Justia U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Family Law
Hicks v. Tuscaloosa, Alabama
The plain reading of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) covers discrimination against breastfeeding mothers. Plaintiff filed suit against the police department under the PDA and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) after her reassignment and constructive discharge. The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the jury verdict in favor of plaintiff and held that there was sufficient evidence of intentional discrimination when plaintiff was reassigned from the narcotics task force to the patrol division; the denial of accommodations for a breastfeeding employee violated the PDA when it amounted to a constructive discharge; a reasonable person in plaintiff's position would have felt compelled to resign; and the City's remaining arguments were unavailing. View "Hicks v. Tuscaloosa, Alabama" on Justia Law
Jones v. Gulf Coast Health Care of Delaware, LLC
Defendant filed suit against his former employer under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), 29 U.S.C. 2601-2654, alleging that the employer interfered with the exercise of his FMLA rights and later retaliated against him for asserting those rights. The district court granted summary judgment for the employer. Because plaintiff likely waived his FMLA right to reinstatement by taking an additional 30 days of medical leave, because he failed to submit a fitness-for-duty certification by the end of his FMLA leave, and because the record was devoid of proof challenging the employer's contention that its fitness-for-duty certification policy was implemented in a uniform fashion, plaintiff lost the right to be reinstated after failing to comply with this policy. Therefore, the court concluded that plaintiff failed to show that he was denied a benefit to which he was entitled under the FMLA, and the district court properly granted summary judgment as to the interference claim. The court affirmed as to this claim. The court held that temporal proximity, for the purpose of establishing the causation prong of a prima facie case of FMLA retaliation, should be measured from the last day of an employee's FMLA leave until the adverse employment action at issue occurs. In this case, plaintiff has met his burden of raising a genuine dispute as to whether his taking of FMLA leave and his termination were casually related. Therefore, the court reversed the judgment as to the retaliation claim and remanded for further proceedings. View "Jones v. Gulf Coast Health Care of Delaware, LLC" on Justia Law
Sergeeva v. Tripleton Int’l Ltd.
After ending their marriage, Ex-Wife and Ex-Husband commenced proceedings in the Moscow Court for division of marital assets. In the Russian Dispute, Ex-Wife claimed that Ex-Husband was concealing and dissipating marital assets through and with the assistance of “offshore companies” around the world. In the United States, Ex-Wife sought information from Gabriella Pugh and her employer in Atlanta, Georgia - Trident - that she expected would reveal Ex-Husband’s beneficial ownership of Bahamian corporation, Tripleton. On referral, the Magistrate Judge granted Ex-Wife's ex parte Application for Judicial Assistance and authorized service of two subpoenas. In these consolidated appeals, Trident challenges the district court's order allowing discovery pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1782 (Appeal No. 15-13008 (“First Appeal”)) and imposing contempt sanctions (Appeal No. 15-15066 (“Second Appeal”)). The court agreed with the district court that the location of responsive documents and electronically stored information - to the extent a physical location can be discerned in this digital age - does not establish a per se bar to discovery under section 1782; having rejected the Extraterritoriality Argument, the court agreed with the district court that significant “circumstantial evidence” established that Trident Atlanta had “control” over responsive documents in the physical possession or custody of Trident Bahamas; and therefore the court affirmed as to the First Appeal. The court rejected Trident Atlanta's frivolous jurisdictional argument; the Contempt Order is supported by the evidence; and therefore the court affirmed the Second Appeal. View "Sergeeva v. Tripleton Int'l Ltd." on Justia Law
Gomez v. Fuenmayor
Plaintiff, M.N.'s mother, made several threats against M.N.'s father during a contentious custody battle in Venezuela. At issue is whether significant threats and violence directed against a parent can constitute a grave risk of harm to a child under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction through the International Child Abduction Remedies Act of 1988 (ICARA), 22 U.S.C. 9001–9011. The district court ruled that, although plaintiff had made a prima facie case for return by showing that M.N. had been wrongfully removed from Venezuela, return would be inappropriate because an exception to the Convention applied where the district court found by clear and convincing evidence that there is a grave risk that M.N.’s return to Venezuela would expose her to physical or psychological harm. The court held that the district court correctly found that the grave risk of harm exception to the Convention applied in this case. Here, although a pattern of threats and violence was not directed specifically at M.N., serious threats and violence directed against a child’s parent can, and in this case did, nevertheless pose a grave risk of harm to the child. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Gomez v. Fuenmayor" on Justia Law
Posted in: Family Law
White v. Beltram Edge Tool Supply, Inc.
Plaintiff filed suit against Beltram, her former employer, claiming that it interfered with her rights under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), 29 U.S.C. 2631-2636, by firing her instead of giving her medical leave. The district court dismissed plaintiff's interference claim and declined to consider her two alternative causes of action. Viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to plaintiff, the court concluded that there are disputes of fact about whether plaintiff suffered from a serious health condition; she gave proper notice to Beltram of her need for FMLA leave; and her doctor’s initial estimate that she would need more than twelve weeks of leave disqualified her from FMLA leave. The court further concluded that the district court properly dismissed the first cause of action alleging that Beltram failed to give proper notice to employees about their rights and obligations under the FMLA, but erred in dismissing the second cause of action alleging retaliation against plaintiff for exercising her FMLA rights where plaintiff's allegation that Beltram terminated her for taking leave put Beltram on notice that she was stating a retaliation cause of action. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded. View "White v. Beltram Edge Tool Supply, Inc." on Justia Law
Lightfoot v. Henry Cnty. Sch. Dist.
Plaintiff filed suit against the School District, her former employer, for violations of the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), 29 U.S.C. 2601 et seq., and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), 42 U.S.C. 12101 et seq. The court held that the School District is not an "arm of the State," and instead operates more like a county or similar political subdivision to which Eleventh Amendment immunity does not extend. Therefore, the court reversed the district court's finding that the School District was entitled to Eleventh Amendment immunity. In regards to plaintiff's ADA retaliation claim, the court affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment to the School District where the district court did not abuse its discretion by declining to construe plaintiff's ADA retaliation claim as being based on different facts than the ones actually pled in her ADA count. Even when construed liberally, plaintiff's complaint did not give the School District notice that her ADA retaliation claim was based on her request for FMLA leave. View "Lightfoot v. Henry Cnty. Sch. Dist." on Justia Law
Seaman v. Peterson
Wife filed suit against husband under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, TIAS No. 11670, S Treaty Doc. No. 99-11, as implemented by the International Child Abduction Remedies Act (ICARA), 42 U.S.C. 11601 et seq., after husband removed their four children from Mexico to the United States. The district court concluded that the habitual residence of the children at the time of the abduction was in Mexico. Further, the children were wrongfully removed in violation of wife's right of custody under Mexican law. Wife enjoyed rights of custody under Mexican law and she was actively exercising those rights at the time of the children's abduction. Therefore, the district court ordered the children returned to the United States. Determining that it had jurisdiction, the court concluded that there was no clear error in the district court's factual findings and, after de novo review of the district court's conclusions of law resulting in the grant of wife's petition, the court found no error of law in that result. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court.View "Seaman v. Peterson" on Justia Law
Evans v. Books-A-Million
Plaintiff filed suit against her employer, alleging violations of the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), 29 U.S.C. 2601; the Equal Pay Act, 29 U.S.C. 206; Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. 2000e et seq.; and the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA), 29 U.S.C. 1161 et seq. Plaintiff's claims stemmed from her employer's denial of her request to take FMLA leave after the birth of her child. The court held that the district court correctly awarded summary judgment to the employer with respect to plaintiffs' claims under Title VII and the Equal Pay Act, and did not abuse its discretion by assessing a statutory COBRA penalty against the employer; the district court erred by dismissing plaintiff's FMLA claim and by refusing to consider her additional litigation-related expenses as part of an attorney's fee award; and, therefore, the court affirmed in part, vacated in part, and remanded in part.View "Evans v. Books-A-Million" on Justia Law
Jarvela v. Crete Carrier Corp.
Plaintiff filed suit against his employer, alleging that the employer violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. 12101 et seq., and the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), 29 U.S.C. 2601, by terminating him based on his diagnoses of alcoholism. The court agreed with the employer that plaintiff was not qualified under DOT regulations to drive a commercial truck because he had a current clinical diagnosis of alcoholism. Because the court determined that plaintiff was not entitled to drive a commercial truck under the DOT regulations, the court need not address whether the employer's company policy also supported that determination. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the employer on the ADA claim. In regards to the FMLA claims, the court agreed with the district court's determination that plaintiff's interference claim failed because the employer would have discharged plaintiff regardless of his FMLA leave, and plaintiff's retaliation claim failed because he could not show that the employer's decision to terminate him was causally related to his FMLA leave. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment as to the FMLA claims. View "Jarvela v. Crete Carrier Corp." on Justia Law
Hurley v. Kent of Naples, Inc., et al.
Plaintiff filed suit against defendants under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), 29 U.S.C. 2615, alleging that defendants wrongfully denied his request for eleven weeks of vacation time and terminated his employment. At trial, the jury found that plaintiff was not terminated because he requested leave, but nevertheless awarded him $200,000 in damages. The court concluded that the district court erred by denying defendants' motion for judgment as a matter of law on both plaintiff's claims because plaintiff was not eligible for leave under the FMLA where plaintiff admitted that his leave was not for a period of incapacity. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded with instructions for the district court to vacate its order awarding attorney fees and to enter judgment in favor of defendants. View "Hurley v. Kent of Naples, Inc., et al." on Justia Law