Justia U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Communications Law
Kevin M. Ehringer Enter., Inc. v. McData Serv. Corp.
Defendant, a technology company that sold data centers, appealed the district court's judgment on a jury verdict in favor of plaintiff, a company that purchased defendant's fiber management systems and intelligent fiber systems, in plaintiff's suit for breach of contract and fraudulent inducement. At issue was whether the district court erred in denying its motion for judgment as a matter of law. The court held that because plaintiff failed to present sufficient evidence that defendant had no intent to perform under the "best efforts" provision of the contract and failed to present any evidence of damages on its other claim, the judgment of the district court was reversed and remanded to the district court to enter judgment in favor of defendant. Accordingly, the court did not reach the other issues raised by defendant on appeal.
Boos, et al. v. AT&T, Inc., et al.
Plaintiffs brought an enforcement suit against defendants under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 ("ERISA"), 29 U.S.C. 1001-1461. At issue was whether the district court properly granted summary judgment in favor of defendants, concluding that defendants' practice of offering discounted telephone services to employees and retirees ("Concession") was not a pension plan in whole or in part. The court affirmed summary judgment and held that the district court did not err in holding that Concession was one plan, at least as it regarded to all retirees; in refusing to examine the out-of-region retiree Concession in isolation; in concluding that although Concession did provide income to some retirees, such income was incidental to the benefit, and was not designed for the purpose of paying retirement income; and in holding that Concession did not result in a deferral of income.
MCI Communications Serv., Inc. v. Hagan, et al
Plaintiff filed suit against defendants, Wayne Hagan and James Joubert, alleging that Joubert was negligently excavating on a backhoe and severed plaintiff's underground fiber-optic cable in violation of the Louisiana Damage Prevention Act, LA. REV. STAT. ANN 40:1749,11 et seq., and that Hagan was vicariously liable because Joubert was acting as his agent at the time. At issue was whether the district court erred when it refused to give the jury plaintiff's proposed instruction on trespass. Also at issue was whether the district court erred when it excluded statements made by Hagan's attorney to plaintiff's employee under Federal Rule of Evidence 408; when it refused to certify plaintiff's witness as an expert; and when it held that defendants were entitled to attorneys' fees and costs. The court certified the first issue where the Louisiana Supreme Court had not previously determined what standard of intent was used for trespass to underground utility cables and the issue was determinative of whether plaintiff was entitled to a new trial on its trespass claim. The court held that the statements made by Hagan's attorney to plaintiff's employer could have been excluded on other grounds given that it was inadmissible hearsay against Joubert and therefore, the court declined to remand for a new trial on this ground. The court also held that the district court did not commit a reversible error where plaintiff did not proffer the substance of plaintiff's witness' excluded testimony. Finally, the court deferred addressing the attorneys' fees issue pending the Louisiana Supreme Court's decision on the first issue.