Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit

by
Flat Creek filed suit seeking declaratory and injunctive relief, alleging that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration had unfairly targeted it for compliance reviews and used an unsound methodology in doing so. The district court concluded that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction. The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of the complaint, but held that Flat Creek failed to establish the requisite standing to sue under Article III. In this case, Flat Creek has shown neither concreteness nor imminence. View "Flat Creek Transportation, LLC v. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration" on Justia Law

by
Fresh Results, an American company, filed suit against ASF Holland, a Dutch company, in the Southern District of Florida, alleging that ASF Holland had falsified inspection reports and fraudulently deflated the price of the shipment of blueberries. The Eleventh Circuit vacated the district court's grant of ASF Holland's motion to dismiss the complaint on the ground that the Netherlands was a more convenient forum. The court held that the district court abused its discretion when it dismissed the complaint for forum non conveniens because it failed to consider all relevant public factors for each forum after determining that the private factors for the litigants were not in equipoise. Furthermore, the district court must correct two errors when it reweighs the private factors on remand. First, the district court must reconsider the factor of relative ease of access to sources of proof; and second, the district court was distracted by a red herring when it reasoned that the enforceability of a possible judgment favored dismissal because no treaty exists between the United States and the Netherlands that governs the reciprocal enforcement of judgments. View "Fresh Results, LLC v. ASF Holland, B.V." on Justia Law

by
The Eleventh Circuit dismissed this insurance dispute case, holding that Gerber, as assignee of the insured, did not have standing to bring a declaratory judgment class action against GEICO. In this case, the action did not assert any claims for money damages and there was no substantial likelihood that the insured would suffer a future injury. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded with instructions to dismiss the complaint for lack of standing. View "A&M Gerber Chiropractic LLC v. Geico General Insurance Co." on Justia Law

by
The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment based on its finding that Kroma EU lacked standing to enforce the KROMA trademark. By Lee Tillett, Inc. was the owner and registrant of the mark and had the rights to use the KROMA mark in the United States. Some time after Tillett granted an exclusive license to Kroma EU, defendants (the Kardashian sisters) endorsed a cosmetic line called "Khroma Beauty," that was sold and manufactured by Boldface. The California district court subsequently granted Tillett's motion for a preliminary injunction against Boldface, finding that Tillett had demonstrated a likelihood of success on the trademark infringement claim. On appeal here, the court adopted the position taken by the district courts in this circuit and held that a licensee's right to sue to protect the mark largely depends on the rights granted to the licensee in the licensing agreement. The court held that the licensing agreement at issue did not give Kroma EU sufficient rights in the name to sue under the Lanham Act. In this case, the plain language of the licensing agreement demonstrated that the parties' intent was for Tillett to retain all ownership and enforcement rights; the agreement plainly authorized Tillett to file suit against infringers; and Kroma EU was limited in its available recourse. View "Kroma Makeup EU, LLC v. Boldface Licensing + Branding, Inc." on Justia Law

by
This case arose from plaintiff's petition of the Middle District of Georgia for an order unsealing the grand jury transcripts regarding the 1946 Moore's Ford Lynching in Walton County, Georgia. The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of plaintiff's request to unseal the documents, holding that the facts in this case constituted exceptional circumstances that allowed the district court to employ its inherent authority to disclose grand jury records outside the confines of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 6(e). In this case, the district court did not err in holding that the interest in disclosure outweighed the interest in continued secrecy, especially in light of the historic importance of an event of exceptional historical significance. Therefore, the district court did not abuse its substantial discretion in ordering the release of the grand jury transcripts. View "Pitch v. United States" on Justia Law

by
A limited liability company that made preliminary plans to operate a methadone clinic filed suit against Georgia officials after two Georgia laws temporarily suspended the issuance of new licenses for narcotic-treatment facilities and imposed additional licensing requirements for future facilities. The Eleventh Circuit held that the company's request for declaratory and injunctive relief regarding the temporary moratorium was moot. The court also held that the company failed to establish direct standing and third-party standing to assert the injuries of its prospective clients. Accordingly, the court affirmed the dismissal of the complaint for lack of jurisdiction. View "Aaron Private Clinic Management LLC v. Berry" on Justia Law

by
Plaintiff, on behalf of himself and seven others, filed suit alleging that a Walker County Sheriff's deputy arrested them without a warrant for undisclosed crimes, that they were detained in the county jail, and that they were denied a judicial determination on whether probable cause supported their arrests in violation of the Fourth Amendment. The Fourth Circuit vacated the district court's judgment, holding that it could not identify from the allegations of the complaint, answer, or motion to dismiss, which of the magistrates purportedly denied plaintiffs' Fourth Amendment rights. Therefore, the court remanded for further proceedings. View "Colburn v. Odom" on Justia Law

by
The Eleventh Circuit vacated the district court's dismissal of an action brought by Fastcase against Lawriter under the Declaratory Judgment Act. The court held that the district court erred in dismissing Fastcase's complaint for lack of federal-question jurisdiction. In this case, the district court had jurisdiction over the suit despite the fact that Lawriter had not registered a copyright in the Georgia Regulations. The court also held that the district court erred by concluding that it lacked diversity jurisdiction where Fastcase's potential liability was not too speculative to satisfy the amount-in-controversy requirement and the amount-in-controversy requirement was satisfied. Accordingly, the court remanded for further proceedings. View "Fastcase, Inc. v. Lawriter, LLC" on Justia Law

by
At issue in this case was whether the False Claims Act (FCA) allows a qui tam plaintiff to intervene in criminal forfeiture proceedings when the government chooses to prosecute fraud rather than to intervene in the qui tam plaintiff's action. The Eleventh Circuit held that, even if the FCA could be read to allow intervention, the statutes governing criminal forfeiture specifically barred it, with exceptions that did not apply in this case. The court held that the criminal forfeiture statutes controlled and agreed with the district court's denial of the interested party's motion to intervene. The court held that, because denial was proper, the court no longer had jurisdiction over the appeal. Accordingly, the court dismissed the appeal based on lack of jurisdiction. View "United States v. Couch" on Justia Law

by
Plaintiffs filed suit against state officials in state court, seeking injunctive and declaratory relief entitling them to an enhanced status in the retirement system for Alabama state employees. The state officials removed the action to federal court. The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of immunity from suit to defendants, holding that the officials have either waived or forfeited any immunity from suit and that the court lacked jurisdiction to consider their immunity from liability on interlocutory appeal. View "Green v. Graham" on Justia Law