LOG IN
    SELECT A PUBLICATION:
Florida Law Weekly
FLW Supplement
FLW Federal
User Name:
Password:
 
Forgotten your password?


CONTACT
    Toll-free: 800-351-0917
    E-mail us
    Submit Opinions

PLACE AN ORDER
    Print Editions
    Online Editions
    Bound Volumes
    2/24-Hour Online Access


OUR PUBLICATIONS
    Florida Law Weekly
    FLW Supplement
    FLW Federal
    Collected Cases
    Sample FLW Online


RESEARCH
    Cross Citations
    Week In Review
    Rule Revisions
    Review Granted
    Current Issue Index
     Civil Section
     Criminal Section
    2014 Cumulative Index
     Civil Section
     Criminal Section
    2013 Cumulative Index
     Civil Section
     Criminal Section
    Florida Statutes
    Helpful Links



  
Federal New Releases

New Releases
from Federal Courts

Viewing the full text of these opinions will require logging in with your user name and password.

States -- Boundaries -- Submerged lands -- Final decree addressing entitlement to lands, minerals, and other natural resources underlying Pacific Ocean offshore of California
VIEW OPINION

Criminal law -- Habeas corpus -- Counsel -- Ineffectiveness -- Evidentiary hearing -- District court did not err in denying federal habeas petition challenging state court's denial of state prisoner's claim of ineffective assistance of counsel without holding an evidentiary hearing -- Certificate of appealability to determine whether district court abused its discretion by denying defendant's request for evidentiary hearing to prove his claim of ineffective assistance of counsel erroneously assumes that standard of review for the denial of evidentiary hearing is abuse of discretion -- When a state prisoner files a petition for writ of habeas corpus, if state court has adjudicated the claim on merits, then petitioner bears the burden of establishing, based only on the record before that state court, that decision of state court was contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application of, clearly established law -- If petitioner satisfies that burden, then appellate court review of denial of evidentiary hearing is for abuse of discretion -- Because defendant failed to satisfy his burden under Section 2254(d)(1) to establish, based only on the record before that state court, that decision of state court was contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application of, clearly established law, appellate court inquiry is at an end
VIEW OPINION

Criminal law -- Habeas corpus -- Murder -- Death penalty -- Counsel -- Ineffectiveness -- One-line decision of state supreme court denying defendant's certificate of probable cause is the relevant state-court decision for purpose of federal court review because it is the final decision “on the merits” -- Defendant is not entitled to habeas relief on claim that he was deprived of fair trial because his counsel provided ineffective assistance during penalty phase of his trial by failing to discover and introduce mitigating evidence, because decision of state supreme court denying defendant's petition was not contrary to, or an unreasonable application of, clearly established federal law, as determined by Supreme Court -- State supreme court could have looked at overall mix of evidence, aggravating and mitigating, old and new, and reasonably concluded that defendant failed to establish that he was prejudiced by trial counsel's performance during penalty phase of his trial, and that counsel provided effective assistance
VIEW OPINION

Civil rights -- Speech -- Association -- Elections -- Ballot-access restrictions -- Independent candidates -- District court did not err in granting summary judgment in favor of state on plaintiffs' claim that Alabama's ballot access laws were unconstitutional, both facially and as applied, with respect to presidential candidates -- Plaintiffs did not present evidence showing that the legitimate, nondiscriminatory reasons for state's restrictions on petition-based ballot access unconstitutionally burden their associational rights -- State's interests in treating all political parties fairly and in setting deadline that provides sufficient time to verify petition signatures outweigh burden to plaintiffs' associational rights
VIEW OPINION

Bankruptcy -- Discharge -- Homeowners who hired debtor's interior design company to perform interior design services for their newly constructed home filed adversary complaint seeking denial of discharge and to except from discharge judgment obtained against debtor and her design company -- False oath or account -- Homeowners failed to satisfy their burden of proof on claim seeking denial of discharge based on false oath under 11 U.S.C. section 727(a)(4)(A) -- Debtors' failure to disclose prepetition vehicle sales and resulting proceeds was not knowing or fraudulent, because initial failure to disclose the sales was unintentional, debtors were forthcoming with corrected testimony at § 341 creditors' meeting, and original omissions were cured by subsequent amendment -- Proceeds from sale of company's assets are not imputed to debtors and need not have been disclosed as income on their statement of financial affairs, absent evidence that proceeds were retained by debtors or used for personal purposes -- Alleged failure to disclose debtors' interest, if any, in Chinese drywall class action settlement was not knowing and fraudulent -- Failure to explain loss of assets -- Plaintiffs failed to meet their burden of proof on claim seeking denial of discharge based on failure to explain satisfactorily a loss of assets under Section 737(a)(5) where plaintiffs have not shown that debtor wife failed to satisfactorily explain a loss of assets and statute does not require her to explain deficiency in design company's assets -- Dischargeable debts -- Fraud -- Plaintiffs failed to meet their burden of proof on claim to except their judgment from discharge under Section 523(a)(2)(A) to extent debt was obtained by false pretense, false representation or actual fraud where plaintiffs failed to establish by preponderance of evidence that debtor wife made false representation with intention of deceiving them or that plaintiffs justifiably relied on alleged false representation -- Plaintiffs failed to establish that debtor wife falsely represented that design company would use their deposits to complete design project orders; that if she were unable to complete their projects, her father, as an investor, would be responsible for projects' completion; and that design company was insured -- Willful and malicious injury -- Conversion -- Plaintiffs failed to meet their burden of proof on claim to except their judgment from discharge under Section 523(a)(6) based on willful and malicious injury by debtors -- Debtor wife did not willfully and maliciously injure plaintiffs by committing tort of conversion when she allegedly misappropriated for her own use plaintiffs' property, in form of cash deposits and any corresponding goods purchased with those deposits, instead of using deposit and goods to fulfill their project orders, where there was no evidence that deposits remained plaintiffs' property, that debtor was prohibited from using the deposits to pay for general business expenses, or that deposits were used for anything other than business expenses -- Debtor husband did not convert for his own use cash deposits or goods purchased with those deposits when he sold company's assets under consignment to third party where there is no evidence that plaintiffs owned any of consigned goods or that they owned any of company's assets that were sold, and no evidence that plaintiffs had a valid, perfected judgment lien encumbering company's property or that plaintiffs obtained a writ of execution to effectuate a levy on company's property -- Civil conspiracy -- Plaintiffs cannot establish claim for civil conspiracy to commit conversion to support nondischargeability claim under Section 523(a)(6) where plaintiffs have not established an underlying conversion, and conspiracy, by itself, is insufficient
VIEW OPINION

Bankruptcy -- Settlement -- Approval -- Chapter 7 trustee moved for approval of settlement of claims against corporate debtor's officer for $900,000 payment from insurer -- Amended settlement agreement meets standard for judicial approval of settlements in Eleventh Circuit as set forth in In re Justice Oaks II, Ltd. and approval is proper pursuant to Rule 9019 of Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure -- Specifically, amended settlement is fair and reasonable, falls within reasonable range of possible litigation outcomes, and is in best interest of bankruptcy estate because settlement precludes any risks associated with litigation and collection in this matter, provides a dividend available to creditors, and allows for distribution of proceeds within a reasonable time -- Bar order -- Requested bar order to foreclose pursuit of securities claims that were closely related to estate's claims that were the subject of proposed settlement involving Chapter 7 trustee, corporate debtor's officer, and insurer satisfied requisite standard under prevailing law in Eleventh Circuit and is fair and equitable -- Specifically, bar order is an integral part of amended settlement without which it would not be consummated; approval of bar order facilitates and fulfills long-standing public policy of encouraging pretrial settlements; amended settlement satisfies requisites for approval of settlements under Justice Oaks; estate's claims, and those which trustee could and would assert, are interrelated with claims which will be barred, as causes of action arise out of same common nucleus of operative facts and circumstances and are based on similar, if not identical, acts and omissions; claims being barred lack sufficient evidence of strength and existence; claims against beneficiary of bar order are complex; and continued litigation by estate and other parties against beneficiary of bar order will substantially deplete resources of estate
VIEW OPINION

Civil rights -- Equal protection -- Florida Constitution -- Claim that defendants treated plaintiff unequally based on plaintiff's political affiliation is not cognizable under Equal Protection Clause of Florida Constitution -- Florida Equal Protection clause recognizes the rights of citizens to be treated as equal under the law, and plaintiff proffered no case in which a Florida court has sustained an Equal Protection claim for a person whose rights are not being abridged by a statutory provision or ordinance or regulation -- A “class of one” claim does not operate as a conduit for bringing an equal protection claim based on workplace unfairness
VIEW OPINION

Consumer law -- Fair Debt Collection Practices Act -- Mortgagor properly stated a claim that defendants, acting as legal counsel for bank, violated FDCPA by establishing that state court complaint seeking enforcement of a promissory note constitutes debt collection under FDCPA; that law firm and attorney are debt collectors within meaning of 15 U.S.C. § 1692(a)(6); and that defendants engaged in an act or omission prohibited by FDCPA by attaching the FDCPA notice to state court mortgage foreclosure complaint and summons -- Least sophisticated consumer could be deceived or confused by incorporation of FDCPA notice into mortgage foreclosure summons and complaint when summons sets out a 20-day deadline to respond to lawsuit and attached notice provides for 30-day deadline to request validation of debt -- Plaintiff failed to adequately plead the elements necessary for Section 1692(g) violation because plaintiff did not adequately allege that an initial communication occurred between debt collector and plaintiff -- Defendants' litigation activity is not entitled to immunity under Florida's litigation privilege because complaint is based on a violation of FDCPA, a federal statute, and plaintiff does not allege a violation of any state statute
VIEW OPINION

Insurance -- Property -- Coverage -- Sinkhole loss -- Phrase “structural damage” should be given its plain meaning as “damage to the structure,” where policy did not contain a definition of “structural damage” or refer to the statutory definition -- Fact that 2011 Amendment to Chapter 627, Florida Statutes, which adopted a definition of “structural damage” to be applied when interpreting insurance policies providing coverage for sinkhole loss, was in effect before inception of subject policy does not change outcome of case because it is inappropriate to look to other definitions outside insurance policy if court can apply a plain meaning to undefined phrase
VIEW OPINION

Contracts -- Loan agreement -- Rescission -- Truth in Lending Act -- Notice of right to rescind -- Borrower was entitled to rescission of loan agreement entered into with trustee of mortgage investment trust because trustee failed to give borrower clear and conspicuous notice of her statutory right to rescind the loan transaction within three business days after consummation of the transaction, in violation of Section 1635(a) of Truth in Lending Act, when trustee instructed borrower to sign a postdated waiver of her right to rescind the transaction before the three-day period for rescission had expired -- Because trustee failed to give borrower clear and conspicuous notice of her right to rescind the transaction, borrower's right to rescind was extended to three years from date of loan transaction -- Record fairly supports district court's factual findings that mortgaged property was borrower's principal dwelling at time of loan transaction and that she signed both the loan agreement and waiver at same time -- District court lacked discretion to deny borrower's request for statutory damages, attorney's fees, and costs -- An award of statutory damages, attorney's fees, and costs is mandatory after rescission of loan transactions -- Issue of “materiality” of noncompliance with requirements of Act does not affect remedies available when rescission is ordered
VIEW OPINION

Criminal law -- Search and seizure -- Traffic stop -- Reasonable suspicion -- Because officer's mistake of law that a faulty right brake light was a violation of state law was reasonable, there was reasonable suspicion justifying stop of vehicle under Fourth Amendment because one of its two brake lights was out
VIEW OPINION

Criminal law -- Youthful offenders -- Convictions set aside -- District court, rather than the Parole Commission, was obligated under 18 U.S.C. § 5021(b) to issue a certificate stating that youthful offender's conviction had been set aside where district court's initial confinement sentence provided that offender would remain in custody “until discharged by” the Parole Commission, but district court revised the sentence by reducing the sentence to time served and effectively discharging defendant from custody -- Issuance of writ of mandamus directing district court to issue a certificate stating that conviction of youthful offender was automatically set aside on date he was discharged by court would be appropriate vehicle for providing requested relief, rather than writ of error coram nobis
VIEW OPINION

Jurisdiction -- Federal -- Removal of state court action to federal court -- Amount in controversy -- As specified in 28 U.S.C. §1446(a), a defendant's notice of removal need include only a plausible allegation that the amount in controversy exceeds the jurisdictional threshold; the notice need not contain evidentiary submissions -- Evidence establishing the amount is required by Section 1446(c)(2)(B) only when plaintiff contests, or the court questions, the defendant's allegation -- District court erred in remanding case for want of an evidentiary submission in notice of removal, and Court of Appeals abused its discretion in denying review of that decision
VIEW OPINION

Evidence -- Juror testimony -- Federal Rule of Evidence 606(b) provides that certain juror testimony regarding what occurred in jury room is inadmissible “[d]uring an inquiry into the validity of a verdict” -- Rule 606(b) precludes a party seeking a new trial from using one juror's affidavit of what another juror said in deliberations to demonstrate the other juror's dishonesty during voir dire
VIEW OPINION

Fair Labor Standards Act -- Employees' time spent waiting to undergo and undergoing employer-required antitheft security screening before leaving warehouse is not compensable under FLSA -- Activity is integral and indispensable to the principal activities that an employee is employed to perform, and thus compensable under the FLSA, if it is an intrinsic element of those activities and one with which the employee cannot dispense if he is to perform his principal activities -- Employees' time spent waiting to undergo and undergoing security screenings does not meet these criteria
VIEW OPINION

Find out more about FLW Federal.