December 6, 2021, opinions

Designated for publication

  • Ibrahim v. Garland, 20-60936, petition for review of BIA order
    • Smith, J. (King, Smith, Haynes), immigration
    • Denying petition by Egyptian citizen (and lawful permanent U.S. resident) for review of BIA order to remove him to Egypt upon his conviction in Louisiana of indecent behavior with juveniles.
    • The Court held that the government committed error in not treating the bond hearing and the removal hearing as separate proceedings, and thereby failing to reintroduce the petitioner’s criminal-court minutes record of his guilty plea during the removal hearing.
    • However, the Court held that any errors were harmless. “Even in the absence of his testimony and his attorney’s statements, the BIA could have taken administrative notice of the relevant facts contained in the criminal-court minutes, which unequivocally show that Ibrahim pleaded guilty of ‘indecent behavior with a juvenile’ under Section 14:81.”
  • Fletcher v. Louisiana DOTD, 21-30069, appeal from M.D. La.
    • Wiener, J. (Wiener, Graves, Ho), sovereign immunity, Americans with Disabilities Act
    • Affirming district court’s dismissal of former DOTD employee’s employment discrimination claim against the DOTD for disability discrimination under the ADA, on holding that Louisiana has not waived its sovereign immunity under the ADA.
    • The Court rejected plaintiff’s argument that the Louisiana state constitution’s waiver of sovereign immunity for suits “for injury to person or property” acted as a waiver of sovereign immunity for his ADA Title I claim. The Court relied on a Louisiana Second Circuit decision that Louisiana had not waived sovereign immunity for ADA claims, and a Louisiana Supreme Court decision that Louisiana had not waived sovereign immunity for FMLA claims, to hold that Louisiana courts “limit the scope of the waiver to traditional contract and tort suits. … Fletcher cannot sweep ADA claims into this limited category of tort waiver.”


  • U.S. v. Rubis, 20-20581, appeal from S.D. Tex.
    • per curiam (King, Costa, Ho), criminal, compassionate release
    • Affirming denial of motion for compassionate release.
  • U.S. v. Duruisseau, 20-30649, appeal from W.D. La.
    • per curiam (Higginbotham, Stewart, Wilson), criminal, sentencing
    • Affirming 100-month sentence on conviction of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and two counts of bank fraud.
  • Collins v. Zolnier, 21-20260, appeal from S.D. Tex.
    • per curiam (Higginbotham, Stewart, Wilson), bankruptcy
    • Reversing district court and affirming bankruptcy court that debt to creditor was dischargeable because the creditor failed to substantiate his damages.
  • Spagnoletti v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, 21-60135, appeal from U.S. Tax Ct.
    • per curiam (Higginbotham, Stewart, Wilson), tax law
    • Affirming Tax Court’s holding in favor of Commissioner on taxpayer’s claim that the IRS had failed to comply with notice-and-hearing requirements of 26 U.S.C. § 6330(a) in collecting more than $1 million in taxes owed by the taxpayer.