Articles Posted in U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals

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Petitioner appealed from the district court's denial of his second motion for a stay of execution and all other denials of relief entered by the district court on June 17, 2014. The court agreed with the district court that petitioner has failed to show a substantial likelihood of success on his claim that he enjoys a due process or other Constitutional right with respect to his petition for clemency. Accordingly, the court denied the petition. View "Wellons v. Commissioner, GA DOC, et al" on Justia Law

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Petitioner, scheduled to be executed by lethal injection, appealed from the district court's denial of his 42 U.S.C. 1983 action seeking a temporary restraining order, a stay of execution, a preliminary injunction, and a request for declaratory judgment. On the merits, the court concluded that petitioner's argument that the compounded pentobarbital may be defective or the personnel administering the execution may be untrained was insufficient to establish a substantial likelihood of success on the merits of his Eighth Amendment claim. The court rejected defendant's remaining claims, affirmed the judgment of the district court, and denied the stay of execution. View "Wellons v. Commissioner, GA DOC, et al." on Justia Law

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Petitioner filed an emergency application for leave to file a second or successive federal habeas corpus petition based on 28 U.S.C. 2244(b) and the Supreme Court's recent decision in Hall v. Florida. After thorough review, the court denied the application because the rule enunciated in Hall has not been made retroactive and even if it had, petitioner has not shown a reasonable likelihood of success that he would benefit from the rule in Hall. The court also denied the motion for a stay from execution. View "In re: John Henry" on Justia Law

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Debtor filed a voluntary petition for relief under Chapter 13 of the Bankruptcy Code, seeking to determine the secured status of the second and third mortgages held by Wells Fargo on debtor's principal residence. At issue was whether debtor can "strip off" a wholly unsecured junior mortgage in a Chapter 20 case. The court concluded that the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 (BAPCPA) did not prohibit this result. Accordingly, the court affirmed the Bankruptcy Court's determination that debtor could strip off Wells Fargo's second and third liens on the residence because they were wholly unsecured. View "Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. v. Scantling" on Justia Law

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Defendant, convicted of possession and distribution of child pornography, appealed his sentence for revocation of his supervised release. The court concluded that the district court did not abuse its discretion in revoking defendant's supervised release because defendant pleaded guilty to conduct underlying two of the supervised release violations - knowingly giving false information to a probation officer and violating 18 U.S.C. 1001. In regards to the reasonableness of defendant's sentence, the Supreme Court has not addressed whether it is error to consider a factor listed in 18 U.S.C. 3553(a)(2)(A) when imposing a sentence after revoking supervised release. The court has not addressed the issue in a published opinion, and those circuits that have are split. Because the Supreme Court has not ruled on the issue and there is a circuit split, any alleged error cannot be plain. In light of Tapia v. United States and the court's circuit precedent, the court found that the district court erred when it sentenced defendant to prison because it considered rehabilitation when doing so. However, the err did not affect defendant's substantial rights. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "United States v. Vandergrift, Jr." on Justia Law

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Defendant was sentenced to three years probation for threatening to shoot President Obama on defendant's Facebook page. Afterwards, defendant spoke to a reporter for his college newspaper, saying that his ordeal was "pretty funny," that he could not be imprisoned in his "own house," and that a lot of good had come out of his case, including his rock band because a "lot of people showed up [to one of his shows] to see the kid who threatened to kill the [P]resident." The district court, upon learning of these comments, modified the conditions of probation to include 45 days in a halfway house and one year of home confinement with electronic monitoring. Defendant appealed. The court concluded that defendant's appeal was moot to the extent that it challenged the district court's modification of the conditions of probation to include a 45-day term in a halfway house; the appeal was not moot with respect to the district court's modification of the conditions of probation to include an additional eight months in home confinement with electronic monitoring; where 18 U.S.C. 3563(c) permits modification when a defendant's post-sentencing conduct shows that the original conditions were not sufficient to accomplish the purposes of probation, the home confinement modification did not violate defendant's rights under the Double Jeopardy Clause; the home confinement modification did not violate the Due Process Clause where, assuming there was any error, it did not seriously affect the fairness of the proceedings; and the home confinement modification did not violate the First Amendment where defendant's post-sentencing comments were relevant to the conditions of probation because they indicated that defendant did not grasp the seriousness of his conduct and did not think much of the probationary sentence he had received, and defendant was not punished for any abstract beliefs. Accordingly, the court dismissed in part and affirmed in part. View "United States v. Serrapio, Jr." on Justia Law

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Petitioner appealed the district court's denial of his fourth-in-time 28 U.S.C. 2255 motion to vacate, set aside, or correct his sentence. The court concluded that the district court erred in dismissing petitioner's fourth section 2255 motion as successive where petitioner's previous section 2255 motions did not render his fourth section 2255 motion successive. The court reversed and remanded for the district court to determine whether the instant motion was timely. View "Boyd v. United States" on Justia Law

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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

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Plaintiff filed suit alleging that defendant reduced and ultimately terminated plaintiff's consulting work as a forensic psychologist for the Broward County Public Defender's office in retaliation for plaintiff's constitutionally protected testimony about a Florida state court judge. The court vacated the judgment of the district court granting summary judgment to defendant where a reasonable fact-finder could find that defendant was subjectively motivated to reduce and did reduce plaintiff's work because of his testimony and plaintiff's testimony was also a motivating factor behind defendant removing him from the wheel rotation system; affirmed the judgment of the district court granting qualified immunity to defendant in his individual capacity where there was evidence of both lawful and unlawful motivations for defendant's actions and preexisting law did not dictate that the merits of the case must be decided in plaintiff's favor; and remanded for further proceedings. View "Brannon, et al. v. Finklestein" on Justia Law

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In 2000, physicians and physician associations imitated a group of class actions against various providers of health plans, which were consolidated into a multidistrict litigation. This appeal involves this complex, twelve-year-old multidistrict litigation, a related multidistrict litigation pending in another federal district, and whether the district court reasonably interpreted the Settlement Agreement in the first action. The court affirmed the Injunction as to plaintiffs' Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), 18 U.S.C. 1961, and antitrust claims and as to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, 29 U.S.C. 1001 et seq., claims based on the denial or underpayment of benefits following the Settlement Agreement's Effective Date. On remand, the district court will need to determine which of plaintiffs' ERISA claims fall on the permissible side of the line, and reconsider the assessment of sanctions. View "Medical Assoc. of GA, et al. v. Wellpoint, Inc." on Justia Law