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The Eleventh Circuit reversed the district court's denial of motions for discovery because the jurisdictional facts in this case were genuinely in dispute and there was no undue delay by the ACLU. In this case, the ACLU twice asked for jurisdictional discovery on a state law enforcement officer's status, but both requests were denied. The court held that the district court erred when it completely denied the ACLU any opportunity to inquire into the capacity in which the officer created, submitted, and/or maintained the requested documents, a fact which implicated both the merits of the ACLU's claim and the district court's jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. 1442(a)(1). Furthermore, the interrogatories propounded by the district court did not render this error harmless. Given the limited record, this was a factual inconsistency the district court should not have resolved solely on the papers. View "American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, Inc. v. City of Sarasota" on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Procedure

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Conservationists filed suit under the Clean Water Act and Florida law, challenging the Corps' decisions about when and how to release water from certain locks along the Okeechobee Waterway. The district court dismissed the complaint based on the Corps' sovereign immunity. The Eleventh Circuit affirmed, holding that Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 19(b) required the dismissal of this case regardless of whether the court agreed with the Water District's sequencing argument on cross-appeal or the Corps' sovereign immunity argument. The court need not reach those matters because the Water District was an indispensable party under Rule 19(b) and thus the action may not proceed without the Water District. View "Florida Wildlife Federation Inc. v. US Army Corps of Engineers" on Justia Law

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The Eleventh Circuit reversed the grant of partial summary judgment on the binding effect of the verdict in the Circuit Court's breach-of-contract case and held that the parties must again litigate statutory damages. In this case, GEICO did not receive appellate review of the statutory-damages determination in the parties' underlying breach-of-contract case. Therefore, that damages determination did not bind the parties in this bad faith case. View "Bottini v. GEICO" on Justia Law

Posted in: Insurance Law

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Plaintiffs filed a class action in state court claiming that the City of Montgomery's red-light program and fines violated state law. City and Traffic Solutions removed to federal court under the Class Action Fairness Act, 28 U.S.C. 1332(d), but the district court remanded to state court. After determining that it had jurisdiction over the appeal, the Eleventh Circuit held that the home state exception to CAFA jurisdiction was applicable in this case where the only primary defendant was a citizen of the state in which the action was originally filed and other requirements under the statute were met. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Hunter v. City of Montgomery, Alabama" on Justia Law

Posted in: Class Action

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The Eleventh Circuit affirmed defendant's sentence of 120 months in prison after he pleaded guilty to receiving and possessing child pornography. The court held that there was sufficient evidence to justify giving defendant a longer sentence because of the "pattern of activity" defined under USSG 2G2.2(b)(5); defendant's argument regarding the temporal proximity of his sexual acts with his younger relatives when he was a teenager 30 years ago was foreclosed by United States v. Turner; minor-on-minor conduct could be used to support a "pattern of activity" enhancement; and defendant's below-guidelines sentence was procedurally and substantively reasonable. View "United States v. Alberts" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against his former employers, alleging that the cars that he parks in his job as a valet parker are the interstate "materials" that bring his employer within the definition of an enterprise engaged in commerce such as to provide Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) coverage. The district court granted summary judgment for defendants and subsequently denied plaintiff's motion for reconsideration. The Eleventh Circuit held that because the cars plaintiff parks are "goods," not "materials," the ultimate consumer exception operates to exclude from the category of covered "goods" the handling of the cars at issue here. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Rodriguez v. Gold Star, Inc." on Justia Law

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At issue was whether an order form faxed to a doctor by a company that supplies a medical product purchased by that doctor's patient constitutes an "unsolicited advertisement" within the meaning of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, 47 U.S.C. 227(a)(5). The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the dismissal of the complaint, agreeing with the district court that faxes were not "unsolicited advertisements." The court held that the faxes in this case did not promote the sale of Arriva products and thus they were not unsolicited advertisements. In this case, each fax related to a specific order already placed by a patient of the clinic and requested only that the doctor of the patient fill out an order form to facilitate a purchase made by the patient. View "The Florence Endocrine Clinic v. Arriva Medical" on Justia Law

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Petitioner filed an application under 28 U.S.C. 2255(h) and 2244(b)(3)(A) seeking an order authorizing the district court to consider a second or successive motion to vacate, set aside, or correct his federal sentence. The Eleventh Circuit denied the application, holding that petitioner raised the same arguments under Johnson v. United States in his application that the court previously denied on the merits. View "In Re: Orestes Hernandez" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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Relators filed a qui tam action under the False Claims Act (FCA), 31 U.S.C. 3729-3733, alleging that defendants submitted claims to Medicare without adequate authorization from the relevant Medicare beneficiaries and claims that were the product of unsolicited telemarketing calls to Medicare beneficiaries. The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment to defendants with one modification. The court explained that, although the district court applied an erroneous scienter standard, the evidence proffered by relators as to defendants' state of mind with respect to the assignment of benefits forms was insufficient to survive summary judgment under the proper standard. The district court did not err in granting summary judgment as to relators' claims that defendants violated Medicare's unsolicited telephone contact rules. View "Phalp v. Lincare, Inc." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against the Georgia district attorney and others under 42 U.S.C. 1983, alleging that defendants conspired to violate his First Amendment rights. Plaintiff, employed as the director of the police department's crime lab, was terminated from his position after the district attorney contacted the police chief to express his concerns that plaintiff had written an expert report for and planned to testify on behalf of the defense in a criminal case. The Eleventh Circuit held that prosecutors were not entitled to absolute immunity for their alleged actions in this case because those actions were not taken in their role as advocates. However, the prosecutors were entitled to qualified immunity because they were acting within the outer perimeter of their discretionary skills in expressing concerns about plaintiff's outside work, and the law was not clearly established at the time. Accordingly, the court reversed the denial of the prosecutors' motion for judgment on the pleadings based on qualified immunity and remanded. View "Mikko v. Howard" on Justia Law