Articles Posted in U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals

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This case stemmed from a suit filed by plaintiffs against the Water District to enjoin the Water District from pumping polluted canal water into Lake Okeechobee. The Tribe joined the suit on plaintiffs' side. The Tribe subsequently appealed the district court's denial of its motion for attorneys' fees. The court affirmed the district court's finding that the Tribe was not a "prevailing party" because, although the district court had ruled in its favor, the decision was overturned on appeal. View "Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of FL, et al. v. South Florida Water Mgmt., et al." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff's petition for rehearing was granted in part and denied in part. The court vacated and withdrew the previous opinion in this case and substituted the following opinion. At issue was whether an employer, who denied liability for nonpayment for overtime work, must pay attorney's fees and costs pursuant to 29 U.S.C. 216(b) of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), if the employer tendered the full amount of overtime pay claimed by an employee, and moved to dismiss on mootness grounds where the employee conceded that "the claim for overtime should be dismissed as moot." The court concluded that, under such circumstances, the dismissal of the employee's complaint, without an award of attorney's fees, was not erroneous to section 216(b) because the district court did not award judgment to the employee as the prevailing party. View "Dionne v. Floormasters Enterprises, Inc." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff sued his former employer for unpaid overtime and back wages pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA), 29 U.S.C. 201 et seq., its implementing regulations, and Florida law for unpaid overtime and back wages. Plaintiff subsequently appealed the grant of summary judgment to the employer on plaintiff's FLSA claim and dismissal of his state law claim without prejudice, contending that material issues of fact precluded judgment and, alternatively, that, had the district court not limited his discovery as it did, he would have uncovered evidence that would have created material issues of fact. Plaintiff also appealed the district court's sanctions order against his attorney. Having found no error in the district court's discovery decisions, imposition of sanctions, or its order granting summary judgment in favor of the employer, the court affirmed the judgment of the district court. View "Josendis v. Wall to Wall Residence Repairs, Inc." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff joined a suit alleging violations of state and federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), 18 U.S.C. 1961-68, laws against defendants. EMI Resorts and DMK appealed the district court's entry of an agreed order appointing a receiver-like "monitor" to oversee defendants' financial and business assets. The court held that because defendants failed to demonstrate facts sufficient to nullify their consent to the district court's appointment of the "monitor" and to its waiver of jurisdictional objections, the court declined to vacate the district court's order.

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The United States appealed an award of attorney's fees and costs under the Hyde Amendment, Pub. L. No. 105-119, section 617, 111 Stat. 2440, 2519, and two attorneys, Sean Cronin and Andrea Hoffman, appeal public reprimands entered against them based on their work as Assistant United States Attorneys in an underlying criminal action marked by hard adversarial tactics. The court held that the district court abused its discretion when it imposed sanctions against the United States for a prosecution that was objectively reasonable, and the district court violated the constitutional right to due process of the two lead prosecutors, when it denied them notice of any charges of misconduct and an opportunity to be heard. Therefore, the court vacated the award of attorney's fees and costs against the United States and the public reprimand of Cronin and Hoffman, but the court denied the request of Cronin and Hoffman that the court reassign the case to a different district judge at this stage.

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The estate sued the church for wrongful death, alleging that its members deprived decedent of his psychiatric medication, and that while in a mentally deteriorated state caused by the abrupt denial of his prescription, he shot and killed himself. A state court judge ordered the estate's attorney to withdraw, based on settlement of prior state litigation against the church that allegedly prohibited the attorney from participating in any adversarial proceeding against the church. After a state appeals court affirmed, the attorney moved to void the settlement. The motion was denied. Faced with contempt in state court, the attorney filed an involuntary motion to withdraw. A petition to the state supreme court remains pending. The federal district court denied the motion and ultimately enjoined the trial court from imposing sanctions, pursuant to the All Writs Act, 28 U.S.C. 1651(a). The Eleventh Circuit vacated, holding that, although the court was understandably concerned about the estate's ability to retain counsel, the injunction was not "necessary in aid of its jurisdiction," 28 U.S.C. 2283, and was issued in violation of the Anti-Injunction Act.