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

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In this interlocutory appeal, the Secretary appealed the district court's order granting Odebrecht a preliminary injunction barring the Department's enforcement of a Florida law known as the Cuba Amendment, 2012 Fla. Laws 196, section 2. The Amendment prevented any company that did business in Cuba - or that was in any way related to a company that did business in Cuba - from bidding on state or local public contracts in the State of Florida. The court concluded that Odebrecht has demonstrated a substantial likelihood of success on its claim that the Cuba Amendment violated the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution under principles of conflict preemption; Odebrecht would have suffered irreparable harm absent the injunction; the balance of harms strongly favored the injunction; and the injunction did not disserve the public interest. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Odebrecht Construction, Inc. v. Secretary, FL DOT" on Justia Law

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When Defendant Ralph Merrill sold millions of rounds of ammunition to the United States Army, he concealed that the ammunition was manufactured by a Communist Chinese military company because his contract with the Army prohibited the delivery of that kind of ammunition. Defendant had the ammunition repackaged which made it unsafe for later use. Defendant was convicted for conspiracy to commit false statements, major fraud, and wire fraud against the United States and for major fraud and wire fraud. On appeal, Defendant argued that the district court misinterpreted the regulation that prohibited the Department of Defense from acquiring munitions manufactured by a Communist Chinese military company, that the regulation did not apply to the ammunition he sold, and that he did not defraud the government because he did not misrepresent a material fact when he lied about the origin of the ammunition. Upon review, the Eleventh Circuit concluded Defendant's arguments failed because his interpretation of the applicable statutes was flawed and, "more fundamentally, is irrelevant to his misconduct." Because all of Defendant's arguments failed, the Court affirmed his convictions. View "United States v. Merrill" on Justia Law

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This case involved the competitive bidding for an airport advertising concession. After the completion of the bid process, plaintiff - the second-place finisher - brought this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 1983, alleging a conspiracy to violate plaintiff's equal protection rights during the bid process. The court concluded that plaintiff's conspiracy claim failed against defendants because the underlying proposed equal protection claim failed, lacking the sufficient identifiable group required. Therefore, the court concluded that the facts and inferences in this case pointed overwhelmingly in favor of defendants. Accordingly, the court vacated the district court's post-verdict order denying judgment as a matter of law and remanded with instructions to grant judgment as a matter of law to defendants. View "Corey Airport Services, Inc. v. Clear Channel Outdoor, Inc." on Justia Law

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Defendant, former commissioner in charge of the Environmental Services Department of Jefferson County, was convicted of charges related to federal-funds bribery for accepting cash from an engineering firm that contracted with the county for a sewer reconstruction project. Defendant subsequently appealed, challenging the sufficiency of the evidence supporting his convictions and the reasonableness of his prison term. The court held that the same evidence that supported defendant's federal-funds bribery convictions supported his conspiracy conviction. The court also held that defendant's sentence was procedurally and substantively reasonable. Accordingly, the judgment was affirmed. View "United States v. White" on Justia Law

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Taxpayer was awarded and received a net $5.25 million qui tam payment from the government as a "relator" in two lawsuits settled against a government contractor under the False Claims Act (FCA), 31 U.S.C. 3729-3733. Taxpayer asserted that the award was not taxable. The court held that the Tax Court correctly concluded that the entire qui tam payment award to taxpayer under the FCA was includable in gross income and that taxpayer was liable for the I.R.C. 6662(a) accuracy-related penalty. View "Campbell v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue" on Justia Law

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This consolidated appeal arose from a contract dispute between Douglas Asphalt Company (Douglas) and the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) where GDOT had awarded Douglas two paving contracts to mill and resurface certain stretches of interstate highway. GDOT subsequently retained QORE, Inc., an engineering and materials testing company, to remove asphalt samples from the first project site and conduct tests to determine the samples' lime content. QORE retained, at GDOT's direction, Applied Technical Services, Inc. (ATS), to perform a test that GDOT developed, called an atomic absorption test. QORE and ATS sent the data that those tests produced to GDOT for its analysis and consideration and GDOT concluded from those data that the asphalt that Douglas had laid did not contain enough hydrated lime; GDOT then relied, in part, on those test results to justify its decision to place Douglas in default on both highway contracts. Douglas responded by filing this action against QORE, ATS, and several individual GDOT officials. On appeal, Douglas contended that the district court erred by dismissing its Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), 18 U.S.C. 1961-1968, claims and by granting summary judgment for QORE on its claims for defamation and negligence. ATS maintained that the district court erroneously failed to grant its motions for judgment as a matter of law on both the defamation and negligence claims. The court held that the district court did not err in dismissing Douglas's RICO claim and that QORE and ATS were entitled to judgment as a matter of law on both the defamation and negligence claims. Therefore, the court affirmed in part, reversed in part, vacated the judgment against ATS, and remanded for entry of judgment in favor of ATS. View "Douglas Asphalt Co., et al. v. QORE, Inc., et al." on Justia Law