Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit

by
The district court granted summary judgment for defendants on all charges, except for an unlawful arrest claim, in an action alleging violation of plaintiff's Fourth Amendment rights. On appeal, Officer Thomas argued that he was entitled to qualified immunity on the unlawful arrest claim. The Eleventh Circuit affirmed and held that the officer did not have arguable probable cause to arrest plaintiff where the officer's search did not reveal clothing that matched the perpetrator's, any threatening note resembling what the perpetrator presented at the pharmacies, a face mask, two pill bottles containing a total of six pills, a Walgreens bag, or anything else connecting defendant to the crimes. Furthermore, the officer had been told the readily verifiable exculpatory fact that the perpetrator's multiple tattoos did not match plaintiff's single tattoo. View "Cozzi v. Thomas" on Justia Law

by
The Eleventh Circuit vacated the district court's motion to dismiss a complaint seeking declaratory and injunctive relief pursuant to Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. 12181, et seq. The court held that plaintiff's claims were not moot due to the fact that defendant entered into a remediation plan as a result of a settlement between the defendant and a different plaintiff in an almost identical earlier-filed suit. Rather, plaintiff's complaint presented a live case or controversy where there was nothing in the record demonstrating that Hooters has successfully updated the accessibility of its website; some of the relief requested by plaintiff remained outstanding and could be granted by the court; and plaintiff was not a party to the previous settlement. In this case, plaintiff, who is blind and a disabled person within the meaning of the ADA, attempted to read and navigate Hooters' website but was unable to do so because the website was not compatible with Screen Reader Software. View "Haynes v. Hooters of America, LLC" on Justia Law

by
The Eleventh Circuit reversed in part the district court's grant of summary judgment for Sewon in an employment discrimination case, holding that plaintiff presented direct evidence that Sewon failed to transfer her on the basis of her race and nationality and circumstantial evidence that Sewon fired her in retaliation for her complaint. The court affirmed in part, holding that plaintiff failed to present substantial evidence that Sewon fired her on the basis of race or national origin. Accordingly, the court remanded for further proceedings. View "Jefferson v. Sewon America, Inc." on Justia Law

by
A second-in-time collateral claim based on a newly revealed actionable Brady violation is not second-or-successive for purposes of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act. Consequently, such a claim is cognizable, regardless of whether it meets AEDPA's second-or-successive gatekeeping criteria. The Eleventh Circuit urged the district court to rehear this case en banc in order to reevaluate the framework in Tompkins v. Secretary, Department of Corrections, 557 F.3d 1257 (11th Cir. 2009). The court in Tompkins held that a second-in-time collateral motion based on a newly revealed Brady violation is not cognizable if it does not satisfy one of AEDPA's gatekeeping criteria for second-or-successive motions. The court explained that Tompkins was indistinguishable from the facts and law in this case, but Tompkins was fatally flawed and the rule established in Tompkins eliminated the sole fair opportunity for petitioners to obtain relief. Because the court was bound by Tompkins, the court held that petitioner's 2011 motion was second or successive under 28 U.S.C. 2255(h). View "Scott v. United States" on Justia Law

by
A second-in-time collateral claim based on a newly revealed actionable Brady violation is not second-or-successive for purposes of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act. Consequently, such a claim is cognizable, regardless of whether it meets AEDPA's second-or-successive gatekeeping criteria. The Eleventh Circuit urged the district court to rehear this case en banc in order to reevaluate the framework in Tompkins v. Secretary, Department of Corrections, 557 F.3d 1257 (11th Cir. 2009). The court in Tompkins held that a second-in-time collateral motion based on a newly revealed Brady violation is not cognizable if it does not satisfy one of AEDPA's gatekeeping criteria for second-or-successive motions. The court explained that Tompkins was indistinguishable from the facts and law in this case, but Tompkins was fatally flawed and the rule established in Tompkins eliminated the sole fair opportunity for petitioners to obtain relief. Because the court was bound by Tompkins, the court held that petitioner's 2011 motion was second or successive under 28 U.S.C. 2255(h). View "Scott v. United States" on Justia Law

by
Department of Correction impoundments do not violate the First Amendment but the failure to give proper notice of them does violate the Fourteenth Amendment. PLN filed suit contending that the Department's impoundments of its monthly magazine violated its constitutional rights. Applying the Turner standard to determine whether the impoundments of PLN's magazine violated the First Amendment, the court held that limiting three-way calling ads, pen pal solicitation ads, cash-for-stamps ads, prisoner concierge and people locator ads was not so remote from the Department's security and safety interests as to render the impoundments arbitrary or irrational; there were alternative means for PLN to send alternate publications; the impact of accommodating the asserted right favored the Department; and the Department's decision to impound was not an exaggerated response. The court held, however, that the power to impound comes with a duty to inform PLN of the reasons for the impoundments, and thus the district court did not abuse its discretion in entering an injunction to require the Department to adhere to its own notice rules. View "Prison Legal News v. Secretary, Florida Department of Corrections" on Justia Law

by
The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the denial of the City's motions for judgment as a matter of law and for a new trial in an inverse condemnation action. In this case, the underlying dispute involved a beachfront parcel owned by plaintiffs, which experienced significant public usage. The court held that the evidence at trial supported the jury's finding that a physical taking occurred through the continuous occupation of plaintiffs' property by members of the general public where the City encouraged public occupation by placing beach access signs, clearing vegetation, creating nearby parking spaces, hosting events at the property, and refusing to remove trespassers. The court also held that there was no basis to grant a new trial. Finally, on the City's request for fee simple ownership of the beach parcel upon payment of the judgment—the court held that such relief was not warranted under Florida law and the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying the City's request to transfer title. The court held that the City has paid for, and was entitled to, a permanent easement across plaintiffs' beach property for the benefit of the public and directed the district court to amend its judgment to reflect this permanent easement. View "Chmielewski v. City of St. Pete Beach" on Justia Law

by
Plaintiff filed suit against defendants for violation of the Driver's Privacy Protection Act (DPPA), 18 U.S.C. 2721-2725. The Eleventh Circuit held that the DPPA permitted punitive damages against municipal agencies; the district court did not abuse its discretion when it assessed liquidated damages for both occasions when Defendant Thomas accessed plaintiff's information; the district court did not abuse its discretion when it declined to certify a class action; the district court did not abuse its discretion when it declined to grant a new trial; and the district court did not err when it instructed the jury that punitive damages should bear a reasonable relationship to compensatory damages. View "Truesdell v. Thomas" on Justia Law

by
The State Executive Clemency Board appealed the district court's orders in favor of appellees James Michael Hand and eight other convicted felons who have completed their sentences and sought to regain their voting rights in Florida. The Eleventh Circuit held that the State Executive Clemency Board has made a sufficient showing under Nken v. Holder, 556 U.S. 418, 426 (2009), to warrant a stay. The court explained that the Fourteenth Amendment expressly empowered the states to abridge a convicted felon's right to vote; binding precedent held that the Governor had broad discretion to grant and deny clemency, even when the applicable regime lacked any standards; and, although a reenfranchisement scheme could violate equal protection if it had both the purpose and effect of invidious discrimination, appellees have not alleged -- let alone established as undisputed facts -- that Florida's scheme has a discriminatory purpose or effect. View "Hand v. Scott" on Justia Law

by
The State Executive Clemency Board appealed the district court's orders in favor of appellees James Michael Hand and eight other convicted felons who have completed their sentences and sought to regain their voting rights in Florida. The Eleventh Circuit held that the State Executive Clemency Board has made a sufficient showing under Nken v. Holder, 556 U.S. 418, 426 (2009), to warrant a stay. The court explained that the Fourteenth Amendment expressly empowered the states to abridge a convicted felon's right to vote; binding precedent held that the Governor had broad discretion to grant and deny clemency, even when the applicable regime lacked any standards; and, although a reenfranchisement scheme could violate equal protection if it had both the purpose and effect of invidious discrimination, appellees have not alleged -- let alone established as undisputed facts -- that Florida's scheme has a discriminatory purpose or effect. View "Hand v. Scott" on Justia Law