A Roundup of Recent Federal Court Decisions

Please enjoy the latest edition of Short Circuit, a weekly feature from the Institute for Justice.

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  • Allugation: In the middle of the 2000s Jaysh al-Mahdi, a terrorist group in Iraq controlled the Ministry of Health. They used the Ministry of Health as a platform for terrorist activities. The group was supported by U.S. medical supply companies and manufacturing businesses that have U.S. connections, which provided kickbacks for the lucrative country business opportunities. Jaysh al-Mahdi’s terrorist acts that were partly funded through kickbacks are suing the companies in accordance with the Anti-Terrorism Act. D.C. Circuit: If that is true, then it must be very bad. The Ministry of Health Headquarters was allegedly adorned with “Death To America” signs. This is the end of the story.
  • Woman attending her boyfriend’s plea hearing (attempted murder of the mailman) exclaims “piece of shit!” She leaves the courtroom. She leaves the courtroom after being called to the bench by the judge. After a hearing lasting two minutes, she is convicted of criminal contempt and sentenced to ten consecutive days in prison. She is eventually kept in a 13-day detention because of “an error.” Fourth Circuit: It is not clear that the woman had committed the crime necessary to warrant a conviction for contempt. Overturned. Also, postpone these hearings.
  • The Medicare administrator contractor concluded that the Medicare service provider for nursing home received an excess of $8.3 million in reimbursements. He then begins to recoup payments. After losing, the service provider requests a redetermination by the administrative contractor. It then seeks review by an independent contractor, and it loses. The next step is to seek review from an ALJ. It finally takes the next step, seeking review by Medicare Appeals Council. The company wins and sues HHS to recover the funds. District Court: This court has no jurisdiction. The grievance you have about not being repaid by the agency is an independent action which hasn’t been administratively exhausted. Fifth Circuit: No, it’s a continuation of the same agency action—and the administrative contractor’s sneaky, eleventh-hour attempt to drag the case back into administrative hell was ultra vires.
  • Man sent back to prison for being drunk at his plea hearing. Were Crawford County, Mich. jail officials who saw his delirium tremens symptoms—hallucinations, agitation, and disorientation brought on by alcohol withdrawal—deliberately indifferent for not seeking medical treatment until it was too late? Sixth Circuit: The jury may think so. Qualification immunity does not apply; however, qualified immunity may be granted.
  • Are you asking whether the president is allowed to demand federal contractors use vaccinated employees? Sixth Circuit: Yep. Sixth Circuit: Yep.
  • Michigan man, no. I wasn’t drunk at all. My little girl, who was in tears and fear of being separated from me, was an innocent bystander. Several police officers were wrong. You can sue police officers that arrested you for disorderly conduct. Sixth Circuit: No.
  • Fourth Amendment cases have a simple rule: drivers always win. In this Eighth Circuit case, police claimed to have smelled burning marijuana through their patrol cars’ back windows while they were 100m behind the suspect’s car in windy conditions. Although it may sound unlikely considering the fact that the suspect’s vehicle contained only one gram of marijuana, Desert Snow is a training company that helps other police officers civilly forfeit all of their property. The guy was convicted of felony in possession.
  • Allegiance: A motorist who was arrested on suspicion of DUI turned out to possess a prescription for the drug. The motorist dies from lack of medication and mental crisis. He also fought Willcox, Ariz. prison officers. Ninth Circuit: He was granted qualified immunity to punch, tap, or pin him until he was controlled. After he is restrained, there’s no qualified immunity to tasing or choking him. Ninth Circuit: What’s the video?
  • A Washington woman visits a federally-qualified community health centre for her regular injections of Depo Provera. Oops! She gets the flu shot. They explain to her their woesie-doodle, and recommend she have a test for pregnancy. Later, she becomes pregnant and gives birth to a child with epilepsy and bilateral peisylvian polmicrogyria. This is a brain defect that can cause neurological delays. The Federal Tort Claims Act allows her to bring a “wrongful delivery” claim. Her partner and child both receive $10 mil each in damages. Ninth Circuit. We will ask the Washington Supreme Court for clarification on whether a claim of wrongful birth can be made if there is no cause to believe that there was a defect in birth. We are also—INEXPLICABLY!—going to use a “(simplified)” parenthetical instead of @SCOTUSPlaces now-standard “(cleaned up)” parenthetical.
  • A group of RV owners bought 50-year memberships at an RV park located on the shores of Lake Chelan in Washington decades ago. It was only a 25-year contract. The RV park owners can they stay? Ninth Circuit: Well, it’s complicated—this is American Indian land currently held in (disputed) trust by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and resolving the question requires our delving into 19th century land ownership, 20th century executive orders and treaties, and 21st century estate statutes. Short answer: RV owners will need to look for somewhere to go on vacation.
  • It is acceptable for a district judge to give a more severe sentence to a defendant who has pleaded guilty but not reached a plea deal. Tenth Circuit: Decently not cool. More importantly, it is inconsistent with the 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a) and hence procedurally unreasonable. Remanded to the Court for sentencing.
  • Allegation. She learned that one of her high school seniors had been chosen to join a university dance team in Overland Park (Kansas). The dance coach text her sadness to a coworker (cleaned up). “It really makes my stomach hurt. Bc she’s f*****g black. It’s horrible. Principal fires coach but coach encourages dancers to not be kind to each other. (They oblige.) Tenth Circuit. Although there may not be an exact case, it is obvious that discriminating against African-American students because they are of their race has been a problem since the 1950s. The coach is not eligible for qualified immunity.
  • Tenth Circuit. Although some states permit it, the U.S. Constitution and federal law do not require courts to allow defendants to access crime scenes that are under the control of third parties. It is not necessary to change the man’s convictions in relation to, among others, his murder of his ex-girlfriend at her trailer on Oklahoma tribal land (now under control by relatives).
  • Is the State of Florida able to appeal an order of a federal district judge making federal funds available to a federal public defense attorney to appear in state proceedings post-conviction for a death row inmate? (Confused? You are welcome to habeas. Eleventh Circuit: No. Eleventh Circuit: No.
  • Plaintiff: I purchased the land in 1986 from the City of New York, which was contaminated by the City of New York’s 1940s contamination. This means that they are trespassing on my land by leaving behind their contaminants. They owe me damages and I should not have to pay taxes. Eleventh Circuit – Sir, this is An Arby’sYou can file a bankruptcy proceeding. It is impossible to dispute your property taxes in this case, and the time limit for your trespass claims is extremely long. You are correct.
  • In en banc news, it will reconsider the 2018 unpublished decision of the First Circuit granting qualified immunity for Massachusetts prison officials that allegedly placed an inmate in isolation in Massachusetts for 611 days, without any justification nor meaningful review.
  • The Eleventh Circuit is allowing Martin County, Fla. police officers to file a lawsuit against him for jailing and releasing him for 3 days despite the fact that he claimed they were seeking a different David Sosa. (which he suspected because he’d been misidentified as the wanted Sosa).

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