Justia U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries

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Plaintiff filed suit against Denny's, alleging violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and seeking to bring claims on behalf of herself and all similarly situated tipped employees who were subject to Denny's alleged policy or practice of paying these employees sub-minimum hourly wages in violation of the tip-credit provisions of the FLSA.The Eleventh Circuit concluded that material issues of fact exist concerning plaintiff's dual-jobs-regulation claims (Counts Two and Three), and thus summary judgment was not appropriate. The court also concluded that the district court properly granted summary judgment on plaintiff's tip-credit notification claim (Count One). Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's entry of summary judgment as to Count One, but reversed its entry of summary judgment as to Counts Two and Three. The court remanded for further proceedings. View "Rafferty v. Denny's, Inc." on Justia Law

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Compensatory education is not an automatic remedy for a child-find violation under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Compensatory educational services are designed to counteract whatever educational setbacks a child encounters because of IDEA violations—to bring her back where she would have been but for those violations. At minimum, a parent must offer evidence that a procedural violation—like the child-find violation asserted here—caused a substantive educational harm, and that compensatory educational services can remedy that past harm.The Eleventh Circuit concluded that the district court was well within its "broad discretion and equitable authority" when it concluded that plaintiff had not shown that the school board's child-find violation resulted in educational deficits for the child that could be remediated with prospective compensatory relief. Furthermore, because the school began its special education referral process before plaintiff filed suit, she cannot show that she is entitled to attorney's fees. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's judgment. View "J.N. v. Jefferson County Board of Education" on Justia Law

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The Eleventh Circuit denied a petition for review challenging the BIA's dismissal of petitioner's appeal from the IJ's removal order. The court concluded that each of petitioner's two Georgia convictions for simple battery was a crime of violence for which the term of imprisonment was at least one year, within the meaning of 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(43)(F). Therefore, petitioner was convicted of two "aggravated felonies," as that term is defined in the Immigration and Naturalization Act, and is ineligible for cancellation of removal. View "Talamantes-Enriquez v. U.S. Attorney General" on Justia Law

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Petitioner, a criminal alien facing deportation to Somalia, petitions for review of the order of the BIA confirming his removability and denying his applications for withholding of removal, protection under the Convention Against Torture (CAT), and a refugee inadmissibility waiver. Petitioner also challenges the denial of his petition for a writ of habeas corpus.The Eleventh Circuit concluded that petitioner failed to preserve whether his defective notice to appear violated the agency's claim-processing rules; petitioner is removable for his controlled substance conviction; and, in the alternative, petitioner is removable for his second-degree assault conviction. The court also concluded that the Board denied the refugee inadmissibility waiver under the correct legal standard; the Board did not err in denying petitioner's applications for withholding of removal and for protection under the CAT; and petitioner's habeas petition is moot as to detention under 8 U.S.C. 1226(c), and is not ripe as to detention under section 1231(a). Accordingly, the court dismissed in part, denied in part, dissolving the stay of removal and remanded with instructions to dismiss the habeas petition. The court denied the government's motion to dismiss the appeal. View "Farah v. U.S. Attorney General" on Justia Law

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After Christian Redwine led officers from the Columbus Police Department on a high-speed chase across state lines before crashing into bushes on the side of a road, the driver of the police vehicle stopped behind and to the right of Redwine's car. Seconds after the officer stepped out to make an arrest, the car's reverse lights turned on, and the car started backing up. The officer fired 11 shots as the car passed near him, then he changed magazines and fired another 10 shots. The officer killed Redwine and injured two passengers. The district court granted the officer's motion for summary judgment based on qualified immunity as to the first round of shots but denied it as to the second.The Eleventh Circuit affirmed in part and reversed in part, concluding that the officer acted reasonably in firing both rounds of shots. The court concluded that the officer did not violate the Fourth Amendment and therefore he is entitled to qualified immunity. The court also concluded that the officer is entitled to state-law immunity and the police chief and the county are entitled to summary judgment for all claims against them as well. View "Tillis v. Brown" on Justia Law

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The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's order dismissing National Trust's federal declaratory judgment action without prejudice. Plaintiff filed a wrongful death action against Southern Heating and others in Alabama state court after his parents died from carbon monoxide poisoning. National Trust, Southern Heating's insurer, filed suit in federal court seeking a declaration that it has no duty to defend or indemnify Southern Heating because there is no coverage under its policy. The district court found that the Alabama state court action was parallel to the federal declaratory judgment action and that the non-exhaustive guideposts set out in Ameritas Variable Life Ins. Co. v. Roach, 411 F.3d 1328, 1331 (11th Cir. 2005), weighed in favor of not hearing National Trust's action.The court concluded that, when relevant, the degree of similarity between concurrent state and federal proceedings is a significant consideration in deciding whether to entertain an action under the Declaratory Judgment Act. In this case, the district court properly took into account that similarity in its consideration of the Ameritas guideposts. The court explained that the district court's perspective may not be the only way to view the two proceedings at issue, but it is a permissible way to look at them, and that is enough to constitute a reasonable exercise of discretion. View "National Trust Insurance Co. v. Southern Heating and Cooling Inc." on Justia Law

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The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's final judgment against plaintiff in an action brought against Koch for race and national origin discrimination under 42 U.S.C. 1981 and Title VII. In regard to plaintiff's Batson challenges, the court concluded that plaintiff failed to establish a prima facie case for Juror 9. Even assuming plaintiff established a prima facie case for Juror 32, Koch offered plausible non-discriminatory reasons for the strike; a company defending the decisions of a manager in a civil lawsuit would naturally not want a current union member and disgruntled worker's compensation claimant on the jury.The court rejected plaintiff's argument that Koch counsel's violation of the order in limine so prejudiced the jury that a new trial is warranted. Rather, considering the length of the trial, the shortness of the offending remarks, the context of the "prevailing party" comment as a response to a door plaintiff opened, and the curative instructions offered, the court could not find that the district court abused its discretion by denying plaintiff's motions for mistrial and a new trial. View "Vinson v. Koch Foods of Alabama, LLC" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff, a cheerleader at Kennesaw State University, filed suit alleging violations of 42 U.S.C. 1983 and 1985(3) after she and her teammates kneeled during the pre-game national anthem at one of the university's football games to protest police brutality against African Americans and to advance the cause of racial justice. Plaintiff claimed that there was a public and private conspiracy to deprive her and her teammates of their First Amendment rights. At issue on appeal is whether the district court erred by dismissing plaintiff's section 1985(3) claim against the sheriff.The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's order dismissing plaintiff's claim against the sheriff, agreeing with the district court that plaintiff failed to surmount section 1985(3)'s class-based animus bar under the standard established by Supreme Court precedent. The court concluded that plaintiff's direct race-based theory cannot succeed because she failed to plead sufficient facts supporting it; plaintiff's indirect race-based claim failed to allege animus under Bray v. Alexandria Women's Health Clinic, 506 U.S. 263 (1993); and plaintiff's political class-based theory is also precluded by Bray. View "Dean v. Warren" on Justia Law

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The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of defendants in an action alleging excessive force and municipal liability claims. Plaintiff claims that an officer stopped in front of his car, began shooting at him, and thus caused him to accelerate to drive away, and in doing so he hit another officer with his car.In regard to the excessive force claim, the court concluded that, although the officers violated plaintiff's Fourth Amendment rights when they shot him, the officers were entitled to qualified immunity because plaintiff has not demonstrated that his rights were clearly established at the time. In regard to the municipal liability claim, the court concluded that plaintiff has not demonstrated that the City failed to train the officers. Finally, the court concluded that there was no error in the district court's finding that the officers were entitled to immunity under Alabama law. View "Underwood v. City of Bessemer" on Justia Law

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In 2007, NLG sold a Fisher Island home to Hazan for $5,100,000, receiving a purchase money note and mortgage in return. The Property was then the subject of years of protracted litigation in two states, resulting in various orders addressing the rights of NLG, Hazan, and Selective, a company owned and controlled by Hazan’s husband. One day before the property was to be sold, Hazan filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy relief. NLG filed a proof of claim. Hazan and Selective began adversary proceedings asserting that NLG no longer retained any rights or claims to the Property; the bankruptcy court agreed.The district court rejected an argument that the Rooker-Feldman doctrine prevented the bankruptcy court from considering any of the issues raised during the adversary proceedings and dismissed NLG’s claims on the ground of equitable mootness. The Eleventh Circuit affirmed. The bankruptcy court had jurisdiction to consider the issues raised by Hazan and Selective The parties in the state court foreclosure action and the bankruptcy case were not the same. Neither Hazan nor Selective sought to have the bankruptcy court overturn the foreclosure judgment but only asked the bankruptcy court to determine the rights of NLG, Hazan, and Selective based on the previously rendered judgments. NLG’s delay in seeking a stay was unreasonable and the Plan has been substantially consummated. View "NLG, LLC v. Horizon Hospitality Group, LLC" on Justia Law

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