Articles Posted in Constitutional Law

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Plaintiffs filed suit against state officials in state court, seeking injunctive and declaratory relief entitling them to an enhanced status in the retirement system for Alabama state employees. The state officials removed the action to federal court. The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of immunity from suit to defendants, holding that the officials have either waived or forfeited any immunity from suit and that the court lacked jurisdiction to consider their immunity from liability on interlocutory appeal. View "Green v. Graham" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed a civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. 1983 against employees of the county jail, alleging violation of her constitutional rights when she was detained in jail on suspicion that she was illegally present in the United States. The Eleventh Circuit held that, although the district court accurately determined that the Fourth Amendment governed the analysis in this case, it did not conduct an individualized analysis of each defendant's actions and omissions and whether they were causally related to the alleged violation of plaintiff's Fourth Amendment rights. Therefore, the court reversed the district court's denial of summary judgment and remanded for the district court to conduct an individualized analysis in the first instance. View "Alcocer v. Mills" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed a civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. 1983, alleging that the termination of her housing voucher violated the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and regulations promulgated by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. The Eleventh Circuit vacated the district court's grant of summary judgment for the Authority, holding that indictments and evidence of an arrest did not constitute sufficient evidence to support the decision of a public housing authority to terminate housing subsidies provided under Section 8 of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1937. View "Yarbrough v. Decatur Housing Authority" on Justia Law

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The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the partial denial of defendant's motion to dismiss the amended complaint by the estate of Marquette F. Cummings Jr. After Cummings was stabbed by a fellow inmate and subsequently died at the hospital the next day, his estate filed a civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. 1983, alleging that defendant, a prison warden, violated the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution by illegally interfering with Cummings's end-of-life medical care with deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs. The district court held that defendant was not entitled to qualified immunity. The court held that defendant's alleged actions, including the entry of a do not resuscitate order and the decision to remove plaintiff from artificial life support, did not fall within the scope of his discretionary authority. The court held that Alabama law established that defendant's discretionary authority did not extend to such actions and thus he was not entitled to qualified immunity. Finally, the court lacked jurisdiction to consider whether the amended complaint stated a claim and the court's jurisdiction was exhausted under the collateral order doctrine. View "The Estate of Marquette F. Cummings Jr. v. Davenport" on Justia Law

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The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of a 28 U.S.C. 2254 petition for writ of habeas corpus as untimely. The court held that, for purposes of AEDPA and federal habeas review, the relevant judgment in this case was the 2010 criminal judgment authorizing petitioner's confinement for a period of 25 years in the Florida Department of Corrections. In this case, petitioner's judgment was final under Florida law and the entirety of the state appellate review process was complete when the First District Court of Appeal issued its decision. Therefore, petitioner's judgment was final for purposes of triggering AEDPA’s limitations period on November 6, 2012 and the section 2254 petitioner was untimely because it was filed almost two years later in October 2015. View "Chamblee v. Florida" on Justia Law

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The Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 does not create an administrative exhaustion requirement that must be satisfied as a prerequisite to bringing certain claims under section 505 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). If exhaustion is not required, abstention is not nonetheless warranted under the primary-jurisdiction doctrine. Plaintiff filed suit against the city alleging that four of the city's webpages did not provide closed captioning in violation of the Rehabilitation Act and the ADA. The court vacated the district court's grant of the city's motion to dismiss based on lack of subject matter jurisdiction, holding that the district court had no reason to invoke the primary jurisdiction doctrine. View "Sierra v. City of Hallandale Beach" on Justia Law

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The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of petitioner's 28 U.S.C. 2255 motion for want of jurisdiction. The court held that petitioner's second section 2255 motion was an improper vehicle to contest the denial of his first one because a Johnson v. United States claim was available to petitioner during the time that his first section 2255 motion was pending. View "Randolph v. United States" on Justia Law

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High school students sprayed with or exposed to Freeze +P filed suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983 against the board of education, the chief of police, and the Student Resource Officers (SROs) who used the spray against them or in their vicinity. On appeal, the police chief challenged the district court's judgment. The Eleventh Circuit reversed and held that the September 30 order was final and appealable under 28 U.S.C. 1291 pursuant to the court's decision in United States v. Alabama; assuming the SROs in question violated the Fourth Amendment by failing to adequately decontaminate the students exposed to Freeze +P, they were entitled to qualified immunity because the relevant law was not clearly established at the time of their conduct in 2009, 2010, and 2011; the class-based claim for declaratory and injunctive relief with respect to the use of Freeze +P failed for lack of standing; and the class-based claim for declaratory and injunctive relief with respect to the decontamination policy also failed for lack of standing. View "J W v. Roper" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against Southern Home under Title VII and 42 U.S.C. 1981, asserting claims for discriminatory termination, hostile work environment, and retaliation. The Eleventh Circuit held that plaintiff's discriminatory termination and retaliation claims failed as a matter of law because she provided insufficient evidence of pretext in response to Southern Home's legitimate, nondiscriminatory reasons for terminating her. The court held, however, that plaintiff offered sufficient evidence to create a genuine issue of material fact that the harassment plaintiff suffered was severe or pervasive to alter the terms or conditions of her employment. The court also held that plaintiff offered sufficient evidence to create a genuine issue of material fact that Southern Home had actual notice of the hostile work environment. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded. View "Smelter v. Southern Home Care Services Inc." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against Kia for gender and national origin discrimination and retaliation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as well as race and alienage discrimination and retaliation under 42 U.S.C. 1981. The district court granted summary judgment for Kia. The Eleventh Circuit reversed the district court's judgment as to the retaliation claims under Title VII and section 1981. The court held that, viewing the record in the light most favorable to plaintiff, the manner of her opposition to discrimination was reasonable. In this case, were it not for plaintiff's position as a human resource manager, her action of providing the name of an attorney in connection with her EEOC charge would be protected opposition conduct, because it assisted the employee with filing her own charge. The court affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment on plaintiff's claim of sex and national origin discrimination under Title VII and section 1981. View "Gogel v. Kia Motors Manufacturing of Georgia, Inc." on Justia Law