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Shareholders challenged a 2012 agreement between the FHFA, as conservator to Fannie and Freddie, and the Treasury Department. Under the agreement, Treasury provided billions of taxpayer dollars in capital and, in exchange, Fannie and Freddie were required to pay Treasury quarterly dividends equal to their entire net worth (net worth sweep exchange). The Fifth Circuit found the FHFA acted within its statutory authority by adopting the net worth sweep, and thus held that the Shareholder's Administrative Procedure Act claims were barred by 5 U.S.C. 706(2)(A). The court also found that the FHFA was unconstitutionally structured and violated the separation of powers. Accordingly, the court reversed in part and affirmed in part. On remand, the court instructed the district court to enter judgment declaring the "for cause" limitation on removal of the FHFA's Director in 12 U.S.C. 4512(b)(2) violates the Constitution's separation-of-powers principles. View "Collins v. Mnuchin" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit treated appellant's motion to amend its opinion as a petition for panel rehearing and granted the petition. The court withdrew the prior opinion and substituted the following opinion. This appeal stemmed from a bankruptcy court order approving a trustee's application to employ special counsel. The court held that appellant lacked standing to object to the trustee's application to employ SBPC because his indirect interest in the order failed to meet the strict requirements for a "person aggrieved" under the exacting test for bankruptcy standing or a creditor under 11 U.S.C. 327(c). Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Furlough v. Cage" on Justia Law

Posted in: Bankruptcy

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The Fifth Circuit vacated the district court's restitution order imposed after defendant pleaded guilty to one count of producing child pornography, one count of transporting child pornography, and one count of possessing child pornography. Defendant was sentenced to 600 months in prison and ordered to pay $1,443,619.63 in restitution pursuant to 18 U.S.C. 2259. Defendant argued that the restitution order contravened Paroline v. United States, 134 S. Ct. 1710 (2014), because the district court failed to determine whether his conduct proximately caused the victims' alleged losses. In this case, the fact that the district court entered a legally binding restitution order without ensuring that the amount was authorized by statute was sufficient to warrant the court's exercise of discretion under the fourth prong of plain error review. Therefore, the court remanded for further proceedings. View "United States v. Winchel" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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Plaintiffs, several Texas healthcare providers licensed to perform abortions in the state, filed suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983, alleging that the costs imposed by regulations regarding the disposal of embryonic and fetal tissue would violate Due Process by burdening the rights of women seeking an abortion. The district court granted a preliminary injunction, finding that some terms in the regulations were unconstitutionally vague and that the rules impermissibly burdened abortion access. While the appeal was pending, the Texas legislature signed into law SB8, a larger abortion-related bill that specified legitimate methods for disposing of fetal remains. The Bishops subsequently filed an emergency appeal from an extraordinary discovery order by the district court to a religious body, compelling document production of the group's internal communications. The Fifth Circuit denied plaintiffs' motion to dismiss and reversed the district court's order denying the motion to quash and compelling discovery of internal communications within TCCB. The court held that the district court discounted the burdens of production on TCCB and failed to require more than a minimal, if any, rationale for discovery of TCCB's internal communications. The district court abused its discretion because it was too quick to reject TCCB's privilege claims and thus deprived TCCB of a fair opportunity to make its case for quashing the discovery. View "Whole Woman's Health v. Smith" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for Carrizo in an action stemming from a contract to plug and abandon oil wells. In the underlying action, a Crescent employee was severely injured. Crescent and its insurers denied that indemnity was owed despite the contractual language, and argued that Louisiana’s Oilfield Anti-Indemnity Act applied. The court held that the contract between Crescent and Carrizo was a maritime contract, because the contract was to facilitate the drilling or production of oil and gas on navigable waters, and the contract anticipated the constant and substantial use of multiple vessels. Therefore, federal law was applicable in this case and the Louisiana Oilfield Anti-Indemnity Act was inapplicable. View "In re: Crescent Energy Service" on Justia Law

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Defendants Smith and Washington were convicted of sex trafficking involving a fourteen-year-old girl. The Fifth Circuit affirmed Washington's conviction and sentence, holding that sufficient evidence supported the trial judge's conclusion that defendant was guilty; the district court did not abuse its discretion by denying her motion for severance; and her 292 month sentence was procedurally and substantively reasonable. The court held, however, that the district court erred by denying Smith's motion for counsel and thus violated his Sixth Amendment right to counsel. Therefore, the court reversed Smith's convictions and remanded for further proceedings. View "United States v. Smith" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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This appeal stemmed from a dispute between Jaguar and Autobahn concerning chargebacks of around $300,000 in incentive payments the distributor had made to the dealer. The Board of the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles declared the chargebacks invalid, and Jaguar exercised its statutory right of review in the state appellate court. During the pending of the appeal, Autobahn filed suit for damages based on the Board's findings, claiming violations of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (DTPA) and breach of contract. The Fifth Circuit reversed the district court's grant of summary judgment for Autobahn and remanded, holding that Autobahn's antecedent failure to exhaust divested the district court of power to decide the claim when it did. View "Autobahn Imports, L.P. v. Jaguar Land Rover North America" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of defendants' motion to suppress after they pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting possession with intent to distribute marijuana. The court held that the totality of the circumstances supported the denial of the motion to suppress where the border patrol agent had reasonable suspicion to stop the vehicle while on roving patrol of an area known to be used for smuggling; the vehicle at issue stood out from the typical truck or SUV used by local ranch vehicles; and the driver was going well below the posted speed limit, was tapping the brakes as though lost or searching for something along the road, pulled over at a known pickup point, and looked into the distance; and when the agent saw the vehicle a short time later, numerous additional passengers had appeared. View "United States v. Robles-Avalos" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Fifth Circuit dismissed in part and denied in part a petition for review of the BIA's decision upholding the IJ's denial of his application for withholding of removal under the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. 1231(b)(3). The court held that it did not have jurisdiction over petitioner's challenges to the IJ's determination that his mistreatment was not torture under the Convention Against Torture (CAT), and petitioner's request to remand to the BIA so that the BIA could consider a derivative asylum claim based on his wife's recent grant of asylum. Therefore, the court dismissed as to these claims. The court agreed with the IJ's finding that petitioner had not proven that he was harmed because of his political opinion or one imputed to him. Furthermore, to the extent petitioner's claimed social group was family members of Roma, the record was devoid of evidence that the persecution suffered by his wife was directed at him. Accordingly, the court denied the petition in all other respects. View "Revencu v. Sessions" on Justia Law

Posted in: Immigration Law

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Plaintiff filed suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983, alleging, among other things, that the initial bite from a police dog and the continued biting were excessive force in violation of the Fourth Amendment. The district court dismissed the initial bite claim on a Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) motion and denied summary judgment to the officer. The Fifth Circuit held that there was no Fourth Amendment violation because the totality of the circumstances and the Graham factors established that the officer's use of force was not objectively unreasonable. In this case, police were chasing plaintiff after he assaulted his wife, they were informed that they would have to kill plaintiff to get him, he had a knife, and was bitten by the dog until he was fully handcuffed by the police. Therefore, the court reversed the denial of qualified immunity to the officer. The court dismissed the cross-appeal for lack of jurisdiction and remanded. View "Escobar v. Montee" on Justia Law