Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

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Plaintiff filed suit against defendants, under 42 U.S.C. 1983 and the Americans with Disabilities Act, following his involuntary civil commitment. The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's ADA claims as barred by state sovereign immunity. The court held that the district court erred by dismissing plaintiff's claim that defendants' use of restraints amounted to a due process violation, because the claim was not barred by Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994). The court affirmed the district court's dismissal of the remaining section 1983 claims by the favorable termination rule established in Heck. The court vacated and remanded plaintiff's due process claim of unlawful bodily restraint against Defendants McMichael, Chastain, and Savoie. Finally, the court vacated the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's pendant state law claim on this issue to permit the district court to choose whether to exercise supplemental jurisdiction. View "Smith v. Hood" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of an action, based on lack of subject matter jurisdiction, brought by children to halt the deportation of their father. The children argued that their father's deportation was arbitrary and violated their rights to familial association under the First and Fifth Amendments, and that his selective removal was because of his Hispanic origin and violated the equal-protection aspect of the Fifth Amendment. The court held that the children's familial-association claim raised a legal question squarely within 8 U.S.C. 1252(b)(9), which operated as an unmistakable zipper clause designed to consolidate and channel review of all legal and factual questions that arose from the removal of an alien through the preordained administrative process. Consequently, because the familial-association question reached the courts outside the prescribed administrative process, this court had no jurisdiction to consider it. The court also held that the children's selective-enforcement claim concerned how the Government chose to enforce already-issued removal orders. Therefore, these claims arose from a decision to execute removal orders and 8 U.S.C. 1252(g) generally barred judicial review of such claims. View "Vega Duron v. Johnson" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of petitioner's request for $500 in funding under 18 U.S.C. 3599 for a preliminary review of DNA evidence. The court held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying funding where neither in the district court nor in his briefing on appeal did petitioner explain how further review and DNA testing could conceivably support claims for relief or a case for clemency. View "Crutsinger v. Davis" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's partial summary judgment in favor of plaintiff in an action challenging Louisiana Revised Statutes 14:122 as unconstitutionally overbroad in violation of the First Amendment. Louisiana Revised Statutes 14:122 criminalizes "the use of violence, force, or threats" on any public officer or employee with the intent to influence the officer's conduct in relation to his position. After determining that plaintiff had Article III standing to bring his claims, the court held that section 14:122 was unconstitutionally overbroad because the meaning of "threat" was broad enough to sweep in threats to take lawful, peaceful actions, such as threats to sue a police officer or challenge an incumbent officeholder. View "Seals v. McBee" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit reversed the district court's grant of habeas relief to petitioner. The court held that the Louisiana Supreme Court's resolution of petitioner's Fifth Amendment double jeopardy claim on direct appeal was contrary to, or reflected an unreasonable application of, clearly established law. In this case, the state court did not contravene clearly established federal law under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act's relitigation bar by not applying Price v. Georgia. Furthermore, the state court did not misapply the framework established by Price and Morris v. Mathews. The court also held that the Louisiana Supreme Court did not unreasonably apply Strickland v. Washington in holding that petitioner was not prejudiced by his counsel's failure to quash his jeopardy-barred charge. The court denied as moot respondant’s Unopposed Second Motion to Expedite Appeal. View "Thomas v. Vannoy" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit vacated the district court's grant of summary judgment in an action brought by a landowner against the City over the City's use of his residential property to drain and filter storm-sewer runoff. The court held that there were disputed factual issues as to whether the City had an easement over the landowner's land and he was entitled to a declaratory judgment and monetary damages. The court also held that, even if the City has an easement, there was a disputed factual issue regarding whether the City must accommodate the landowner's use of his property by installing subsurface drain pipes as it has done elsewhere in the City. The court held that the landowner's Fifth Amendment takings claim was time-barred and affirmed the district court's judgment as to this claim. View "Redburn v. City of Victoria" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit denied a petition for rehearing en banc, withdrew the prior opinion, and substituted the following opinion. The court reversed the district court's decision to enjoin the enforcement of federal laws that generally prohibit the direct sale of a handgun by a federally licensed firearms dealer (FFL) to a person who is not a resident of the state in which the FFL is located. The court held that the laws did not violate the Second Amendment and the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment. The court held that the in-state sales requirement was narrowly tailored to a compelling government interest in preventing circumvention of the handgun laws of various states; the in-state sales requirement was not unconstitutional as applied to plaintiffs; the in-state sales requirement did not discriminate based on residency and was thus not subjected to any scrutiny under the equal protection component of the Due Process Clause; and plaintiffs' equal protection claim failed because the in-state sales requirement did not favor or disfavor residents of any particular state. View "Mance v. Sessions" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's retaliation claim for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and grant of summary judgment for the VA on plaintiff's discrimination claim. Plaintiff filed his retaliation claim after he was subjected to a peer review process to look into his medical care of a patient who suffered renal failure. Plaintiff amended his complaint to add the discrimination claim after the VA issued a memorandum addressing an incident where plaintiff left a patient alone and outlining future expectations. In regard to the retaliation claim, the court held that plaintiff failed to exhaust his administrative remedies because he filed in federal court prematurely, and failed to make a waiver or estoppel argument to excuse his failure to exhaust. The court also held that plaintiff failed to raise a genuine issue of material fact as to the third element of the prima facie case of racial discrimination where he failed to show an adverse employment action. In this case, the VA's peer review process was not an adverse employment action under Title VII. View "Stroy v. Gibson" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs, several Texas healthcare providers licensed to perform abortions in the state, filed suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983, alleging that the costs imposed by regulations regarding the disposal of embryonic and fetal tissue would violate Due Process by burdening the rights of women seeking an abortion. The district court granted a preliminary injunction, finding that some terms in the regulations were unconstitutionally vague and that the rules impermissibly burdened abortion access. While the appeal was pending, the Texas legislature signed into law SB8, a larger abortion-related bill that specified legitimate methods for disposing of fetal remains. The Bishops subsequently filed an emergency appeal from an extraordinary discovery order by the district court to a religious body, compelling document production of the group's internal communications. The Fifth Circuit denied plaintiffs' motion to dismiss and reversed the district court's order denying the motion to quash and compelling discovery of internal communications within TCCB. The court held that the district court discounted the burdens of production on TCCB and failed to require more than a minimal, if any, rationale for discovery of TCCB's internal communications. The district court abused its discretion because it was too quick to reject TCCB's privilege claims and thus deprived TCCB of a fair opportunity to make its case for quashing the discovery. View "Whole Woman's Health v. Smith" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983, alleging, among other things, that the initial bite from a police dog and the continued biting were excessive force in violation of the Fourth Amendment. The district court dismissed the initial bite claim on a Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) motion and denied summary judgment to the officer. The Fifth Circuit held that there was no Fourth Amendment violation because the totality of the circumstances and the Graham factors established that the officer's use of force was not objectively unreasonable. In this case, police were chasing plaintiff after he assaulted his wife, they were informed that they would have to kill plaintiff to get him, he had a knife, and was bitten by the dog until he was fully handcuffed by the police. Therefore, the court reversed the denial of qualified immunity to the officer. The court dismissed the cross-appeal for lack of jurisdiction and remanded. View "Escobar v. Montee" on Justia Law