should have known he was supposed to pay employees' Federal Insurance Contributions Act taxes to the government and that failure to pay these taxes was a known risk.

DC Circuit

LABOR

DirecTV v. National Labor Relations Board, Sep-16-2016

J. Srinivasan finds that the National Labor Relations Board properly ordered a company to reinstate a group of employees who discussed their frustrations with a new pay policy with a local TV news station. Although employees should use formal labor processes in the first resort, the board reasonably found that their participation in the interview in furtherance of their employment-related grievances was protected concerted activity, and their statements were neither so disloyal or false as to be exempt from National Labor Relations Act protections. Their actions ultimately did not disrupt the negotiation process at all. Affirmed.

Federal Circuit

PATENT

Wi-Fi One v. Broadcom Corp., Sep-16-2016

J. Bryson finds that the patent board properly found that the patent-holder's various claims directed to a method for improving the efficiency by which messages are sent in a telecommunications system to be anticipated and, therefore, unpatentable. The disputed patent does not distinguish different required type identifier fields that were not previously suggested by admitted prior art. Affirmed.

Federal Circuit

PATENT

Lifenet Health v. Lifecell Corp., Sep-16-2016

J. Prost finds that the lower court properly found the patent-holder's patent related to plasticized soft tissue grafts suitable for transplantation into humans was infringed by defendant. The evidence does not suggest that a plasticized soft tissue graft would have been an obvious modification of prior art by a person of ordinary skill. Further, the lower court's construction of the patent terms is supported by the terms of the patent. Affirmed.

Florida Courts Of Appeal

EMPLOYMENT

School Board of Hillsborough County v. Tenney, Sep-16-2016

J. Salario finds that the lower court improperly found for the teacher in his challenge of the board's decision to fire him. The Teacher claims he was using the laptop to show images to students when an ad popped up showing a partially unclothed woman. However, the board's decision was not based entirely upon this incident, but also on his alleged persistent violations of school policies and failure to demonstrate his competency as a teacher. Reversed.

Florida Courts Of Appeal

RESTRAINING ORDER

Ceelen v. Grant, Sep-16-2016

J. Northcutt finds that the lower court improperly entered a stalking injunction against the boyfriend without affording him due process. The court may enter a temporary injunction against stalking, but must hold a full hearing before a permanent injunction may be entered. Reversed.

Florida Courts Of Appeal

FAMILY LAW

Lostaglio v. Lostaglio, Sep-16-2016

J. Berger finds that the trial court improperly calculated alimony in a divorce case. The wife needs more money to cover taxes and insurance related to the distribution of assets. Reversed in part.

Florida Courts Of Appeal

MURDER, JUVENILE LAW, SENTENCING

Bissonette v. State, Sep-16-2016

Per curiam, the court of appeals finds that the trial court improperly sentenced defendant to a life sentence for first-degree murder. Per a recent Florida Supreme Court decision, juveniles cannot receive life sentences without parole. Reversed.

Florida Courts Of Appeal

FAMILY LAW, DUE PROCESS

Anderson v. Anderson, Sep-16-2016

Per curiam, the court of appeals finds that the trial court properly dissolved the husband's marriage. However, due to a clerical error while the husband was incarcerated, he could not appear for the hearing. He should have a chance to be heard before assets are distributed. Affirmed in part.

Florida Courts Of Appeal

INSURANCE, CIVIL PROCEDURE

Progressive Select Insurance Co. v. Emergency Physicians of Central Florida, Sep-16-2016

Per curiam, the court of appeals finds that the trial court improperly denied the insurance company's argument over reimbursement amounts billed by the medical provider. Although the insurance company did not use the fee schedule outlined in the insurance policy, the company can still argue the reasonableness of the medical bills.

Florida Courts Of Appeal

SELF DEFENSE, ASSAULT, INEFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE

Marty v. State, Sep-16-2016

J. Badalamenti finds that the lower court improperly convicted defendant of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and sentenced him to a mandatory minimum sentence of three years in prison. Defendant's counsel was ineffective for neglecting to request a jury instruction on the justifiable use of nondeadly force, which was a self-defense supportable by the undisputed facts presented at trial. Reversed.

Florida Courts Of Appeal

MURDER, JUVENILE LAW, SENTENCING

Randolph v. State, Sep-16-2016

Per curiam, the court of appeals finds that the trial court improperly sentenced defendant to a life sentence for second-degree murder. Per a recent Florida Supreme Court decision, juveniles cannot receive life sentences without parole. Reversed.

Florida Courts Of Appeal

COMPETENCE

Frye v. State, Sep-16-2016

J. Northcutt finds that the lower court improperly convicted defendant without first adjudicating him to be competent after it initially found him incompetent to stand trial and committed him for treatment. While in some cases a competency finding can be made retroactively, here the retroactive finding is not supported by competent substantial evidence. Reversed.

Florida Courts Of Appeal

TRESPASS, JUVENILE LAW

A.L.H. v. State, Sep-16-2016

J. LaRose finds that the lower court properly placed the juvenile on probation until his 18th birthday for trespass of a vehicle. The juvenile's unprompted admission that he did not know the car was stolen was made before the officer informed him the car was stolen, and can be reasonable construed as demonstrating knowledge that the car was stolen. Affirmed.

Georgia Court Of Appeals

CRIMINAL PROCEDURE, DUI

Smith v. State, Sep-16-2016

J. Ellington finds that the lower court improperly convicted defendant for DUI per se. The arresting officer gave defendant misleading information regarding the consequences of refusing to take a breathalyzer test. However, defendant was properly convicted for DUI less safe, given the other evidence against him, and impeding the flow of traffic. Reversed in part.

Hawai'i Supreme Court

ATTORNEYS, LICENSING

Office of Disciplinary Counsel v. Wong, Sep-16-2016

[Order.] Per curiam, the Hawaii Supreme Court finds that attorney Kendall Wong is currently incapacitated due to a physical infirmity that renders him unable to practice law or defend himself in this disciplinary status. He shall be immediately transferred to inactive status on the grounds of disability.

Illinois Appellate Court

MURDER, PROSECUTORIAL MISCONDUCT

People v. VanderArk, Sep-16-2016

J. Schostok finds that the lower court properly convicted defendant of solicitation of murder for hire and sentenced to 40 years in prison. Defendant's motions to suppress evidence and appoint a special prosecutor were properly denied. The prosecutor on the case did not demonstrate any aggressive behavior toward him that suggested she was obsessed with obtaining a conviction at all costs. Affirmed.

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