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

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The Eleventh Circuit denied a petition for review of the BIA's dismissal of petitioner's appeal from the IJ's order of removal, and denial of petitioner's motion for remand based on a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel. The court held that the BIA did not abuse its discretion in determining that petitioner failed to satisfy the procedural requirements set out in Matter of Lozada for her ineffective assistance of counsel claim. In this case, the affidavit does not allege that petitioner conveyed to counsel that his assistance was ineffective, or that petitioner ever attempted to contact counsel for the purpose of telling him so. Therefore, nothing in the affidavit indicates that counsel had any actual notice of allegations that his assistance had been ineffective or any opportunity to respond to those allegations, as required by Lozada. The court also held that petitioner's additional contention that he substantially complied with the notice requirement of Lozada by filing complaints against counsel with the Florida Bar and the Executive Office for Immigration Review cannot be sustained because it would eviscerate the separate nature of the Lozada requirements. Furthermore, petitioner's complaints to disciplinary authorities about counsel cannot support substantial compliance with the notice requirement because the Florida Bar and immigration review procedures of sending notice to the complained-of attorney are not automatically triggered. Finally, the court held that the BIA did not fail to give reasoned consideration to petitioner's evidence. View "Point Du Jour v. U.S. Attorney General" on Justia Law

Posted in: Immigration Law
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The language of 11 U.S.C. 365(p)(1) is crystal clear: "If a lease of personal property is rejected or not timely assumed by the trustee . . . the leased property is no longer property of the estate." The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's decision upholding the bankruptcy court's denial of Microf's claim for administrative-expense priority. Where, as here, it is undisputed that the trustee did not assume the Microf lease, section 365(p)(1) means that the Microf lease dropped out of the bankruptcy estate upon confirmation of debtor's Chapter 13 plan. Because Microf has not otherwise shown that the lease confers a benefit on the estate, the court held that its claim of administrative-expense priority was properly denied. View "Microf LLC v. Cumbess" on Justia Law

Posted in: Bankruptcy
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The Libertarian Party filed suit against the Secretary of State of Georgia, alleging that Georgia's ballot-access requirements for third-party and independent candidates violated their associational rights under the First and Fourteenth Amendments and their Equal Protection rights under the Fourteenth Amendment. The Eleventh Circuit vacated the district court's grant of summary judgment to the Secretary, holding that the district court's failure to apply the Supreme Court's test for the constitutionality of ballot-access requirements, as articulated in Anderson v. Celebreeze, 460 U.S. 780 (1983), constitutes reversible error. Accordingly, the court remanded to the district court with instructions to conduct in the first instance the Anderson test and to consider the Party's Equal Protection claim. View "Cowen v. Georgia Secretary of State" on Justia Law

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The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's judgment overruling defendant's objection to the admission of the firearm evidence. The court rejected defendant's contention that the probative value was substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice where the firearm was found in close proximity to the personal identifying information (PII) in a small closet, it tied defendant directly to the PII, and it had substantial probative value in proving that defendant actually possessed the PII. The court held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in concluding that firearms are not so inherently prejudicial as to substantially outweigh the probative value here. View "United States v. McGregor" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law
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The court-appointed receiver filed suit against JPMC, seeking to recover funds that were fraudulently diverted from the Receivership Entities' bank accounts in connection with a Ponzi scheme. The complaint sought to avoid the fraudulent transfers and recover the diverted funds on behalf of the Receivership Entities under the Florida Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act (FUFTA), and to collect damages from JPMC for JPMC's alleged aiding and abetting of three torts: breach of fiduciary duty, conversion, and fraud. The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of the complaint, holding that the receiver failed to state a claim under FUFTA because he failed to allege an applicable conveyance or fraudulent transfer. The court also held that the receiver lacked standing to assert, on behalf of the Receivership Entities, claims against JPMC for allegedly aiding and abetting the Ponzi schemers' breach of fiduciary duties, conversion, and fraud. Finally, the court noted that the district court did not abuse its discretion in staying discovery pending resolution of JPMC's motion to dismiss. View "Isaiah v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A." on Justia Law

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The Eleventh Circuit affirmed defendant's convictions and sentence for distribution of methamphetamine, conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, and possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute. The court held that defendant failed to establish good cause sufficient to overcome the untimely filing of his motion to suppress. The court also held that the district court did not plainly err by denying defendant's motion to suppress where the officer had probable cause to stop defendant's vehicle for a traffic infraction because the vehicle was following too closely to another vehicle. Furthermore, the investigating officers' collective knowledge of the ongoing criminal investigation justified the stop of defendant's vehicle. Finally, the court held that there was no clear error in the district court's finding that defendant did not accept responsibility for purposes of USSG 3E1.1. View "United States v. Andres" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law
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Plaintiff filed a 42 U.S.C. 1983 action against the city and a police officer, alleging claims for illegal seizure, unlawful search, and excessive force in violation of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. Plaintiff also alleged claims under Alabama law for illegal search, false arrest, battery, and excessive force. The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of summary judgment to the officer based on qualified immunity, holding that genuine issues of material fact exist as to whether the use of force was unconstitutional. In this case, the seriousness and permanence of plaintiff's injuries and the unusual alacrity and horsepower of the officer's leg sweep preclude his force from being characterized as de minimis. Furthermore, the court held that the law had clearly established that plaintiff's force was unconstitutional where no reasonable officer could have thought that sweeping plaintiff's legs out from under him and throwing him to the ground headfirst was a reasonable use of force. Plaintiff was somewhat frail and was not resisting or attempting to flee, and thus the law clearly forbade the officer's forceful takedown under the circumstances. Finally, the court held that the officer is not entitled to immunity under Alabama's immunity doctrine. View "Patel v. City of Madison" on Justia Law

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In 2018, TVPX filed an amended class action complaint in the Eastern District of Virginia against Genworth, alleging that Genworth violated the terms of one of its life insurance policies by imposing inflated "cost of insurance" (COI) charges on its insureds. Genworth brought this action in district court seeking to enjoin TVPX's Virginia lawsuit, arguing that TVPX's claims were barred by a 2004 agreement settling a prior class action about the same life insurance policies. The district court then granted Genworth's motion to enjoin TVPX's Virginia action, finding that TVPX's complaint was barred by the doctrine of res judicata. The Fifth Circuit vacated the district court's order enjoining TVPX's Virginia lawsuit. Although the primary right and duty at issue in TVPX's complaint were also at issue in the settlement, the court held that the record does not support the district court's finding that Genworth's "cost of insurance" (COI) practices remain unchanged since the settlement. The court remanded to the district court for limited discovery on whether Genworth has in any way changed how it calculates and charges COI since the settlement. Finally, the court held that, when read in its entirety, the Pre-Settlement Policy Administration does not constitute a preservation of rights, but instead clarifies that Genworth may continue administering its policies in the same manner that it did before the settlement. View "Genworth Life and Annuity Insurance Co. v. TVPX ARS, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Eleventh Circuit affirmed defendant's conviction and sentence for possession with intent to distribute marijuana, assaulting a federal officer, discharging a firearm in relation to a crime of violence, and being a felon in possession of a firearm. The court joined five sister circuits and held that an assault conviction in violation of 18 U.S.C. 111(b) qualifies as a crime of violence under 18 U.S.C. 924(c); the district court did not abuse its discretion by excluding evidence relevant to defendant's self-defense theory at trial; the evidence was sufficient to support defendant's conviction on the section 111 and 924(c) counts; defendant's prior Georgia convictions for possession with intent to distribute marijuana qualified as predicate offenses for both the Armed Career Criminal Act and the Sentencing Guidelines; the district court did not clearly err in denying defendant a two-level sentencing reduction for acceptance of responsibility by pleading guilty to the possession charges; defendant's 360-month sentence was substantively reasonable and the district court did not abuse its discretion; and Rehaif v. United States, 139 S. Ct. 2191 (2019), does not require vacating defendant's conviction for possessing a firearm as a felon. View "United States v. Bates" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law
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The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) suit against the Florida Federal Judicial Nominating Commission and its former statewide chair. The district court dismissed the action for want of subject matter jurisdiction because neither the Commission nor the chair is an "agency" within the meaning of FOIA. The court agreed with the district court that the Commission is not an agency. However, because this fact creates a defect in the merits of the complaint rather than in the district court's jurisdiction, the court held that the complaint failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. View "Statton v. Florida Federal Judicial Nominating Commission" on Justia Law