Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit

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Plaintiff filed suit to compel the city to implement a referendum to change its form of government, including how the city council was elected. The district court denied defendants' motion for summary judgment based on section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, and then subsequently reversed itself and granted summary judgment. The Eleventh Circuit held that the Supreme Court's decision in Shelby County v. Holder, 570 U.S. 529 (2013), rendered section 5 inapplicable to the city by striking down section 4(b)'s coverage formula that defined the jurisdictions to which section 5 applied. Accordingly, the court reversed the district court's judgment. View "Voketz v. City of Decatur" on Justia Law

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Valencia College did not violate plaintiff's statutory or constitutional rights when it suspended him for his conduct toward another student at the college. In this case, plaintiff was suspended from the college after he sent numerous unwanted texts to his former lab partner. The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment to the college, holding that plaintiff's as applied claim that the college violated his First Amendment right to free speech failed because the college could regulate plaintiff's expressive conduct because it invaded the rights of another student; the college's stalking provision was not unconstitutionally overbroad nor was it facially vague or vague as applied to his conduct; and plaintiff was not denied substantive or procedural due process. View "Koeppel v. District Board of Trustees of Valencia College" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed a 42 U.S.C. 1983 action against a police officer and the city, alleging claims of excessive force. In this case, plaintiff was experiencing an episode of diabetic shock when he lost control of his car, came to a stop at an interstate median, and was tased four times by the officer as he attempted to comply with the officer's orders. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of defendants' motions to dismiss, holding that the officer was not entitled to qualified immunity at this stage of the case. The court also held that plaintiff, for purposes of summary judgment, established a constitutional violation. Therefore, the district court properly denied the city's motion for summary judgment. View "Glasscox v. City of Argo" on Justia Law

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The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's decision ordering the City to remove a 34-foot Latin cross from a public park. The court held that American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia v. Rabun County Chamber of Commerce, Inc., 698 F.2d 1098 (11th Cir. 1983), was controlling here, because both Rabun and this case involved a private organization placing a similarly-sized cross on government property for Easter services. The court noted that, although the Supreme Court's contemporary jurisprudence seems to have substantially weakened Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U.S. 602 (1971), and thus by extension Rabun, it was bound to follow precedent that was closely on point with the case before it and precedent that had not been overruled. View "Kondrat'yev v. City of Pensacola" on Justia Law

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At issue was whether the standard for denying a motion for directed verdict in a criminal trial in Georgia can accurately gauge whether summary judgment was properly granted to a defendant in a 42 U.S.C. 1983 malicious prosecution case. The district court applied Georgia’s Monroe rule, which provides that denial of a motion for directed verdict in a criminal trial conclusively demonstrates the existence of probable cause, thereby precluding a state civil malicious-prosecution claim based on the prosecution in which the criminal court denied the directed verdict. In applying the rule, the court granted summary judgment to Defendant and against Plaintiff on his section 1983 malicious prosecution claim. The Eleventh Circuit vacated the entry of summary judgment and remanded for further proceedings, holding (1) a district court evaluating a motion for summary judgment on a section 1983 malicious prosecution claim must apply only the federal summary-judgment standard in determining whether summary judgment should be granted; and (2) the district court erred in granting summary judgment based solely on the Monroe rule. View "Blue v. Lopez" on Justia Law

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The Eleventh Circuit vacated the preliminary injunction entered by the district court in favor of Maurice Walker and against the City of Calhoun and remanded the case to the district court for further proceedings, holding that the injunction violated Fed. R. Civ. P. 65. Walker filed this action against the City while he was in custody, alleging that the City’s bail policy violated equal protection and due process principles by conditioning immediate release from jail on an arrestee’s ability to pay a cash bond without providing alternatives to indigent arrestees. Walker filed a motion to preliminarily enjoin the City from jailing him or other similarly situated indigent arrestees without offering them release on their own recognizance or on an unsecured bond. The district court granted the motion. The Eleventh Circuit vacated the preliminary injunction, holding that the order granting the motion for a preliminary injunction, as written, cannot stand. View "Walker v. City of Calhoun, Georgia" on Justia Law

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The Eleventh Circuit held that the outdoor food sharing hosted by FLFNB, a non-profit organization, is expressive conduct protected by the First Amendment, and therefore, the district court erred in granting summary judgment in favor of the City of Fort Lauderdale on FLFNB’s suit challenging an ordinance enacted by the City that restricted this food sharing. In 2014, the City enacted an ordinance that restricted FLFNB’s weekly food sharing at a City public park. In its complaint, FLFNB argued that the ordinance, enacted in 2014, and a related park rule violated their First Amendment free speech and free association rights and were unconstitutionally vague. The district court disagreed, concluding that the outdoor food sharing was not constitutionally-protected expressive conduct and that the ordinance and park rule were not vague. The Supreme Court reversed after examining the nature of FLFNB’s food sharing activity, combined with the factual context and environment in which the activity was undertaken, holding that FLFNB engaged in a form of protected expression. View "Fort Lauderdale Food Not Bombs v. City of Fort Lauderdale" on Justia Law

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The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court’s decision denying Appellant’s petition for a writ of habeas corpus, holding that the district court properly denied relief on Appellant’s claim alleging that trial counsel was ineffective at the guilt phase of his trial. Appellant, an inmate in a Georgia prison, filed a 28 U.S.C. 2254 petition in the Southern District of Georgia, asserting eighteen claims. The district court denied the petition in its entirety. At issue on appeal was whether trial counsel provided ineffective assistance during the guilt phase of Appellant’s trial by failing to use certain pretrial statements and police reports to impeach several of the State’s witnesses and by failing to object to the introduction of certain evidence. The Eleventh Circuit affirmed, holding that a fair-minded jurist could agree with the state habeas court’s denial of relief. View "Meders v. Warden, Georgia Diagnostic Prison" on Justia Law

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In these 30 consolidated appeals, individuals with severe autism filed suit against Disney, alleging that the company and its theme parks failed to accommodate their disabilities, in violation of Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Plaintiffs claimed that access to all of Disney's rides must be both nearly immediate and in each plaintiff's individual, pre-set order to accommodate fully their impairments. The district court granted summary judgment to Disney and concluded that the Disability Access Service (DAS) program already accommodated plaintiffs' disabilities and that revising the DAS program was not necessary for plaintiffs to have equal access and enjoyment of Disney's parks. The Eleventh Circuit affirmed in part and held that Disney's generalized issuance of DAS Cards, in and of itself, did not violate the ADA. However, the DAS Card, as good as it may be, still failed to address plaintiffs' alleged impairments of the inability to wait virtually for rides and the need to adhere to a routine order of rides or repeat rides. Because factual disputes existed as to those impairments, the court reversed summary judgment on the necessary-modification inquiry. The court remanded for the district court to address Disney's alternative argument that plaintiffs' requested modification was not reasonable and would fundamentally alter the park experience. Finally, plaintiffs' complaints did not contain a cause of action for intentional or disparate-impact discrimination under the ADA and thus the court affirmed the district court's judgment as to that issue. View "A.L. v. Walt Disney Parks and Resorts US, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of petitioner's pro se 28 U.S.C. 2255 motion challenging his sentence in light of Johnson v. United States. The court held that petitioner's Indiana battery convictions were violent felonies under the Armed Career Criminal Act's (ACCA) elements clause. The court explained that a conviction under the Indiana statute necessarily required that the defendant use force capable of causing physical pain or injury. View "DeLeon Colon v. United States" on Justia Law