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Department of Correction impoundments do not violate the First Amendment but the failure to give proper notice of them does violate the Fourteenth Amendment. PLN filed suit contending that the Department's impoundments of its monthly magazine violated its constitutional rights. Applying the Turner standard to determine whether the impoundments of PLN's magazine violated the First Amendment, the court held that limiting three-way calling ads, pen pal solicitation ads, cash-for-stamps ads, prisoner concierge and people locator ads was not so remote from the Department's security and safety interests as to render the impoundments arbitrary or irrational; there were alternative means for PLN to send alternate publications; the impact of accommodating the asserted right favored the Department; and the Department's decision to impound was not an exaggerated response. The court held, however, that the power to impound comes with a duty to inform PLN of the reasons for the impoundments, and thus the district court did not abuse its discretion in entering an injunction to require the Department to adhere to its own notice rules. View "Prison Legal News v. Secretary, Florida Department of Corrections" on Justia Law

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The Eleventh Circuit granted respondents' motion to dismiss this appeal as moot and vacated the prior published opinion. In this case, petitioner was removed from the United States and was no longer detained in immigration custody. Both sides agree that the appeal has become moot. View "Sopo v. U.S. Attorney General" on Justia Law

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The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the denial of the City's motions for judgment as a matter of law and for a new trial in an inverse condemnation action. In this case, the underlying dispute involved a beachfront parcel owned by plaintiffs, which experienced significant public usage. The court held that the evidence at trial supported the jury's finding that a physical taking occurred through the continuous occupation of plaintiffs' property by members of the general public where the City encouraged public occupation by placing beach access signs, clearing vegetation, creating nearby parking spaces, hosting events at the property, and refusing to remove trespassers. The court also held that there was no basis to grant a new trial. Finally, on the City's request for fee simple ownership of the beach parcel upon payment of the judgment—the court held that such relief was not warranted under Florida law and the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying the City's request to transfer title. The court held that the City has paid for, and was entitled to, a permanent easement across plaintiffs' beach property for the benefit of the public and directed the district court to amend its judgment to reflect this permanent easement. View "Chmielewski v. City of St. Pete Beach" on Justia Law

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The Eleventh Circuit affirmed defendant's convictions for the use of an unauthorized access device and aggravated identity theft. The court held that the district court abused its discretion by excluding lay identification testimony from a defense witness while admitting similar testimony from a government witness, but the error was harmless because the defense presented identification testimony from other witnesses. View "United States v. Knowles" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for Mosaic in this toxic tort action. Plaintiff alleged that toxic substances emitted from a factory operated by Mosaic caused or exacerbated various medical conditions from which she suffers. The court held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in excluding the opinions of plaintiff's expert because the expert's methodology was undermined by multiple defects. The court found no error in the district court's analysis and agreed with the district court that, among other things, the expert failed to properly assess dose-response with regard to plaintiff, to meaningfully rule out other potential causes of plaintiff's medical conditions, and to account for the background risk of her conditions. View "Williams v. Mosaic Fertilizer, LLC" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for Mosaic in this toxic tort action. Plaintiff alleged that toxic substances emitted from a factory operated by Mosaic caused or exacerbated various medical conditions from which she suffers. The court held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in excluding the opinions of plaintiff's expert because the expert's methodology was undermined by multiple defects. The court found no error in the district court's analysis and agreed with the district court that, among other things, the expert failed to properly assess dose-response with regard to plaintiff, to meaningfully rule out other potential causes of plaintiff's medical conditions, and to account for the background risk of her conditions. View "Williams v. Mosaic Fertilizer, LLC" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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Plaintiff filed suit against Venezuela, seeking payment for or return of the Bolivar Collection, asserting jurisdiction under the commercial activity exception to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act of 1976 (FSIA), 28 U.S.C. 1605(a)(2). Plaintiff inherited the Bolivar Collection, personal items belonging to Simon Bolivar that were gifted to Joaquin de Mier, which was passed down through generations of de Mier's family. The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of Venezuela's motion to dismiss on the basis of sovereign immunity. The court held that jurisdiction over plaintiff's action came from the third clause of the FSIA's commercial activity exception because his action was based on Venezuela's act outside the United States in connection with commercial activity, and that act had a direct effect in the United States. View "Devengoechea v. Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela" on Justia Law

Posted in: International Law

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Fair notice at a relatively early stage of litigation was a primary factor in considering whether a party has acted consistently with its arbitration rights. In appeals stemming from class actions brought by bank customers, Wells Fargo challenged the district court's denial of its motion to compel arbitration with the unnamed plaintiffs comprising the classes. The Eleventh Circuit held that the district court's finding that Wells Fargo waived its arbitration rights as against those unnamed plaintiffs was erroneous. In this case, Wells Fargo did not act inconsistently with its arbitration rights and thus did not waive those rights with its express reservation of its arbitration rights as to future plaintiffs in response to the district court's scheduling order. Accordingly, the court vacated the district court's order. View "Gutierrez v. Wells Fargo Bank" on Justia Law

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Defendant appealed the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the United States for unpaid federal income taxes, late penalties, and interest accrued. The Eleventh Circuit initially affirmed but then later granted rehearing en banc and overruled Mays v. United States, 763 F.2d 1295 (11th Cir. 1985). On remand to the original panel, the parties raised arguments that no longer resemble the arguments they had made to the district court. Therefore, the court vacated the judgment of the district court and remanded to the district court to consider the new arguments in the first instance. View "United States v. Stein" on Justia Law

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After police officers interrupt what they reasonably believe to be a residential burglary and detain two suspects just outside of the house, they can thereafter lawfully enter the home—without a warrant, and without further suspicion of wrongdoing—to briefly search for additional perpetrators and potential victims. The Eleventh Circuit held that the suspected burglary presented an exigent circumstance that justified a warrantless entry and search. Accordingly, the officers in this case did not violate the Fourth Amendment, and the court reversed the district court's denial of summary judgment and remanded with instructions to grant the officers' motion for summary judgment. View "Montanez v. Carvajal" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law