Articles Posted in U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals

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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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Planned Parenthood filed suit against the State for declaratory judgment and to enjoin provisions of 2013 Texas House Bill No. 2 (H.B. 2). H.B. 2 pertains to the regulation of surgical abortions and abortion-inducing drugs. Two provisions of H.B.2 were at issue: first, the requirement that a physician performing or inducing an abortion have admitting privileges at a hospital no more than thirty miles from the location where the abortion is provided; and second, the limitations on the use of abortion-inducing drugs to a protocol authorized by the FDA. The district court held that parts of both provisions were unconstitutional and granted, in substantial part, the requested injunctive relief. A motions panel of this court granted a stay pending appeal, and the Supreme Court upheld the stay. As a preliminary matter, the court concluded that the physician-plaintiffs had standing on behalf of their patients, as well as standing to assert their own rights. The court concluded that the district court applied the wrong legal standards under rational basis review and erred in finding that the admitting-privileges requirement amounts to an undue burden for a large fraction of women that it affects. The court also concluded that the district court erred in holding that H.B. 2's rejection of the off-label protocol from fifty to sixty-three days LMP (last menstrual period) facially imposes an undue burden on the abortion rights of certain women. Accordingly, the court reversed and rendered judgment for the State, except that the admitting privileges requirement may not be enforced against abortion providers who timely applied for admitting privileges under the statute but are awaiting a response from the hospital. View "Planned Parenthood, et al. v. Abbott, et al." 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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Planned Parenthood and others filed suit seeking a permanent injunction against the enforcement of two amendments to the laws of Texas concerning abortions (H.B. 2). Two provisions of H.B.2 were at issue: first, the requirement that a physician performing or inducing an abortion have admitting privileges at a hospital; and second, the limitations on the use of abortion-inducing drugs to a protocol authorized by the FDA. The district court held that parts of the legislation were unconstitutional and granted the requested injunctive relief. The State appealed and filed an emergency motion to stay the district court's permanent injunction. The court concluded that the State has made a strong showing that it was likely to succeed on the merits in regards to the hospital-admitting privileges provision. There was a substantial likelihood that the State would prevail in its argument that Planned Parenthood failed to establish an undue burden on women seeking abortions or that the hospital-admitting-privileges requirement created a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking an abortion. The court also concluded that the State has made a strong showing of likelihood of success on the merits, at least in part, as to its appeal of the injunction pertaining to medication abortions. Accordingly, the court stayed the injunction pertaining to medical abortions with certain exceptions. The State has made an adequate showing as to the other factors considered in determining a stay pending appeal. Accordingly, the court granted the motion for stay pending appeal. View "Planned Parenthood, et al. v. Abbott, et al." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against Chevron alleging that it terminated him in retaliation for exercising his rights under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), 29 U.S.C. 2601. The district court granted summary judgment for Chevron. Under the mixed-motive framework, plaintiff was assumed to have established a prima facie case of FMLA retaliation. At issue was the second step of the framework requiring that Chevron articulate a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for the termination. The court concluded that Chevron failed to meet its burden and establish as a matter of law that it would have fired plaintiff despite its retaliatory motive where, inter alia, Chevron's evidence of plaintiff's history of attendance and performance-related deficiencies was insufficient to establish that it would have fired plaintiff. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded for further proceedings. View "Ion v. Chevron USA, Inc." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against her secondary employer, Keppel Amfels, alleging that it violated the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), 29 U.S.C. 2615(a)(1), by discouraging her primary employer, staffing agency Perma-Temp, from seeking her reinstatement after an FMLA-authorized maternity leave. The court concluded that, because plaintiff failed to create a fact issue that Keppel Amfels's actions went beyond what the relevant FMLA statutory regulatory provisions allowed, her claims failed regardless of whether intent was an element of her claim. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of Keppel Amfels. View "Cuellar v. Keppel Amfels, L.L.C." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against his employer, W-G, under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. 12101 et seq., and the Family Medical Leave Act, 29 U.S.C. 2601 et seq., after W-G terminated his employment. The court affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for W-G on the ADA claim, concluding that plaintiff was "currently engaging" in illegal drug use and was fired "on the basis of such use," and that plaintiff did not qualify for the safe harbor under section 12114(b). The court also affirmed summary judgment in favor of W-G on plaintiff's FMLA claim where no reasonable jury could find that he was denied reinstatement for any reason other than his refusal to continue his FMLA leave period for the express purpose for which it was taken, which was completing his drug dependency treatment. View "Shirley v. Precision Castparts Corp., et al." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff, a former TDCJ employee, appealed the district court's grant of summary judgment for TDCJ on her Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. 12112(a), and Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), 29 U.S.C. 2612(a)(1)(D), claims. Plaintiff's allergic reaction to the use of scented candles and wall plug-ins around her work area was the basis of her ADA claim. The court held that plaintiff did not suffer from a disability within the meaning and coverage of the ADA. Further, there was no dispute that TDCJ did not receive plaintiff's FMLA certification before the deadline. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Milton v. Texas Dept. of Criminal Justice" on Justia Law

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Debtor's ex-wife loaned him two sums of money to support his separate business. At issue was whether the debt was dischargeable in bankruptcy. The court affirmed the judgment of the bankruptcy court and concluded that the debt was nondischargeable under Section 523(a)(15) of the Bankruptcy Code, which left it to the state court to decide whether a property right was properly addressed in divorce proceedings, or as a separate contractual claim. View "Kinkade v. Kinkade" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff sued her siblings based on diversity jurisdiction, alleging that the siblings, co-trustees of the Brunsting Family Living Trust, had breached their fiduciary duties to her, a beneficiary of the trust. At issue was the scope of the probate exception to federal subject matter jurisdiction in the wake of the Supreme Court's decision in Marshall v. Marshall. The court found no evidence that the trust was subject to the ongoing probate proceedings and concluded that the case fell outside the scope of the probate exception. Therefore, the district court erred in dismissing the case for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. View "Curtis v. Brunsting, et al" on Justia Law