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The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of relief in an action brought by SCL Basilisk against Thorco for an order requiring the posting of a security by Agribusiness Savannah, Agribusiness United, Agribusiness United DMCC, and Sonada, in aid of a pending international arbitration in London, United Kingdom. The underlying petition arose out of a commercial dispute between the parties over the performance of a charter agreement. The court held that the relief sought by plaintiffs was not authorized by Rule B of the Supplemental Rules for Admiralty or Maritime Claims and Asset Forfeiture Actions, Georgia law, or principles of maritime law. View "SCL Basilisk AG v. Agribusiness United Savannah Logistics LLC" on Justia Law

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The Eleventh Circuit affirmed defendant's conviction after he pleaded guilty to drug and firearm offenses. The court held that the district court did not clearly err in applying a base offense level of 20 based on defendant's prior conviction of a controlled substance offense; the district court did not err in calculating defendant's criminal history score; the district court did not clearly err by finding that defendant was convicted of selling heroin on school grounds, as well as two other New York convictions; and, even if the district court did err with respect to those New York convictions, any such error was harmless. View "United States v. Luis Alicea" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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Alabama's first degree sexual abuse statute, as interpreted by the Alabama Supreme Court, does not necessarily include as an element the use, attempted use, or threatened use of violent physical force. Defendant appealed his sentence after being convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm. The Eleventh Circuit held that the district court erred in concluding that defendant's prior Alabama conviction for first degree sexual abuse was a violent felony under the Armed Career Criminal Act's, 18 U.S.C. 924(e), elements clause. Accordingly, the court vacated defendant's sentence and remanded for resentencing. View "United States v. Davis" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the denial of disability insurance benefits and supplemental security income (SSI) to plaintiff. The court held that substantial evidence supported the ALJ's decision to give little weight to the treating physician's opinion because it was inconsistent with his own medical records and the records as a whole; the ALJ's finding that plaintiff had the residual functioning capacity (RFC) to perform a full range of unskilled sedentary work was supported by substantial evidence; Social Security Ruling 16-3p applied only prospectively and did not provide a basis for remand; and the Appeals Council was not required to consider new evidence because it was not chronologically relevant. View "Hargress v. Social Security Administration" on Justia Law

Posted in: Public Benefits

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The Eleventh Circuit affirmed defendant's conviction of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and his sentence of fifteen years in prison under the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA), 18 U.S.C. 924(e)(1). The court held that the district court did not err in determining that defendant's two convictions for distribution of cocaine and one conviction for participation in a conspiracy with intent to distribute cocaine qualified as predicate offenses for a sentence enhancement under the ACCA. The court also held that defendant's three remaining arguments —that the district court erred in looking at the dates of his prior convictions because they were "non-elemental facts," that his sentence enhancement violates his Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights, and that his statute of conviction was unconstitutional—were directly foreclosed by Eleventh Circuit and Supreme Court precedent. View "United States v. Longoria" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's complaint against FINRA and its denial of plaintiff's motion to remand the case to Florida state court. The court held that removal was proper in this case because suits against self-regulatory organizations (SROs) like FINRA for violating their internal rules "arise under" the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, 15 U.S.C. 78o(a)(1), (b)(1), and therefore fall under the Act's grant of exclusive jurisdiction to the federal district courts. The court also held that the district court correctly dismissed plaintiff's claim because no private right of action exists for SRO members and associated persons to sue SROs for violating their own internal rules. View "Turbeville v. Financial Industry Regulatory Authority" on Justia Law

Posted in: Securities Law

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The Eleventh Circuit vacated defendant's 60-month sentence, holding that the district court erroneously concluded that it lacked any legal authority to grant an acceptance-of-responsibility reduction under USSG 3E1.1. The court affirmed the district court's increases to defendant's offense level for alteration and falsification of an "especially probative record" under USSG 2J1.2(b)(3)(B), and knowing that the victim of the offense was vulnerable under USSG 3A1.1(b)(1). The court remanded for the district court to decide only the acceptance of responsibility issue and for resentencing. View "United States v. Martinez Mathews" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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Defendants appealed the grant of a preliminary injunction in this case. The Eleventh Circuit dismissed the appeal as moot pursuant to Grupo Mexicano de Desarrollo S.A. v. Alliance Bond Fund, Inc., 527 U.S. 308, 315, 119 S. Ct. 1961, 1966 (1999), because the district court issued a permanent injunction and entered final judgment. View "West Alabama Women's Center v. Miller" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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Cin-Q filed suit in 2013, alleging that Buccaneers was responsible for unsolicited faxes that violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, 47 U.S.C. 227 (the Cin-Q case). Medical & Chiropractic Clinic eventually joined the Cin-Q case as a second named plaintiff. Plaintiffs in this case filed suit on behalf of the same class based on the same allegedly unlawful acts by Buccaneers and eventually settled their claim for nearly $20 million in damages. Cin-Q and Medical & Chiropractic Clinic moved to intervene. The Eleventh Circuit reversed the district court's denial of the motion to intervene, holding that Cin-Q and Medical & Chiropractic Clinic met the requirements of Civil Procedure Rule 24(a)(2). The court remanded for the district court to grant the motion to intervene as of right. View "Technology Training Assoc. v. Buccaneers Limited Partnership" on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Procedure

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The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the denial of a petition for habeas relief based on the ineffective assistance of counsel at the guilt phase of petitioner's trial. Petitioner alleged that she was denied effective assistance because a revolving door of trial attorneys, collectively, left her unable to muster an adequate defense. The state court deemed her challenge procedurally defaulted. Although the court did not rule out that an ineffective assistance of counsel claim could be based on the lack of continuity of counsel, and the court agreed that petitioner could show cause why she failed to raise her claim at the appropriate time in state court, the court concluded that petitioner could not demonstrate that the lack of continuity of counsel prejudiced her case. Therefore, petitioner could not overcome the procedural default and could not demonstrate a meritorious claim of ineffective assistance of counsel. View "Harris v. Commissioner, Alabama Department of Corrections" on Justia Law