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In two separate actions against HomeAway, the Fifth Circuit reversed the district court's judgment in Plaintiff Ivan Arnold's case and affirmed the judgment in Plaintiff Deirdre Seim's case, holding that plaintiffs were bound to arbitrate their threshold arbitrability questions. In Arnold's case, the court held that there was a contract between the parties that contained a putative arbitration provision, the parties have agreed to delegate threshold questions about the arbitration provision to an arbitrator, and Arnold did not specifically challenge the validity of the delegation clause. In Seim's case, the district court was correct to order arbitration but should not have assessed threshold questions itself. Accordingly, the court remanded both cases with instructions to compel arbitration. View "Arnold v. HomeAway, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit granted a petition for review of the BIA's decision determining petitioner's conviction of online solicitation of a minor was an aggravated felony that subjected him to removal. The court held that Esquivel-Quintana v. Sessions, 137 S. Ct. 1562 (2017), abrogated the court's previous definition of a minor in this context. Esquivel-Quintana established an age requirement that rendered petitioner's statute of conviction overbroad and did not qualify as sexual abuse of a minor for purposes of removability. Therefore, the court reversed the decision of the BIA and remanded for further proceedings. View "Shroff v. Sessions" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's judgment in an action arising from a property insurance policy that Lexington issued to LWL to insure construction equipment that LWL leased from Sierra. The court held that the equitable lien doctrine did not apply to Sierra, who was not a party to the insurance policy, and Sierra did not have standing to sue Lexington. In this case, the agreement between Sierra and LWL did not require that LWL obtain insurance with a loss payable clause to Sierra, and the Lexington policy did not contain such a clause. View "Sierra Equipment, Inc. v. Lexington Insurance Co." on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit reversed the district court's grant of defendants' motion to dismiss plaintiff's due process claim, which alleged that plaintiff was deprived of his property interest in his job as superintendent. The court held that plaintiff has adequately stated a procedural due process claim because he did not receive a pre-termination hearing. The court affirmed with respect to plaintiff's remaining claims and remanded as to the property-based procedural due process claim. View "Greene v. Greenwood Public School District" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit reversed the district court's denial of petitioner's habeas petition and remanded with directions to issue the writ, holding that the verdict from petitioner's second trial necessarily determined that the State failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he acted with specific intent to kill or to inflict great bodily harm. Therefore, the State was constitutionally barred from prosecuting him for any crime having that same issue as an essential element. In this case, petitioner's second degree murder conviction from his third trial was thus invalid. Under clearly established Supreme Court precedent, second degree murder as defined in La. R.S. 14:30.1(A)(1) was not be a crime in which the State could constitutionally prosecute petitioner. View "Langley v. Prince" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's motion to compel arbitration. Determining that it had jurisdiction and the premature notice of appeal was effective, the court held that the Green Tree Parties had standing to compel arbitration even if some were not signatories to the arbitration. In this case, the House Parties' allegation supported application of Mississippi's intertwined claims test to permit Green Tree and WIMC to compel arbitration as non-signatories. The court also held that the district court did not err in ruling that the parties' express incorporation of the JAMS rules provided clear evidence that they agreed that the arbitrator would decide arbitrability. Finally, the district court correctly referred the question of fraud to the arbitrator. View "Green Tree Servicing LLC v. House" on Justia Law

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Five voters filed suit against defendants, alleging that they had been disqualified in an election in violation of their rights under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The Fifth Circuit held that this appeal presented a state election contest for a legislative seat and thus the court lacked subject matter jurisdiction. Accordingly, the court dismissed the appeal. View "Keyes v. Gunn" on Justia Law

Posted in: Election Law

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In the Fifth Circuit's previous ruling, Aldous v. Darwin Nat'l Assurance Co., 851 F.3d 473, 485 (5th Cir. 2017), the court determined that plaintiff's claims under the Texas Insurance Code Chapter 541 were barred because she did not claim damages beyond the loss of policy benefits. Since that ruling, the Supreme Court of Texas decided USAA Texas Lloyds Co. v. Menchaca, No. 14-0721, 2018 WL 1866041, at 10 (Tex. Apr. 13, 2018), and repudiated the independent-injury rule. Therefore, the court granted plaintiff's motion for leave to file her petition out of time because the court retained jurisdiction over the appeal and because plaintiff had good cause for her late filing. View "Charla Aldous, P.C. v. Darwin National Assurance Co." on Justia Law

Posted in: Insurance Law

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The Fifth Circuit affirmed defendant's conviction and sentence for conspiracy to bring in, transport, and harbor an alien resulting in death and one count of transporting an alien within the United States for private financial gain and resulting in death. The court held that the evidence was sufficient to support defendant's conviction where he acted in furtherance of the victim's unlawful presence in the country, he acted for the purpose of financial gain, the victim being struck by a vessel was reasonably foreseeable where she swam across a high traffic ship channel in the dark of night, and his conduct was the but-for cause of her death. The court also held that the district court did not abuse its discretion by applying sentencing enhancements under USSG 2L1.1(b)(6) for creating a substantial risk of death or serious bodily harm and USSG 2L1.1(b)(7) for the resulting death. View "United States v. Ruiz-Hernandez" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of habeas relief to petitioner, who was convicted of the first degree murder of her young children. The court held that petitioner did not meet her burden to prove that the State used its peremptory strikes with the intent to discriminate against women and thus she failed to show that her attorney's representation was prejudicial when he did not object to the State's use of its peremptory strikes. The court also held that petitioner failed to prove that she was insane by a preponderance of the evidence and thus the state court's decision was not an objectively unreasonable application of law. View "Hebert v. Rogers" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law