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In this property insurance coverage dispute, the insurer appealed the district court's grant of summary judgment and coverage award to the landlord. The Eleventh Circuit held that the district court erred in concluding the deductible was satisfied. In this case, the district court erred in determining that the Tenants and Neighbors Provision was ambiguous and concluding that it extended coverage under this property insurance policy for the landlords' attorneys' fees amount and the post-judgment interest amount. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded with instructions to enter summary judgment -- and an order declaring that the policy did not provide coverage to the landlord -- in favor of the insurer. View "Ace American Insurance Co. v. The Wattles Company" on Justia Law

Posted in: Insurance Law

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Petitioner brought a third challenge to the TSA's airport scanner equipment using advanced imaging technology (AIT). Petitioner challenged the TSA's latest policies and orders that require certain airline passengers to pass through AIT scanners, eliminating for them the option of being screened by a physical pat-down. The Eleventh Circuit held that it was without jurisdiction to entertain petitioner's claims, because petitioner lacked the necessary standing to bring the petition. The court held that petitioner failed to establish that he suffered an injury in fact, that is, the invasion of a judicially cognizable interest that is concrete and particularized and actual and imminent. In this case, petitioner has never said that he was subjected to the mandatory TSA policy, before his petition or since then, even though he has made numerous filings since he lodged his petition for review containing substantial information about his travel patterns and his interactions with TSA. View "Corbett v. Transportation Security Administration" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed suit challenging the city's red light ordinance, which permitted the installation and operation of cameras to enforce traffic-control-device violations at certain intersections. The district court dismissed the case based on lack of Article III standing. Although the Eleventh Circuit held that plaintiffs had standing to bring their damages claims, their constitutional claims must nonetheless be dismissed because they failed to sufficiently allege that they suffered a violation of their constitutional rights.The court held that the dismissal of plaintiffs' federal claims was warranted because the complaint failed to state a claim for which relief can be granted. In this case, plaintiffs alleged that the ordinance imposed a criminal penalty without providing constitutionally sufficient procedural safeguards. However, the ordinance imposed a civil penalty, and thus the procedures prescribed by the ordinance were constitutionally sufficient. Because the court held that plaintiffs have not stated any federal claims, it declined to consider the state law claims. Accordingly, the court vacated and remanded with instructions. View "Worthy v. Phenix City" on Justia Law

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The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of a 28 U.S.C. 2255 motion to vacate petitioner's sentence. The district court ruled that petitioner failed to prove that the ACCA's residual clause affected his sentence because he still had three qualifying serious drug offenses. The court held that the government did not waive reliance on petitioner's 2007 conviction for delivery of cocaine, and in the section 2255 proceedings the government permissibly introduced Shepard documents to prove the qualifying nature of that 2007 conviction. Therefore, petitioner had three prior convictions that qualified as serious drug offenses under the Armed Career Criminal Act and he was not eligible for relief under Johnson v. United States. View "Tribue v. United States" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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Pier 1 filed suit against Revelex, alleging claims of breach of contract, fraudulent misrepresentation, negligent misrepresentation, and unjust enrichment. The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's decision that the Scope of Work exists independently of the Service Agreement on the ground that Revelex has waived any argument to the contrary; affirmed the district court's decision that Pier 1's lost profits claim failed as a matter of law and that Revelex is entitled to judgment as a matter of law on that claim; and held that Pier 1 was not entitled to recover attorneys' fees. Finally, the court certified the following questions to the Florida Supreme Court: Is a contractual "exculpatory clause" that purports to insulate one of the signatories from "any … damages regardless of kind or type … whether in contract, tort (including negligence), or otherwise" enforceable? Or, alternatively, does the clause confer such sweeping immunity that it renders the entire contract in which it appears illusory? Or, finally, might the clause plausibly be construed so as to bar some but not all claims and thus save the contract from invalidation? View "Pier 1 Cruise Experts v. Revelex Corp." on Justia Law

Posted in: Contracts

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The government may prove sex trafficking of a minor, 18 U.S.C. 1591, by establishing only that a defendant had a reasonable opportunity to observe the minor victim instead of proving that he knew or recklessly disregarded the victim's age. The Eleventh Circuit affirmed defendants' convictions for sex trafficking a minor and held that the 2015 amendment of section 1591 makes clear that the government may satisfy its burden by proving that the defendant had a reasonable opportunity to observe the minor victim. The court also held that defendants' challenges to the jury instructions, the denial of their motions to suppress evidence, the limitations on cross-examination of the victim, and their sentences all failed. View "United States v. Whyte" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Eleventh Circuit reversed the district court's denial of defendant's motion to dismiss a 42 U.S.C. 1983 action, alleging that defendant, a deputy sheriff, used excessive force. The court held that defendant was entitled to qualified immunity because his actions did not violate any clearly established rights. In this case, defendant's action of intentionally firing at a dog and unintentionally shooting a ten year old did not violate any clearly established Fourth Amendment rights. View "Corbitt v. Vickers" on Justia Law

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The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of the complaint in a civil forfeiture action involving criminal proceeds from the faja retail business. The court held that the district court did not abuse its discretion when it allowed the government to dismiss its complaint without prejudice, because claimants have not established that they suffered clear legal prejudice by the government's voluntary dismissal. The court also held that claimants were not entitled to attorney's fees under the Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act, because they did not substantially prevail in the action. View "United States v. Kurvas Secret By W" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs, a group of Secular Humanists and atheists, filed suit challenging the county's practice of opening its meetings with a religious invocation. Plaintiffs alleged that the opening prayers violated the Establishment Clause, and the county wrongfully barred plaintiffs from offering invocations of their own. The Eleventh Circuit held that the county's process of selecting invocation speakers violated the Establishment Clause because it selected invocation speakers in a way that favors certain monotheistic religions and categorically excludes from consideration other religions solely based on their belief systems. In this case, members of the county board of commissioners have plenary authority, on a rotating basis, to invite whomever they want to deliver invocations, with no consistent standards or expectation of inclusiveness. View "Williamson v. Brevard County" on Justia Law

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While in prison pending his surrender to Colombia, petitioner filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus to block his extradition. The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of habeas relief, holding that, in accordance to the Department of State, both the United States and Colombia continue to recognize a previously nullified extradition treaty between the two countries as valid and in force. The court explained that, under the separation of powers established in and demanded by our Constitution, the Judicial Branch cannot second-guess that political judgment call or indulge whatever the court's own views on the matter may be. The court held that nothing in this case possibly requires the court to declare invalid Colombia's official acts, and thus the factual predicate for application of the act of state doctrine did not exist. View "Arias Leiva v. Warden" on Justia Law