Take the Fifth: Feb. 11 and 12, 2021 opinion

Designated for publication

  • DM Arbor Court, Ltd. v. City of Houston, 20-20194, appeal from S.D. Tex.
    • Costa, J. (Davis, Southwick, Costa), ripeness
    • Vacating district court’s dismissal of suit on ripeness grounds, and remanding for further proceedings.
    • Plaintiff had brought suit challenging the refusal by the City to grant permits for repairs to apartments that had been damaged by Hurricane Harvey’s flooding. Because the final arbiter of the permits, the City Council, had yet to rule on the permit applications at the time the suit was filed, the district court dismissed the suit for lack of ripeness. The City Council, however, denied the permits while the appeal was pending.
    • The Court held that the final-arbiter requirement is a prudential ripeness analysis, such that a suit could ripen on appeal. “Ordinarily our conclusion that the district court ruled correctly would be the end of the matter. An affirmance would follow. But an idiosyncratic feature of ripeness law requires a different result. … Allowing a case to ripen on appeal is in seeming tension with the venerable rule that ‘the jurisdiction of the [c]ourt depends upon the state of things at the time of the action brought.’ … A case ripening based on post-trial-court developments thus makes more sense when the ripeness problem is rooted in prudential, rather than constitutional, concerns. … [W]e have an obligation to exercise the jurisdiction Article III and Congress grant us when any impediments, such as prudential concerns, have been eliminated.”

Unpublished

  • Singh v. Wilkinson, 19-60734, petition for review of BIA order
    • per curiam (Higginbotham, Jones, Costa), immigration
    • Denying Indian citizen’s petition to review BIA order denying asylum, withholding of removal, and protection under the Convention Against Torture.
  • U.S. v. Prado-Montoya, 20-10554, appeal from N.D. Tex.
    • per curiam (Higginbotham, Jones, Costa), criminal, guilty plea, sentencing
    • Affirming guilty plea conviction for illegal reentry and the upward variance prison term and the three-year supervised release term that followed.
  • Garcia v. City of Amarillo, 20-10780, appeal from N.D. Tex.
    • per curiam (Davis, Southwick, Costa), employment discrimination
    • Affirming summary judgment dismissal of claims of disability discrimination and retaliatory termination.
  • U.S. v. Wells, 20-30540, appeal from E.D. La.
    • per curiam (Higginbotham, Jones, Costa), criminal, compassionate release
    • Affirming denial of motion for compassionate release.
  • Shefeik v. Busby, 20-40335, appeal from S.D. Tex.
    • per curiam (Haynes, Duncan, Engelhardt), qualified immunity
    • Vacating district court’s summary judgment dismissal of excessive force claims on qualified immunity grounds, and remanding for further proceedings.
  • U.S. v. Williams, 20-50325, appeal from W.D. Tex.
    • per curiam (Jolly, Elrod, Graves), criminal, search and seizure
    • Affirming conviction of possession with the intent to distribute 50 grams or more of methamphetamine, rejecting arguments that a police dog jumping into defendant’s car before probable cause was established violated his Fourth Amendment rights, that he did not consent to a forensic download of his cellphone, and that even if he did consent to the cellphone search, the forensic download exceeded the scope of that consent.
  • U.S. v. Cardenas, 20-50642, appeal from W.D. Tex.
    • per curiam (Dennis, Southwick, Engelhardt), criminal, compassionate release
    • Denying motion for compassionate release.
  • U.S. v. Martinez-Rojas, 20-50889, appeal from W.D. Tex.
    • per curiam (Higginbotham, Jones, Costa), criminal, sentencing
    • Granting summary affirmance of within-guidelines sentence of 30 months of imprisonment and three years of supervised release imposed following his guilty plea conviction for illegal reentry after removal.
  • Cargo Transporters, Inc. v. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 21-60095, on petition for writ of mandamus to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
    • per curiam (Willett, Ho, Duncan), mandamus
    • Denying petition for mandamus to agency to publish petition for hair testing for drug use instead urine testing, which was identical to a previous published petition except that it added a point in time for the hair testing. Court held that agency had discretion to treat two petitions as a single petition.