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Plaintiffs, representatives of the estates of decedents who perished in a plan crash in Nigeria, appealed the district court's dismissal of their claims based upon the doctrine of forum non conveniens and denial of their motion for relief under Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(b). The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the judgment, holding that the district court did not abuse its discretion in either dismissing the claims or denying the Rule 60(b) motion. In this case, the district court did not abuse its discretion either in determining that the public factors also weighed in favor of dismissal or in its overall analysis under the forum non conveniens doctrine and conclusion that dismissal of the foreign decedents' claims was warranted. In regard to the denial of the Rule 60(b) motion, the district court did not apply the law in an incorrect or unreasonable manner in deciding that the procedural posture did not warrant the requested relief. Furthermore, there was no reason to believe that defendant would contest liability in Nigeria and thus there was no reason to disturb the district court's denial of reconsideration on this ground. View "Kolawole v. Sellers" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff, employed as a police officer with the city, filed suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983, alleging violation of his First Amendment rights when the city and the mayor arranged for plaintiff's termination based on plaintiff's support of a purported political enemy. The Eleventh Circuit reversed summary judgment for defendants and held that plaintiff did not voluntarily leave his employment with the city but rather was effectively terminated. Because a reasonable jury could conclude that plaintiff's resignation was not a product of his free will, plaintiff presented sufficient evidence to establish that he suffered an adverse employment action when his employment with the city ended abruptly. The court remanded for further proceedings. View "Rodriguez v. City of Doral" on Justia Law

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Defendant pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm and an armed career criminal and was sentenced in 2010. In 2011, a Florida court sentenced defendant for robbery and kidnappingn offenses. In 2016, the district court vacated defendant's federal sentence and conducted a full resentence. The district court added three criminal history points for defendant's 2011 Florida sentence because it was a "prior sentence" when the district court sentenced him. The Eleventh Circuit affirmed and held that when a court vacates a sentence, that sentence becomes void in its entirety, so the term "prior sentence" includes a state sentence imposed before resentencing. The court also held that circuit precedent foreclosed defendant's request to vacate his sentence on the ground that another of his prior convictions, for Florida armed robbery in 1999, was not a crime of violence. View "United States v. Burke" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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In 2007, plaintiff filed with the EEOC a charge of race and disability discrimination against her employer, the school board. In 2009, the Commission dismissed the charge and provided her notice of her right to sue within 90 days, but plaintiff failed to file within that period. Instead, in 2011, plaintiff filed a request for reconsideration with the Commission, which then vacated the dismissal of her first charge. The DOJ then granted plaintiff's request for a new notice of her right to sue about the same allegations of discrimination, and she filed suit within 90 days of the second notice. The district court then dismissed the complaint as untimely. The Fourth Circuit affirmed, holding that the Commission lacked the authority to issue the second notice of the right to sue and thus plaintiff failed to establish she was entitled to equitable tolling. View "Stamper v. Duval County School Board" on Justia Law

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The Eleventh Circuit held, in this international arbitration dispute, that questions of arbitral venue, even those arising in international arbitration, are presumptively for the arbitrator to decide. Because the arbitrator in this case arguably interpreted the arbitral-venue provision at issue, the court deferred to that interpretation. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's confirmation of the arbitral award finding venue proper in Atlanta and Profimex liable on OAD's defamation counterclaim. View "Bamberger Rosenheim, Ltd. v. OA Development, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Eleventh Circuit affirmed defendant's sentence after he pleaded guilty to five counts of unlawful possession of a firearm and drug-related offenses. The court held that defendant's prior Florida conviction of principal to attempted manufacture of a controlled substance, Fla. Stat. 777.011, qualified as a controlled substance offense under USSG 4B1.2(b). The court also held that defendant failed to prove that the government engaged in sentencing factor manipulation when it arranged multiple transactions in a sting operation. View "United States v. Lange" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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Plaintiffs are current and former federal law enforcement employees and their spouses who were deceived into investing in a Ponzi scheme presenting as the Federal Employee Benefits Group (FEBG). Plaintiffs filed suit against the Government under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), 28 U.S.C. 1346(b)(1), for negligent conduct and aiding and abetting the scheme. The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of the Government's motion to dismiss based on lack of subject matter jurisdiction and held that the misrepresentation exception applied to bar plaintiffs' claim. In this case, plaintiffs' claims arose out of Kenneth Wayne McLeod's misrepresentations about his bond fund. McLeod founded and ran the FEBG Bond Fund. View "Alvarez v. United States" on Justia Law

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The Eleventh Circuit affirmed in part defendant's 84-month sentence for identity theft and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. The court held that the loss amount of $165,500 from 331 debit and credit cards ($500 times 331) was properly attributed to defendant; a social security number qualifies as an "access device" under the definition in 18 U.S.C. 1029(e)(1) and for purposes of the Special Rules in the Sentencing Guidelines; and there was no error in including the loss amount of $500 for each of the "numerous" social security numbers shown on defendant's computer. The court remanded to the district court to address, and make fact findings about, the loss amount. On remand, both sides may submit additional evidence as to what types of personal information were found in the apartment. The evidence supported the district court's finding that defendant did not meet her burden of proving her minor role and the district court did not err when it denied defendant the benefit of an acceptance of responsibility reduction. However, the court remanded for additional factfinding as to the criminal history category points. View "United States v. Wright" on Justia Law

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The Eleventh Circuit granted a petition for review of the BIA's final order of removal. The BIA affirmed an IJ's finding that petitioner was removable under 8 U.S.C. 1227(a)(1)(A) for having willfully made a material misrepresentation on his application to adjust his status to that of a lawful permanent resident. The court held that, because he had not been confined in a prison, petitioner did not make a misrepresentation on his application for an adjustment of his status to become a lawful permanent resident of the United States when he answered "no" to Question 17 on his application. View "Alfaro v. U.S. Attorney General" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against the Miami-Dade County State Attorney under 42 U.S.C. 1983, after she informed plaintiff that his recording of a meeting between him and the Chief of Police violated the Florida Security of Communications Act, Fla. Stat. 934.03, and that the violation was a felony. The Eleventh Circuit reversed the trial court's judgment and held that plaintiff did not violate section 934.03 and, consequently, the government's threatened prosecution had no basis in the law. In this case, at no point did the chief, or any participant in the meeting, exhibit any expectation of privacy. Nor was there advance notice or published or displayed rules that established confidentiality and certainly none that prohibited note taking or recordings. Furthermore, the meeting fell within the "uttered at a public meeting" exception of section 934.02, and the circumstances did not justify an expectation of privacy. Because the court resolved the case under state law, it need not reach the constitutional issue of whether the recording was protected by the First Amendment. View "McDonough v. Fernandez-Rundle" on Justia Law