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On a second rehearing, the Fifth Circuit certified a question to the Louisiana Supreme Court regarding whether a suit seeking to compel arbitration is an "action for a money judgment" under Louisiana's non-resident attachment statute, La. Code Civ. Proc. art. 3542. The state court answered the certified question and held that Louisiana Code of Civil Procedure article 3542 allows for attachment in aid of arbitration if the origin of the underlying arbitration claim is one pursuing money damages and the arbitral party has satisfied the statutory requirements necessary to obtain a writ of attachment. In this case, the court held that the district court erred in finding that the Louisiana nonresident attachment statute was not available to Daewoo. The underlying action seeking to compel arbitration here was clearly an action for a money judgment under Louisiana's non-resident attachment statute. View "Stemcor USA Inc. v. Cia Siderurgica do Para Cosipar" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983 against the Board and its president, alleging that defendants unlawfully deprived him of the use of several of his properties. After a jury returned a verdict for plaintiff, the district court denied the Board's motion for judgment as a matter of law or a new trial. The Fifth Circuit affirmed and held that there was legally sufficient evidence for a reasonable jury to conclude that the Board ratified the unlawful initiation of condemnation proceedings. The court rejected the Board's challenges to the jury instructions and held that, even if the instructions were erroneous, they could not have affected the outcome of the case. View "Young v. Board of Supervisors of Humphreys County" on Justia Law

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USSG USSG 2K2.1(b)(4) requires only that one serial number be altered or obliterated on a firearm, even if others are clearly legible. The Fifth Circuit affirmed defendant's sentence after he pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm. The court held that the district court did not err by applying a four-level sentencing enhancement under USSG 2K2.1(b)(4), for an altered or obliterated serial number on the firearm. In this case, the metal serial-number plate had been removed from the frame of the handgun, but it had a legible serial number on its side. Therefore, the metal serial number plate altered or obliterated the serial number. View "United States v. Jones" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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Plaintiff, a former deputy constable, filed suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983 against defendants, alleging that they violated his First Amendment rights when he was terminated for reporting the illegal acts of the then-Constable and others to law enforcement authorities. Applying Texas law, the Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's claims against the county and the Constable in his official capacity as barred by res judicata where plaintiff had previously filed a state court action against the county. The court also affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's claims against the Constable in his individual capacity based on qualified immunity, because it was not clearly established at the time whether a law enforcement officer's involvement in an investigation with outside law enforcement enjoyed protection under the First Amendment. Furthermore, the Constable was entitled to qualified immunity on the First Amendment's Petition Clause claim where plaintiff's grievance from his termination did not constitute a matter of public concern and plaintiff did not allege that he was treated differently than similarly situated deputy constables. View "Harmon v. Dallas County" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff appealed the district court's order compelling arbitration of her federal age discrimination action against OneMain. The Fifth Circuit held that, although the district court correctly rejected plaintiff's meeting of the minds argument, it erroneously referred her procedural unconscionability challenge to the arbitrator. In this case, procedural unconscionability goes to contract formation under Mississippi law, and thus the district court should have ruled on this objection. Therefore, the court reversed and vacated the order, remanding for the district court to decide on the merits of the procedural unconscionability claim. View "Bowles v. OneMain Financial Group, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit held that the special condition of supervised release imposed by the district court for defendant to participate in a mental health treatment program was not supported by the record. In this case, the district court's reasoning was scant and the court's independent review of the record determined that the district court could have imposed a less restrictive alternative. Therefore, the district court committed reversible plain error and the court modified the sentence by striking the condition. The court otherwise affirmed the sentence as modified. View "United States v. Bree" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Fifth Circuit reversed the district court's holding that the bankruptcy court erred in dismissing a post-confirmation attempt by the Oklahoma State Treasurer to obtain the right to unclaimed royalty payments owed by the oil and gas debtor. The court held that res judicata barred the claim because the Treasurer sat on its rights during the entire Chapter 11 process. In this case, the Treasurer failed to participate in the bankruptcy case and object to or appeal the plan's disposition of the Oklahoma unclaimed property in the normal course. Accordingly, the court reinstated the bankruptcy court's dismissal of the Treasurer's case. View "Linn Operating, Inc. v. Oklahoma State Treasurer" on Justia Law

Posted in: Bankruptcy

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The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's acceptance of defendant's guilty plea to possessing a firearm and ammunition as a convicted felon. The court first considered the entire record in assessing the sufficiency of the factual basis. In this case, assuming arguendo that the factual basis contained a viable justification defense, the record plainly established that defendant knowingly possessed a firearm. Therefore, the court held that the factual basis demonstrated that defendant's conduct satisfied all elements of the offense. View "United States v. Ortiz" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Fifth Circuit affirmed defendant's sentence imposed after he pleaded guilty to illegal reentry into the United States after being previously removed. The court held that defendant failed to prove error affecting his substantial rights where nothing about the classification of his prior sex offenses altered the district court's focus on his contumacy. The district court determined that defendant's earlier conviction failed to deter defendant, because he quickly reentered the United States after his most recent illegal reentry conviction. In this case, the district court never cited the sexual assault convictions in explaining its chosen sentence. Rather, the district court's explanation made clear that the judge based the sentence on factors independent of the Guidelines. View "United States v. Sanchez-Hernandez" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Fifth Circuit denied petitioner a certificate of appealability (COA), dismissed his appeal for lack of jurisdiction, and sanctioned him for appealing his collateral attack on his conviction. The court held that a denial of a motion to quash a writ of execution under 28 U.S.C. 1291 is a final decision. The court affirmed the district court's denial of petitioner's request to quash the government's writ of execution. The court held that the statutes governing restitution granted petitioner the right to reduce his restitution order based on subsequent civil judgments. However, the court rejected petitioner's collateral attack on the restitution order and held that he did not meet the evidentiary requirements of 18 U.S.C. 3664(j)(2). View "United States v. Parker" on Justia Law