Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit

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Flat Creek filed suit seeking declaratory and injunctive relief, alleging that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration had unfairly targeted it for compliance reviews and used an unsound methodology in doing so. The district court concluded that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction. The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of the complaint, but held that Flat Creek failed to establish the requisite standing to sue under Article III. In this case, Flat Creek has shown neither concreteness nor imminence. View "Flat Creek Transportation, LLC v. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration" on Justia Law

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The City of Miami filed suit alleging that defendant institutions, major nationwide banks, carried on discriminatory lending practices that intentionally targeted black and Latino Miami residents for predatory loans. The City alleged that this resulted in disproportionate foreclosures on homeowners of those races, diminished property values in predominantly minority neighborhoods, substantially reduced tax revenue for the City, and increased expenditures by the City for municipal services. On remand from the Supreme Court, the Eleventh Circuit held that the City has adequately pled proximate cause in relation to some of its economic injuries when the pleadings are measured against the standard required by the Fair Housing Act. Considering the broad and ambitious scope of the FHA, the statute's expansive text, the exceedingly detailed allegations found in the complaints, and the application of the administrative feasibility factors laid out by the Supreme Court in Holmes v. Securities Investor Protection Corp., 503 U.S. 258 (1992), the court was satisfied that the pleadings set out a plausible claim. Accordingly, the court reversed the district court's dismissal of the FHA claims and remanded for further proceedings. View "City of Miami v. Wells Fargo & Co." on Justia Law

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The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of petitioner's 28 U.S.C. 2254 petition. The court rejected petitioner's ineffective assistance of counsel claim and held that counsel's performance in presenting petitioner's case in mitigation was not objectively unreasonable where counsel's decisions were strategic and did not fall outside the wide range of reasonable professional assistance the Sixth Amendment required. The court also held that the trial court did not err in requiring petitioner to wear a stun belt during the resentencing trial where the stun belt was not visible to the jury or the public, and the state trial court's opinion was not contrary to and did not involve an unreasonable application of clearly established federal law as determined by the Supreme Court. View "Nance v. Warden, Georgia Diagnostic Prison" on Justia Law

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The Eleventh Circuit vacated the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of correctional officers in a 42 U.S.C. 1983 action brought by plaintiff, alleging excessive force and deliberate indifference claims. Plaintiff, a Florida inmate, alleged that the officers physically assaulted him and that one of them sprayed a chemical agent on him for 16 minutes after he was handcuffed and compliant. Plaintiff also alleged that three supervisory officers watched the attack without doing anything to intervene. The court held that the district court may have mistakenly relied on O'Bryant v. Finch, 637 F.3d 1207 (11th Cir. 2011), to exclude plaintiff's statements from consideration, or it may have viewed the evidence submitted by the officers as establishing the kind of record that no reasonable jury could disbelieve regardless of sworn statements to the contrary. Regardless, the district court erred in not accepting plaintiff's version of events as true for purposes of summary judgment. View "Sears v. Roberts" on Justia Law

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The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of Hard Candy's request for a jury trial in an action under the Lanham Act. In this case, Hardy Candy sought every remedy permitted by the Act besides actual damages: an injunction to prevent future infringement, an accounting and the disgorgement of profits that the defendant made from the allegedly infringing goods, and declaratory relief, along with fees and costs. The court held that the remedy of an accounting and disgorgement of profits for trademark infringement is equitable in nature and has long been considered that way, and thus a plaintiff seeking the defendant's profits in lieu of actual damages is not entitled to a jury trial. The panel also held that the district court did not err in its merits determinations on infringement and fair use. View "Hard Candy, LLC v. Anastasia Beverly Hills, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Eleventh Circuit dismissed this insurance dispute case, holding that Gerber, as assignee of the insured, did not have standing to bring a declaratory judgment class action against GEICO. In this case, the action did not assert any claims for money damages and there was no substantial likelihood that the insured would suffer a future injury. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded with instructions to dismiss the complaint for lack of standing. View "A&M Gerber Chiropractic LLC v. Geico General Insurance Co." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death. The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of plaintiff's cross-motion for summary judgment as well as its denial of plaintiff's original and renewed motions for preliminary injunction. The court also denied plaintiff's motion for a stay of execution because he failed to show a substantial likelihood of success with respect to either his Fourteenth Amendment equal-protection claim or his Eighth Amendment method-of-execution claim. In regard to the Fourteenth Amendment claim, the state did not violate his right to equal protection by not permitting him to elect nitrogen hypoxia as a method of execution. In this case, plaintiff had the same opportunity as every other inmate to elect nitrogen hypoxia, but he did not timely choose that method of execution. The court held that a rational basis exists for the thirty-day rule—the efficient and orderly use of state resources in planning and preparing for executions, and plaintiff failed to negate this rational basis for the thirty-day election requirement. In regard to the Eighth Amendment claim, although plaintiff has shown that nitrogen hypoxia is an available alternative method of execution that is feasible and readily implemented, he has not established a substantial likelihood that he would be able to show that nitrogen hypoxia significantly reduces a substantial risk of pain when compared to the three-drug protocol. View "Price v. Commissioner, Alabama Department of Corrections" on Justia Law

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The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's amended complaint because the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act did not give rise to a federal right enforceable under 42 U.S.C. 1983. Plaintiff, formerly employed by the police department, filed suit against the city, seeking to have it issue her the type of identification card required by the Act. The Act allows a qualified retired law enforcement officer who is carrying the identification required by the Act to carry a concealed firearm, notwithstanding most State or local restrictions. The court held that no provision of 18 U.S.C. 926C compelled the state to provide Act-complaint identification and thus the Act did not confer such a right. View "Burban v. City of Neptune Beach" on Justia Law

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After Almus Taylor died in a jail holding cell, plaintiff filed suit against the jail guards under 42 U.S.C. 1983 and Alabama law, alleging deliberate indifference to Almus's serious medical needs. The Eleventh Circuit reversed the district court's dismissal and held that qualified immunity did not shield the guards from plaintiff's deliberate indifference claims where a reasonable jury could conclude that the guards were not entitled to rely on a trooper's statement that Almus was just drunk, particularly because Almus reported injuries from a car accident. Furthermore, a reasonable jury could conclude that the guard's willful disregard of what they heard and observed during the night made them deliberately indifferent to Almus's serious medical needs, and the district court erred by requiring plaintiff to present evidence that the guards knew the cause of Almus's injury and the specific nature of his medical problem. The court also held that the state agent immunity and Alabama Code 14-6-1 did not shield the guards from plaintiff's state law claims if the guards potentially violated Almus's constitutional rights. View "Taylor v. Hughes" on Justia Law

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On petition for rehearing, the Eleventh Circuit held, as an initial matter, that a meaningful comparator analysis must be conducted at the prima facie stage of McDonnell Douglas's burden-shifting framework, and should not be moved to the pretext stage. With regard to the McDonnell Douglas standard, the court held that the proper test for evaluating comparator evidence is neither plain-old "same or similar" nor "nearly identical," as the court's past cases have discordantly suggested. The court held that a plaintiff asserting an intentional-discrimination claim under McDonnell Douglas must demonstrate that she and her proffered comparators were "similarly situated in all material respects." Because the plaintiff in this case failed to do so, the court remanded to the panel for further proceedings. View "Lewis v. City of Union City" on Justia Law