Monday, September 25, 2017

Kevin Newsom's first published opinion

Eleventh Circuit Judge Kevin Newsom penned his first published opinion, and it looks like the 11th added another interesting writer.  From the opening paragraph:

This is a tax case. Fear not, keep reading. In determining whether the IRS properly denied a taxpayer’s claimed deduction on his 2011 return, we must decide two important and (as it turns out) interesting questions. First up: Was the money that a homosexual man paid to father children through in vitro fertilization—and in particular, to identify, retain, compensate, and care for the women who served as an egg donor and a gestational surrogate—spent “for the purpose of affecting” his body’s reproductive “function” within the meaning of I.R.C. § 213? And second: In answering the statutory question “no,” and thus in disallowing the taxpayer’s deduction of his IVF-related expenses, did the IRS violate his right to equal protection of the laws either by infringing a “fundamental right” or by engaging in unconstitutional discrimination? We hold that the costs of the IVF-related procedures at issue were not paid for the purpose of affecting the taxpayer’s own reproductive function—and therefore are not deductible—and that the IRS did not violate the Constitution in disallowing the deduction. 

Friday, September 22, 2017

JNC accepting applications for federal judge

The JNC is now accepting applications for federal judge.  Here is the letter explaining the procedure.  There are 5 vacancies, and the JNC will be sending up 10 names.  These are all openings for Ft. Lauderdale, West Palm, and Ft. Pierce.  None of the openings are for Miami.  The applications are due October 12 and interviews will be November 28 and 29.  Here is the application form.

(Also, applications are due today for magistrate judge).

More on the U.S. Attorney slot below.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Ariana Fajardo Orshan is new front runner for U.S. Attorney

Ariana Fajardo Orshan is the new front runner for U.S. Attorney, according to Marc Caputo. She is a judge in the family division, went to FIU for undergrad, and Nova for law school.  From Caputo's article:
A Miami family court judge is emerging as a new favorite to become the next U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida, a post of keen interest to President Donald Trump because its jurisdiction includes his self-styled winter White House, Mar-a-Lago.

Circuit Judge Ariana Fajardo Orshan in recent days has risen to the top of a crowded pack of potential nominees and has the backing of Sen. Marco Rubio and Gov. Rick Scott, one of Trump’s most loyal supporters. Scott appointed her to the bench in Florida’s Eleventh Circuit Court in 2012 before she was reelected without opposition in 2014.

“Governor Scott was glad to appoint Judge Ariana Fajardo Orshan to the Eleventh Judicial Circuit Court in 2012," said Scott spokesman John Tupps in an email to POLITICO Florida. "The Governor believes that Judge Fajardo Orshan has served the families of South Florida faithfully during her time on the bench.”

Fajardo Orshan, who gave POLITICO a “no comment” when called about the buzz over her possible nomination, also has the support of Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta, a fellow Miami Republican who served as the top prosecutor in the South Florida district under President George W. Bush, according to sources familiar with the nominating process. Acosta was also dean of Florida International University’s law school, where Fajardo Orshan is an adjunct professor.

11th Circuit asks for help from Texas

This must not have been easy.  The 11th Circuit has asked for some help from the Texas Supreme Court.  Favorite of Twitter, Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Willett: Get Ready!

This appeal arises from an allegedly defective surgical mesh implant. The question to be answered concerns whether under the Texas “discovery rule” a claim accrues for  purposes of starting the applicable statute of limitations period when a plaintiff knows, or has reason to know, that there is a connection between her injury and the defendant’s product or whether instead accrual (and the corresponding start of the limitations period) occurs only when the plaintiff also has reason to know that the manufacturer acted wrongfully or negligently in its manufacture of the product.
The District Court concluded that the former interpretation of Texas law was correct, and therefore granted summary judgment in favor of Mentor Worldwide LCC, the Appellee in this case. The Appellant, Ms. Ann Bergin—a resident of Texas—argues that accrual requires discovery of both the injury and its negligent cause. Thus, she avers, the District Court erred in its application of Texas law. To resolve this appeal, we must decide which of the above positions is correct, but that answer depends on an unresolved question of Texas law. We therefore certify this question of law, based on the factual background recited below, to the Supreme Court of Texas and respectfully request its guidance.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Irma update

Although the Federal Courthouses are open in the District (except for Key West), you should check in with the courtroom deputy if you have a matter scheduled this week. Apparently, some of the individual courtrooms in the Ferguson building are still without power, and in those courtrooms, matters are being rescheduled. 

I am still without power, wifi, etc., as well, so blogging will be a little slow for now.