Justia Constitutional Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals
SEC v. Quest Energy Mgmt. Grp.
The SEC filed suit against Arthur Nadel and two of his investment companies for operating a Ponzi scheme. The district court appointed a receiver to take possession and control over Quest because the officers were funding the company with proceeds from a Ponzi scheme. The district court enjoined the current officers from taking any actions on behalf of Quest and vested the receiver with the authority to "[d]efend, compromise or settle legal actions, including the instant proceeding." The officers now appeal the appointment of the receiver. The court granted the receiver's motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction because the officers did not have standing to appeal in the name of Quest where the district court enjoined the officers from taking any action on behalf of Quest. View "SEC v. Quest Energy Mgmt. Grp." on Justia Law
Corbett v. Transportation Security Admin.
Petitioner filed a petition challenging airport screening procedures two years after the TSA deployed the screening procedures in airports nationwide. The court concluded that the Supreme Court's decision in Henderson v. Shinseki and another en banc decision by the Court make clear that the 60-day deadline for filing a petition in the court of appeals under 49 U.S.C. 46110(a) is not "jurisdictional," but is instead a claim-processing rule. In this case, even though petitioner's delay in filing his petition does not defeat the court's jurisdiction, his petition is nevertheless untimely because no reasonable ground excused his delay in filing. Therefore, the court dismissed the petition as untimely and, in the alternative, denied the petition on the merits where the screening procedures require only a reasonable administrative search that does not violate the Fourth Amendment. Further, the court granted a motion to seal filed by the Administration. View "Corbett v. Transportation Security Admin." on Justia Law
Taylor, et al. v. City of Gadsden, et al.
Plaintiffs, a class of firefighters whose pension contribution rate was raised from 6% to 8.5%, filed suit alleging that the City's actions impaired the terms of their employment contracts in violation of the United States Constitution and the Alabama Constitution. The district court dismissed the complaint for failure to demonstrate that any contractual right had been impaired. The court concluded that plaintiffs have no basis upon which to challenge a violation of the Contract Clause where, without passing any law, the City, at bottom, was doing nothing different from what a private party does. The City was free to amend the employee contribution rate without constitutional consequence. Even assuming the existence of a contractual provision not to raise the employee contribution rate, plaintiffs still cannot succeed on their Contract Clause challenge because, at most, the City has breached a contract, not impaired one. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "Taylor, et al. v. City of Gadsden, et al." on Justia Law
Saunders v. Duke, et al.
Plaintiff filed suit against law enforcement officers under 42 U.S.C. 1983, alleging that officers used excessive force when his head was slammed against the pavement with extreme force after he had been handcuffed and was lying prone on the ground. The court held that plaintiff stated a valid Fourth Amendment claim for excessive force and that defendants were not entitled to qualified immunity. Accordingly, the court reversed the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's claim. View "Saunders v. Duke, et al." on Justia Law
West v. Davis
Plaintiff filed suit against defendant under 42 U.S.C. 1983, alleging that defendant subjected her to an unreasonable seizure and for using excessive force in the course of the seizure in violation of her Fourth Amendment rights. Plaintiff's claims arose from an incident where she was asked to remove her suit jacket at a security checkpoint in a courthouse. The district court granted summary judgment to defendant. The court concluded that the district court erred in applying the substantive due process/shock the conscience test rather than the well-established objective reasonableness standard under the Fourth Amendment. Therefore, the court reversed on this claim. The court concluded that the district court properly entered summary judgment in favor of defendant on plaintiff's state law claim on the ground of official immunity under the Georgia Constitution and affirmed on this claim. The court remanded for further proceedings. View "West v. Davis" on Justia Law
Connelly v. Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Trans., et al.
Plaintiff appealed a judgment in favor of his former employer and against his complaint of racial discrimination and retaliation. At issue was whether the district court erred when it entered a judgment as a matter of law based on inconsistent jury verdicts. The court held that, to determine whether to grant a judgment as a matter of law, the district court should have considered only the sufficiency of the evidence in support of the verdict, not the consistency of that verdict with another. Accordingly, the court vacated and remanded for the district court to reinstate the jury verdict against the employer for retaliation. The court affirmed summary judgment against plaintiff's claim of discrimination against plaintiff's supervisor. View "Connelly v. Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Trans., et al." on Justia Law
Bhogaita v. Altamonte Heights Condo Assoc.
Plaintiff filed suit against the Association under the Federal and Florida Fair Housing Acts (FHA), 42 U.S.C. 3604(f)(3)(b) and Fla. Stat. 760.23(9)(b). Plaintiff alleged that the Association violated these statutes when it enforced its pet weight policy and demanded that plaintiff remove his emotional support dog from his condominium. The jury awarded plaintiff damages and the district court awarded plaintiff attorneys' fees. The Association appealed. The court concluded that plaintiff was entitled to partial summary judgment on the refusal-to-accommodate element; plaintiff offered sufficient evidence to show he has a disability within the meaning of the FHA; plaintiff produced evidence supporting the conclusion that the requested accommodation was necessary; the jury instructions do not warrant reversal; in allowing the dog to remain in the courtroom, the district court did not abuse its discretion; and the district court did not err in awarding attorneys' fees. Because there was no merit to any of the arguments the Association made on appeal, the court affirmed the jury's verdict and the district court's order. View "Bhogaita v. Altamonte Heights Condo Assoc." on Justia Law
Baker County Medical Services v. U.S. Attorney General, et al.
The Hospital filed suit against various federal agencies and officials, seeking a declaratory judgment that 18 U.S.C. 4006(b)(1), where Congress has elected to impose the Medicare rate as full compensation for medical services rendered to federal detainees, is unconstitutional as applied. The court concluded that the Hospital voluntarily opted into the Medicare program and is, as a result, required to provide emergency services to federal detainees. Consequently, the Hospital was foreclosed from challenging this compensation scheme as an unconstitutional taking under the Fifth Amendment. The court noted that the Hospital's most effective remedy may lie with Congress rather than the courts. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's dismissal of the action. View "Baker County Medical Services v. U.S. Attorney General, et al." on Justia Law
Evans v. Books-A-Million
Plaintiff filed suit against her employer, alleging violations of the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), 29 U.S.C. 2601; the Equal Pay Act, 29 U.S.C. 206; Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. 2000e et seq.; and the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA), 29 U.S.C. 1161 et seq. Plaintiff's claims stemmed from her employer's denial of her request to take FMLA leave after the birth of her child. The court held that the district court correctly awarded summary judgment to the employer with respect to plaintiffs' claims under Title VII and the Equal Pay Act, and did not abuse its discretion by assessing a statutory COBRA penalty against the employer; the district court erred by dismissing plaintiff's FMLA claim and by refusing to consider her additional litigation-related expenses as part of an attorney's fee award; and, therefore, the court affirmed in part, vacated in part, and remanded in part. View "Evans v. Books-A-Million" on Justia Law
Pine, et al. v. City of West Palm Beach, FL
Plaintiffs, anti-abortion advocates, challenged Sections 34-38 of the Code of the City of West Palm Beach, which bans amplified sound within 100 feet of the property line of any health care facility. The court concluded that the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying a preliminary injunction when it found that the Ordinance is a valid time, place, or manner restriction on speech that is content-neutral, is narrowly tailored to advance the City's substantial interest in protecting patients, and leaves open ample alternative avenues of communication. The district court did not abuse its discretion in determining that plaintiffs failed to establish a substantial likelihood of success on their claims that the Ordinance is void for vagueness and is being applied discriminatorily against them. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Pine, et al. v. City of West Palm Beach, FL" on Justia Law