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

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Hillcrest filed suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983, challenging a Right-of-Way Preservation Ordinance. The court concluded that Hillcrest's facial substantive due process claim accrued when the Ordinance was enacted on November 22, 2005, and was time-barred when Hillcrest filed this action more than five years later. Accordingly, the court vacated the district court's order to the extent that it granted summary judgment and a permanent injunction in favor of Hillcrest on its facial substantive due process claim. The court remanded for further proceedings. View "Hillcrest Property, LLP v. Pasco County" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against KeyBank for overcharging in overdraft fees. At issue was whether KeyBank waived enforcement of the delegation clause. The court concluded that circuit precedent compelled the conclusion that KeyBank waived enforcement of the delegation clause. KeyBank waived its delegation clause argument when it waited to raise the issue until it had asked the district court to decide arbitrability - and lost. Accordingly, the court vacated the district court's order compelling arbitration on the threshold question of arbitrability and remanded for further proceedings. View "Johnson v. Key Bank Nat'l Assoc." on Justia Law

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This appeal involved complaints of a racially hostile work environment at a shipyard in Mobile, Alabama, owned by Austal. At issue on appeal was whether an employee may rely on evidence of racial harassment of which he is not personally aware to prove that his work environment was objectively hostile. The court held that an employee alleging a hostile work environment cannot complain about conduct of which he was oblivious for the purpose of proving that his work environment was objectively hostile. In this instance, the court concluded that seven of the employees presented sufficient evidence that their work environments were objectively hostile, and vacated the summary judgment against them. The court affirmed the summary judgment against the remaining six employees and affirmed the two jury verdicts. View "Adams, et al. v. Austal, U.S.A., L.L.C." on Justia Law

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Wellcare sought a writ of mandamus declaring it a "victim" within the meaning of the Crime Victims' Rights Act (CVRA), 18 U.S.C. 3771, and the Mandatory Victims Restitution Act of 1996 (MVRA), 18 U.S.C. 3663A, and directing the district court to act accordingly. The court concluded that, given Wellcare's admitted role in a criminal conspiracy to defraud Florida healthcare programs, the district court did not clearly abuse its discretion in denying Wellcare's motion to be recognized as a crime victim and to be awarded restitution. Accordingly, the court denied the petition. View "In re: Wellcare Health Plans, Inc." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit to determine her liability for $148,000 in penalties assessed by the IRS for aiding and abetting understatement of tax liability in violation of I.R.C. 6701. The court concluded that the Government must prove its case under I.R.C. 6701 by clear and convincing evidence because I.R.C. 6701 requires the Government to prove fraud. The court also concluded that insufficient evidence supported the jury's verdict on the penalties plaintiff challenged on appeal because the Government did not meet its burden of proving that plaintiff actually knew the returns she prepared understated the correct tax. Therefore, the court reversed as to this issue. In this case, the district court's instruction on a preponderance standard likely harmed plaintiff. Accordingly, the court vacated the district court's judgment on all remaining penalties and remanded for a new trial. View "Carlson v. United States" on Justia Law

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Defendant appealed his conviction for possessing a firearm as a previously convicted felon. The court concluded that the district court did not err in denying defendant's motion to suppress the firearms seized from his residence; the district court did not err in denying defendant's Batson challenge to the prosecution's peremptory strike of a veniremember; and the evidence was sufficient to support defendant's conviction under 18 U.S.C. 922(g). Defendant's remaining claims were without merit. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "United States v. Folk" on Justia Law

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Defendant appealed his conviction on several counts of Hobbs Act robbery, conspiracy, and knowing possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence. Defendant principally argued that the district court admitted location evidence based on stored cell site information obtained by the prosecution without a warrant, in violation of his Fourth Amendment rights. The court held that cell site location information is within the subscriber's reasonable expectation of privacy and the obtaining of that data without a warrant is a Fourth Amendment violation. Nonetheless, the court concluded that the district court did not commit a reversible error where the good faith exception to the exclusionary rule under United States v. Leon was applicable in this instance. The court affirmed the judgment of conviction and vacated only that portion of the sentence attributable to the enhancement for brandishing. Only one witness testified that a gun was pointed at her, and there was no evidence that defendant was the one who did it. Further, the jury had an opportunity to convict defendant of either (1) possessing a firearm in furtherance of the robbery or (2) using or carrying a firearm in furtherance of the robbery. Yet it only found that defendant possessed a firearm. View "United States v. Davis" on Justia Law

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Defendant appealed his sentence and life-term of supervised release after he pled guilty to one count of distribution of child pornography and two counts of possession of child pornography. The court concluded that the district court did not err in increasing defendant's guidelines range two levels under U.S.S.G. 2G2.2(b)(3)(F); the district court did not err in failing to give defendant the two-level decrease described in U.S.S.G. 2G2.2(b)(1); and the court rejected defendant's remaining procedural arguments. Under the totality of the circumstances, the court could not say that the district court abused its discretion and imposed a sentence or term of supervised release outside the range of reasonable sentences. Finally, the court agreed with the government that the Commission's 2013 report does not render the non-production child pornography guidelines in section 2G2.2 invalid or illegitimate. Accordingly, the court affirmed defendant's 151-month sentence and his term of supervised release. View "United States v. Cubero" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff appealed the district court's grant of Southern Nuclear's motion for summary judgment as to his claim of discrimination based on the misuse of information obtained during a required medical evaluation, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. 12112(d)(3)(C). The court joined the Seventh and Tenth Circuits in holding that an individual seeking relief under section 12112(d)(3)(C) must demonstrate that he is a qualified individual with a disability. Here, plaintiff admitted at oral argument that he could not demonstrate that he is an individual with a disability. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "Wetherbee v. Southern Nuclear Operating Co." on Justia Law

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Defendant appealed his convictions and sentences arising from a string of armed robberies he committed in July 2011. The court concluded that the evidence was sufficient to establish that the gun defendant used in each of the robberies was a firearm within the meaning of 18 U.S.C. 921(a)(3); the district court did not abuse its discretion by declining to give defendant's requested jury instruction; the court rejected defendant's argument regarding the photographic lineup; and because defendant failed to identify any errors, there can be no cumulative error. Therefore, the court affirmed defendant's convictions. The court also affirmed defendant's seven-year sentence for brandishing a firearm during the commission of a violent crime; concluded that the district court did not plainly err by imposing consecutive 25-year sentences for defendant's second or subsequent section 924(c) offenses; and concluded that defendant's sentence was reasonable. View "United States v. King" on Justia Law