Justia U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in International Law

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Petitioner challenges the district court's denial of his petition for return of his children to Venezuela pursuant to the Hague Convention. The court concluded that the district court applied the correct legal standard in determining the children’s habitual residence, and its shared intent determination was not clearly erroneous. In this case, the record demonstrates that respondent, the children's mother, and petitioner's last shared intent was to abandon Venezuela permanently as the children’s habitual residence. There was a meeting of their minds to abandon Venezuela as the children’s habitual residence. The court also concluded that petitioner cannot meet his burden to show that the children were wrongfully removed from Venezuela or retained in the United States because Venezuela was abandoned as the children’s habitual residence. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Delgado v. Osuna" on Justia Law

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Petitioner, an American citizen and national, was convicted of homicide and injuries in Mexico. Pursuant to the Treaty on Execution of Penal Sentences, petitioner was transferred from Mexico to the United States. At issue is the USPC's contest of the court's jurisdiction and petitioner's assertion that the USPC’s determination of his release date was substantively unreasonable, in light of his claim that it failed to account for the abuse he suffered while imprisoned in Mexico. Because petitioner challenges the substantive reasonableness of his sentence based on the USPC’s refusal to vary downward, the court concluded that it has jurisdiction to review his claim. On the merits, the court concluded that petitioner failed to overcome the presumption of reasonableness for his within-Guidelines sentence of 204 months in prison. Accordingly, the court denied the petition for review. View "Gomez v. USPC" on Justia Law

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Six-year-old D.A.P.G. was abducted from his home in Honduras and brought illegally into the United States by defendant, his mother. Plaintiff filed a petition under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, Oct. 25, 1980, T.I.A.S. No. 11,670, seeking the return of his only child. Plaintiff filed his return petition two months outside of the one-year period of the child's wrongful removal, allowing the district court to consider the Convention’s defense that the child is well-settled in his new environment and therefore should not be returned. The district court denied plaintiff's petition, concluding that D.A.P.G. was well-settled in his current community even though defendant’s removal of D.A.P.G. from Honduras was wrongful. The court concluded that the district court erred in its legal analysis and application of the Convention’s well-settled defense. The court joined its sister circuits and held that the following factors should be considered: (1) the child’s age; (2) the stability and duration of the child’s residence in the new environment; (3) whether the child attends school or day care consistently; (4) whether the child has friends and relatives in the new area; (5) the child’s participation in community or extracurricular activities; (6) the respondent’s employment and financial stability; and (7) the immigration status of the respondent and child. The court joined the Second and Ninth Circuits in concluding that immigration status is neither dispositive nor subject to categorical rules, but instead is one relevant factor in a multifactor test. Here, the district court did not clearly err in its factual findings but erred in its legal interpretation and application of the well-settled defense. Giving due consideration to immigration status and the other relevant factors listed above, the thin evidence in the record does not demonstrate that D.A.P.G. has formed significant connections to his new environment. Accordingly, the court vacated and rendered judgment in plaintiff's favor. View "Hernandez v. Pena" on Justia Law

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Pedro Antonio Flores Rodriguez petitioned for the return of his child, A.S.F.S., from the girl's mother, Yolanda Ivonne Salgado Yanez, under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction and the International Child Abduction Remedies Act, 22 U.S.C. 9001-11. The district court denied the petition. The court concluded that the district court erred in concluding that Flores was not exercising his custody rights at the time of removal. Furthermore, the court agreed with Flores that the Convention requires an objection, not a mere preference, to being returned. In this case, the district court may have framed its questions during the private colloquy in terms of whether A.S.F.S. preferred to live in the United States, but its written findings are more ambiguous. Although the district court's findings adequately explain why A.S.F.S. is mature enough to object, they only hint at whether she did object and, if so, for what reasons. Accordingly, the court vacated this portion of the district court's order and remanded to allow the district court to engage in a new colloquy with A.S.F.S. and enter more detailed findings regarding its eventual conclusion. View "Flores Rodriguez v. Salgado Yanez" on Justia Law

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Maghreb appealed the district court's grant of plaintiff's motion for non-recognition of a Moroccan judgment under Texas's Uniform Foreign Country Money-Judgment Recognition Act, Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code Ann. 36.001–36.008. Under de novo review, the court held that the Texas Recognition Act’s due process standard requires only that the foreign proceedings be fundamentally fair and inoffensive to “basic fairness.” In this case, the Moroccan judicial system does not present an exceptional case of “serious injustice” that renders the entire system fundamentally unfair and incompatible with due process. Therefore, the district court erred in concluding that non-recognition was justified under Section 36.005(a)(1) of the Texas Recognition Act. The court further concluded that plaintiff has not established, as required by the Texas Recognition Act, that Morocco would refuse to recognize an otherwise enforceable foreign judgment simply because it was rendered in Texas. The court rejected plaintiff's claims regarding service of process and his amenability to jurisdiction. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded for further proceedings. View "DeJoria v. Maghreb Petroleum Exploration" on Justia Law

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Rickmers Genoa Schiffahrtsgesellschaft mbH & Cie KG (Rickmers) sought to enforce a Philippine arbitral award given to Lito Martinez Asignacion for maritime injuries. Asignacion sued Rickmers in Louisiana state court to recover for his injuries. Rickmers filed an exception seeking to enforce the arbitration clause of Asignacion’s contract. The state court granted the exception, stayed litigation, and ordered arbitration in the Philippines. The district court refused to enforce the award pursuant to the public-policy defense found in the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards, and the prospective-waiver doctrine. Rickmers appeals. Finding that the district court erred in reaching its conclusion, the Fifth Circuit reversed and remanded for the district court to enforce the award. View "Asignacion v. Rickmers Genoa Schiffahrtsgesellschaft mbH & Cie KG" on Justia Law

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This suit arose out of an insurance policy SWEPCO, a public electric utility serving Louisiana, Arkansas, and Texas, purchased from Underwriters for coverage associated with the construction of a power plant in Louisiana. On appeal, SWEPCO challenged the district court's order granting Underwriters' motion to compel arbitration. The court concluded that the district court's order was not a final, appealable order within the meaning of the United Nations Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards, 9 U.S.C. 201-08, or the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA), 9 U.S.C. 1-16. Accordingly, the court dismissed the case for lack of appellate jurisdiction. View "Southwestern Elec. Power Co., et al. v. Certain Underwriters at Lloyds of London" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit under the International Child Abduction Remedies Act (ICARA), 42 U.S.C. 11607(b)(3), against defendant for the return of their child. The parties settled and plaintiff filed a motion for attorneys' fees and necessary expenses. The court found that the settlement order was sufficient to create a duty on the district court to order an award of necessary fees and expenses under section 11607(b)(3)'s fee-shifting provision. The court concluded that the district court functioned within its broad discretionary powers in declining to conduct an evidentiary hearing and deferred to the district court's determination that $39,079.13 was a reasonable award for the necessary expenses incurred by plaintiff in obtaining the return of her child. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "Salazar v. Maimon" on Justia Law

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Three children who are natives of Mexico appealed the district court's finding under the Hague Convention of the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, T.I.A.S. No. 11670, S. Treaty Doc. No. 99-11, that they were being wrongfully retained in the United States and should be returned to their mother. While the appeal was pending, USCIS granted the children asylum. As a preliminary matter, the court concluded that the children, who are not parties, have standing to appeal where their well-being was at stake. On the merits, the court concluded that no jurisdictional defect arose from the fact that the director of child and family services was not the actual physical custodian of the children; the absence of ORR as a party was not a meaningful defect; and the Hague Convention was a proper mechanism for the recovery of the children. Accordingly, the district court did not lack jurisdiction to enter the order that the children be returned to their mother. Because the children's fundamental interests are at stake in the district court proceedings and no respondent is making an effort to represent those interests, the court remanded to the district court to appoint the children a guardian ad litem. The district court did not clearly err by failing to account for the mostly retrospective harm allegedly suffered by the children, or the conclusions of the psychologist, which were based on the children's belief that the same conditions would be present upon their return. Finally, the court concluded that an asylum grant did not remove from the district court authority to make controlling findings on the potential harm to the child. Accordingly, the court vacated and remanded. View "Sanchez v. R.G.L." on Justia Law

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Petitioner filed a complaint with OSHA, asserting that Saybolt and Core Labs had violated Section 806 of the Corporate and Criminal Fraud Accountability Act of 2002, Title VIII of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, 18 U.S.C. 1514A(a), by retaliating against him for blowing the whistle on an alleged scheme to violate Colombian tax law. OSHA, an ALJ, and the Board all rejected petitioner's complaint. The court concluded that petitioner did not demonstrate that he engaged in protected conduct because he did not complain, based on a reasonable belief, that one of six enumerated categories of U.S. law had been violated. Petitioner had not demonstrated that he engaged in any protected activity, and given this, the court could not say that Core Labs knew that petitioner engaged in a protected activity that was a contributing factor in the unfavorable actions of withholding petitioner's pay raise and ultimately terminating him. Accordingly, the court affirmed the Board's dismissal of petitioner's complaint because he had not demonstrated that his claim fell within the scope of section 806. View "Villanueva v. U.S. Dept. of Labor" on Justia Law