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After Ricky Hinkle died in the Birmingham City Jail after being shocked with a taser, his son filed a 42 U.S.C. 1983 action alleging several claims on Hinkle's behalf. The district court denied the officers' motion for qualified immunity. The Eleventh Circuit held that the facts as pleaded showed that Deputy Dukuzumuremyi violated Hinkle’s clearly established constitutional right to be free from excessive force. In this case, Dukuzumuremyi clearly crossed the constitutional line, when, having already tased Hinkle once —dropping him to the floor, rendering him motionless, and causing him to urinate on himself—Dukuzumuremyi shocked him again a full eight seconds later. However, the court held that plaintiff's allegations did not show a causal connection between either the use of force against Hinkle or any deliberate indifference to Hinkle's serious medical needs, on the one hand, and any policy or custom implemented by Sheriff Hale or Captain Eddings, on the other. Accordingly, the court affirmed as to Dukuzumuremyi but reverse as to Sheriff Hale and Captain Eddings. View "Hunter v. Hale" on Justia Law

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Flat Creek filed suit seeking declaratory and injunctive relief, alleging that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration had unfairly targeted it for compliance reviews and used an unsound methodology in doing so. The district court concluded that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction. The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of the complaint, but held that Flat Creek failed to establish the requisite standing to sue under Article III. In this case, Flat Creek has shown neither concreteness nor imminence. View "Flat Creek Transportation, LLC v. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration" on Justia Law

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Defendant appealed the district court's restitution order after he pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography. At issue was how to calculate the amount of restitution a possessor of child pornography, like defendant, must pay to a victim whose childhood sexual abuse appears in the pornographic images he possessed but did not create or distribute. The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the restitution amounts as to eight victims and vacated and remanded as to one victim. The court held that the district court was not required to calculate and disaggregate the victim's losses in the manner defendant suggested and that reliable evidence supported the restitution awards as to eight victims, but not as to one victim. View "United States v. Rothenberg" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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In this appeal from the disallowance of a taxpayer's claimed deduction for his share of losses suffered by an S corporation, the Eleventh Circuit held that monetary transfers between various business entities partly owned by the taxpayer and an S corporation that were later reclassified as loans from the taxpayer to the S corporation did not establish a "bona fide indebtedness" that "runs directly" to the taxpayer. Therefore, the court held that taxpayer's back-to-back theory failed because the S corporation's debt ran to the affiliates, not taxpayer. Furthermore, taxpayer's incorporated-pocketbook theory failed because the affiliates were not his incorporated pocketbook. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the tax court in favor of the Commissioner. View "Meruelo v. Commissioner" on Justia Law

Posted in: Tax Law

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26 U.S.C. 6672(a) applies with equal force when a government agency receiver tells a taxpayer not to pay trust fund taxes. The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for the Government in an action brought by plaintiff, seeking a refund of tax penalties paid under section 6672(a). The court rejected plaintiff's "my-boss-told-me-not-to-pay" argument, and held that it could not apply different substantive law because the receiver in this case was the Small Business Administration. View "Myers v. United States" on Justia Law

Posted in: Tax Law

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The City of Miami filed suit alleging that defendant institutions, major nationwide banks, carried on discriminatory lending practices that intentionally targeted black and Latino Miami residents for predatory loans. The City alleged that this resulted in disproportionate foreclosures on homeowners of those races, diminished property values in predominantly minority neighborhoods, substantially reduced tax revenue for the City, and increased expenditures by the City for municipal services. On remand from the Supreme Court, the Eleventh Circuit held that the City has adequately pled proximate cause in relation to some of its economic injuries when the pleadings are measured against the standard required by the Fair Housing Act. Considering the broad and ambitious scope of the FHA, the statute's expansive text, the exceedingly detailed allegations found in the complaints, and the application of the administrative feasibility factors laid out by the Supreme Court in Holmes v. Securities Investor Protection Corp., 503 U.S. 258 (1992), the court was satisfied that the pleadings set out a plausible claim. Accordingly, the court reversed the district court's dismissal of the FHA claims and remanded for further proceedings. View "City of Miami v. Wells Fargo & Co." on Justia Law

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The presumption against the extraterritorial application of congressional legislation does not apply to preclude a sentencing judge from considering extraterritorial conduct which would otherwise be properly considered as relevant conduct. The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the imposition of a two-level sentencing enhancement for distribution under USSG 2G2.2 after defendant was convicted of child pornography related offenses. In this case, the court rejected defendant's contention that his distribution of child pornography videos while he was in Jamaica should not have affected his Guidelines calculation. View "United States v. Spence" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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After the SEC initiated federal proceedings against defendant, the district court appointed a receiver for one of defendant's entities. The receiver proposed a plan to collect and sell assets connected to a Ponzi scheme and distribute the proceeds. The Eleventh Circuit agreed with investors and held that the district court denied them due process by employing summary proceedings that did not allow them to present their claims and defenses or meaningfully challenge the receiver's decisions. In this case, the district court appointed the receiver, issued an injunction to freeze assets, and held status conferences regarding the receivership all within a few months. The receiver then separated investors into different categories and the district court issued an order that called for the receiver to collect and sell the receivership's insurance policies. These determinations by the receiver and the orders entered by the district court were made without giving investors sufficient notice and/or a meaningful opportunity to be heard. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded for further proceedings. View "SEC v. Torchia" on Justia Law

Posted in: Securities Law

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The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of petitioner's 28 U.S.C. 2254 petition. The court rejected petitioner's ineffective assistance of counsel claim and held that counsel's performance in presenting petitioner's case in mitigation was not objectively unreasonable where counsel's decisions were strategic and did not fall outside the wide range of reasonable professional assistance the Sixth Amendment required. The court also held that the trial court did not err in requiring petitioner to wear a stun belt during the resentencing trial where the stun belt was not visible to the jury or the public, and the state trial court's opinion was not contrary to and did not involve an unreasonable application of clearly established federal law as determined by the Supreme Court. View "Nance v. Warden, Georgia Diagnostic Prison" on Justia Law

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The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of a petition under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, seeking return of father's child to Guatemala. The district court concluded that mother wrongfully retained her son in the United States and away from Guatemala, his place of habitual residence. The court affirmed and held that the district court correctly ruled that father was endowed the rights of custody under Article 5 of the Hague Convention pursuant to Article 253 of the Guatemalan Code. The court also held that the date consent was revoked constituted the date of wrongful retention. The court noted that the case for such a rule was even stronger where—as here—the custodial parent makes affirmative representations regarding the date of the child's return and then fails to act in accordance with them. View "Diaz Palencia v. Velasquez Perez" on Justia Law