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The Fifth Circuit denied a petition for rehearing en banc; treated the petition for rehearing en banc as a petition for panel rehearing; and granted the petition for panel rehearing. The court withdrew its prior opinion and substituted the following opinion. Three exotic dancers under the age of 21 filed suit challenging Louisiana's amendment of two statutes (Act No. 395) that required entertainers on premises licensed to serve alcohol and whose breasts or buttocks are exposed to view be 21 years of age or older. The district court concluded that plaintiffs were likely to succeed on the merits of their claims that the Act was unconstitutionally overbroad and vague, and issued a preliminary injunction barring enforcement of the Act. The court vacated the injunction and held that the district court erred in holding that the Act was overbroad, either for the lack of narrow tailoring necessary under United States v. O'Brien, 391 U.S. 367, 376 (1968), or for "substantial overbreadth" under such cases as Broadrick v. Oklahoma, 413 U.S. 601, 612 (1973). Determining that plaintiffs had standing to bring their vagueness claim, the court held that the Act survived a facial challenge for vagueness. The court explained that it was enough that the Act required the full coverage of commonly understood anatomical terms. Accordingly, the court remanded for further proceedings. View "Doe v. Marine-Lombard" on Justia Law

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The Fourth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment to the employer in an action alleging that the unauthorized review and disclosure of plaintiff's confidential personnel files to support her racial and religious discrimination claims constituted protected activity under Title VII. The court held that, under the opposition clause, unauthorized disclosures of confidential information to third parties are generally unreasonable. In this case, plaintiff's unauthorized review and duplication of confidential personnel files did not constitute protected opposition or participation activity. The court also held that section 704(a) of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act does not protect a violation of valid state law that poses no conflict with Title VII. The court explained that, like in plaintiff's opposition claim, she failed to meet her burden of proving that the sheriff terminated her employment because she engaged in protected activity. View "Netter v. Barnes" on Justia Law

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Following the unexpected death of Defendant Walt Shrum’s common law wife at the couple’s home, Kingman, Kansas police officers “secured” the home, prohibiting Defendant access. Approximately three hours later and without access to his home, Defendant signed a consent to search form permitting an investigator from the Kingman County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO) to enter his home for the express purpose of retrieving his deceased wife’s medication in anticipation of an autopsy. While in the home, the investigator saw ammunition in plain view inside an open bedroom closet. After returning to headquarters, the investigator learned Defendant was a convicted felon and recalled seeing the ammunition in the closet. Several hours later, the investigator, based on what he had seen and learned, contacted a federal agent and asked him to obtain a search warrant for Defendant’s home. A federal magistrate judge issued the warrant at 10:00 p.m. A late night search of the home, which local authorities still would not permit Defendant to access, uncovered not only the ammunition but also two loaded firearms and suspected methamphetamine. A grand jury subsequently charged Defendant with two counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm, one count of being a felon in possession of ammunition, and one count of possessing methamphetamine. Following the district court’s denial of his motion to suppress the incriminating evidence used to charge him, Defendant entered a conditional guilty plea to one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm. After receiving a sentence of time served, Defendant appealed the district court’s denial of his motion to suppress. This appeal presented the Tenth Circuit with two questions: (1) did the initial securing of Defendant’s home constitute an unreasonable seizure in violation of the Fourth Amendment?; and if so, (2) did such seizure taint the incriminating evidence ultimately uncovered in the warrant search of his home? The Tenth Circuit answered both questions yes, and reversed. View "United States v. Shrum" on Justia Law

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The Second Circuit vacated the district court's grant of a petition for a writ of habeas corpus based on ineffective assistance of counsel. The court held that, given the strong evidence of petitioner's guilty, he failed to show that his defense was constitutionally prejudiced by trial counsel's conduct. In this case, there was no basis for concluding that petitioner established a substantial likelihood of a different result, even if his attorney had obtained the phone records at issue prior to trial. Accordingly, the court remanded for further proceedings. View "Garner v. Lee" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the circuit court dismissing constitutional challenges to the validity of the Kentucky Right to Work Act, 2017 Ky. Acts ch. 1, 15, holding that the trial court did not err. In 2017, the Kentucky legislature passed, and the Governor signed, the Act. The Act amended Ky. Rev. Stat. 336.130(3) to provide that no employee is required to become, or remain, a member of a labor organization, or to pay dues, fees, or assessments to a labor organization. Plaintiff-unions filed an action challenging the Act on several Kentucky constitutional grounds. Specifically, Plaintiffs claimed that the Act violated the Kentucky Constitution’s provisions requiring equal protection of the laws, prohibiting special legislation, and prohibiting takings without compensation and that the Act was improperly designated as emergency legislation. The trial court granted the Commonwealth’s motion to dismiss. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the Unions’ constitutional challenges to the Act were without merit. View "Zuckerman v. Bevin" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court held that because the Medical Review Panel Act, Ky. Rev. Stat. 216C delays access to the courts of the Commonwealth for the adjudication of common-law claims, chapter 216C violates Section 14 of the Kentucky Constitution. This case presented a legal challenge to chapter 216C, which establishes a mandatory process to delay certain medical-malpractice claimants’ ability to access immediately the Commonwealth courts by creating medical-review panels and requiring a panel’s opinion about the merits of the claimant’s proposed complaint against health-care providers before the claimant may file suit. The trial court declared the Act unconstitutional on several grounds. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that chapter 216C violates section 14 of the Kentucky Constitution, which acts as a restraint on the power of all departments of state government infringing on the right of the people to seek immediate recess for common-law personal-injury claims. View "Commonwealth, Cabinet for Health & Family Services, ex rel. Meier v. Claycomb" on Justia Law

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Thomas, an Illinois prisoner formerly confined at Hill Correctional Center, alleged that prison guards attacked him with excessive force and that the beating and subsequent disciplinary proceedings were in retaliation for lawsuits and grievances he filed. He sued the guards and other prison officials seeking damages under 42 U.S.C. 1983. In the course of pretrial proceedings, the district judge required the parties to stipulate to the events preceding the attack and ruled that certain inmate witnesses must appear, if at all, by video conference. The judge also declined Thomas’s request for recruited counsel, determining that he was competent to litigate the suit pro se. At trial, the judge entered judgment as a matter of law for the defendants on all claims except those asserting excessive force by two officers. The jury decided those claims against Thomas. The Seventh Circuit reversed in part. Because Thomas’s trial testimony allowed for a permissible inference of retaliation, the judge should not have taken the retaliation claims from the jury. The court rejected other challenges to evidentiary rulings and to the refusal to recruit counsel. View "Thomas v. Anderson" on Justia Law

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In the published portion of the opinion, the Court of Appeal noted that effective January 1, 2019, Code of Civil Procedure section 998 will have no application to costs and attorney and expert witness fees in a Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) action unless the lawsuit is found to be "frivolous, unreasonable, or groundless when brought, or the plaintiff continued to litigate after it clearly became so." In regard to the litigation that predated the application of the amended version of Government Code section 12965(b), the court held that section 998 does not apply to nonfrivolous FEHA actions and reversed the order awarding defendant costs and expert witness fees pursuant to that statute. View "Huerta v. Kava Holdings, Inc." on Justia Law

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Appellant Albert Turner was convicted of capital murder for killing his wife and mother-in-law during the same criminal transaction. The jury answered the special issues in such a manner that Appellant was sentenced to death. Direct appeal to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals was automatic. The Court remanded this case for a retrospective competency hearing, and later ordered supplemental briefing on the effect, if any, of the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision in McCoy v. Louisiana, 138 S.Ct. 1500 (2018). The Court of Criminal Appeals concluded Appellant was competent to stand trial, but also concluded that defense counsel conceded Appellant’s guilt of murder against Appellant’s wishes in violation of McCoy. Consequently, Appellant's conviction was reversed and the matter remanded for a new trial. View "Turner v. Texas" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit alleging that a county deputy was deliberately indifferent to Jeffry Alan Barton's serious medical needs and that the county jail administrator failed to adequately train or supervise the deputy. Plaintiff also alleged that the county did not adequately train its detention facility workers and that its policies failed to ensure that detainees received adequate medical care. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of qualified immunity to the deputy where a jury could find that Barton was experiencing a medical need so obvious that a layperson would recognize the need for prompt medical attention, the deputy did not perform the healthcare screening the jail policies required, and it was clearly established at the time that booking Barton into jail would constitute deliberate indifference. The court reversed the denial of qualified immunity to the administrator and held that the administrator did not know that the deputy was inadequately trained or supervised. Finally, the court dismissed the county's appeal for lack of jurisdiction. View "Barton v. Ledbetter" on Justia Law