Justia U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries

by
Plaintiff filed suit against the City, the police department, and others, alleging claims of disability and/or racial or gender discrimination. In regard to the disability discrimination claim, the Eleventh Circuit held that plaintiff's evidence was insufficient to meet her prima facie burden of demonstrating that she was actually disabled, but was sufficient on whether she was regarded as disabled; the district court erred in holding that plaintiff failed to produce sufficient evidence that she was a qualified individual; plaintiff met her prima facie burden of demonstrating that the city discriminated against her because of her perceived disability; and plaintiff produced sufficient evidence that she was not a direct threat. In regard to the race and gender discrimination claims, the court held that the evidence of arbitrary personnel decisions surrounding plaintiff's termination, the pretextual justifications offered for the same, the differing treatment of her white male colleagues, and other evidence amounted to sufficient circumstantial evidence to create a triable issue of material fact on whether the police department's actions were discriminatory on the basis of race and/or gender. Finally, the court rejected plaintiff's municipal liability claim under 42 U.S.C. 1981 for the police chief's discriminatory actions as the final decisionmaker. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded for further proceedings. View "Lewis v. City of Union City" on Justia Law

by
The Retirement System filed a private securities fraud action under Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and the SEC's Rule 10b-5, claiming that it had detrimentally relied on Ocwen's materially misleading statements and omissions concerning the likelihood of achieving regulatory compliance. The district court dismissed the complaint for failure to identify any material misrepresentations or omissions or otherwise state a claim against Ocwen for securities fraud. The Eleventh Circuit affirmed and held that, even considering the Retirement System's allegations in the most favorable light, the complaint fell short of alleging any actionable misrepresentations or omissions under section 10(b) and Rule 10b-5, or any other cognizable securities law violation. In this case, some statements made by Ocwen were immaterial puffery, some were mere statements of opinion, some fell within the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act's safe-harbor forward-looking statements, and others were simply not alleged to be false. Furthermore, nothing that Ocwen failed to disclose rendered already-disclosed information misleading in context. View "University of Puerto Rico Retirement System v. Ocwen Financial Corp." on Justia Law

Posted in: Securities Law

by
The Eleventh Circuit held that sufficient evidence supported the convictions of Defendant Brown for deprivation of rights under color of law and Defendant Antico for obstruction of justice. Defendants' convictions stemmed from offenses involving an incident of police brutality and a later coverup. In this case, Brown was one of several police officers who assaulted the occupants of a vehicle that led the officers on a high-speed chase; Brown and the other officers filed reports that omitted most of the details about how they punched and kicked the occupants; and Antico, who supervised many of these officers, had his subordinates substantially change their reports to better reflect what happened as recorded on the video. The court also held that no other reversible errors related to either trial. However, the court vacated defendants' sentences because it was unclear as to whether the calculation of each defendant's guideline range rested on a factual finding infected by legal error. View "United States v. Brown" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

by
A class of condo owners and Q Club, the entity that operates the condominium-hotel, dispute the meaning of the "Declaration" that governs the parties' relationship. The owners alleged that Q Club's new methodology used to calculate the shared costs breached the Declaration as applied both retroactively and prospectively. The Eleventh Circuit held that the district court properly concluded that the Declaration does not permit back-charging; the district court did not reversibly err in submitting the shared costs issue to the jury or in the way that it instructed the jury; and plaintiff has not met his burden for requesting a new trial because the new evidence would not likely produce a different result. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "Dear v. Q Club Hotel, LLC" on Justia Law

by
Plaintiffs, luxury eyewear manufacturers holding registered trademarks, filed a contributory trademark infringement action under the Lanham Act against defendants, owners of a discount mall whose subtenants were selling counterfeit eyewear. The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the jury's verdict in favor of plaintiffs, holding that the district court correctly determined that the evidence was sufficient—even under the legal standard the defendants urge the court to adopt—to support the jury's verdict finding defendants liable for contributory trademark infringement; committed no reversible error in instructing the jury; correctly determined that the evidence was sufficient to support the jury's verdict on each defendant's individual liability; and did not abuse its discretion in the challenged evidentiary rulings. View "Luxottica Group v. Airport Mini Mall, LLC" on Justia Law

by
The Eleventh Circuit granted the petition for review of the BIA's denial of petitioner's asylum, withholding of removal, and Convention Against Torture (CAT) claims. Petitioner alleged past persecution and a well-founded fear of future persecution, both individually and as a member of a group, based on his practice of Ahmadiyya Islam. The court held that the IJ ignored specific evidence that petitioner brought to its attention and the BIA ignored the same evidence on appeal. In this case, petitioner cited specific examples that supported his position, including Ahmadis' inability to openly practice their religion, to propagate their religion, to convene for religious gatherings, to perform a pilgrimage, to vote, to build mosques, and to pray in certain manners. View "Ali v. U.S. Attorney General" on Justia Law

Posted in: Immigration Law

by
The Eleventh Circuit overruled Basco v. Machin, 514 F.3d 1177, 1183–84 (11th Cir. 2008), and its progeny inasmuch as those cases held that the Housing Act of 1937 or its implementing regulations create a right enforceable by 42 U.S.C. 1983 to a termination decision made by a preponderance of the evidence. The court granted rehearing en banc to consider this narrow issue. In this case, plaintiff filed suit because the hearing officer issued a written decision that she says failed to meet the preponderance standard. Even accepting her allegation as true, the hearing officer violated the regulation but not the statute. Therefore, plaintiff's case failed as a result. View "Yarbrough v. Decatur Housing Authority" on Justia Law

by
The Eleventh Circuit certified a question of Florida substantive law to the Supreme Court of Florida: Whether a member-operator has a cause of action under Fla. Stat. 566.106(2)(a)–(c) to recover damages (or obtain indemnification) from an excavator for payments to a third party for personal injuries related to the excavator's alleged violation of the statute? View "Peoples Gas System v. Posen Construction, Inc." on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

by
The Eleventh Circuit denied petitioner's 28 U.S.C. 2255 application seeking an order authorizing the district court to consider a second or successive motion to vacate, set aside, or correct his federal sentence. The court held that, although petitioner can demonstrate that United States v. Davis, 139 S. Ct. 2319 (2019), is a new rule of constitutional law that applied retroactively to cases on collateral review, he failed to show a reasonable likelihood that he would benefit from the Davis rule. The court held that Davis addressed only 18 U.S.C. 924(c)(3)(B)'s residual clause, but the companion crime for which petitioner was convicted (armed robbery of a credit union) qualifies as a "crime of violence" under section 924(c)(3)(A)'s use-of-force clause. View "In re: Drew Pollard" on Justia Law

by
When a 28 U.S.C. 2254 petition states a legally sufficient claim for relief, a district court must order the State to respond, even if the petition appears untimely. The Eleventh Circuit vacated the district court's dismissal of a section 2254 petition for a writ of habeas corpus and remanded for further proceedings. The court held that the district court erred when the district court, on its own initiative and without hearing from the State, decided that the statute of limitations barred the petition. In this case, the district court ordered no State response to the petitioner before dismissing. View "Paez v. Secretary, Florida Department of Corrections" on Justia Law