Articles Posted in U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals

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In this diversity suit, a landowner sought injunctive and compensatory relief from a telephone company for a trespass and for slandering its title to certain property. The district court granted summary judgment to the telephone company. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded for further proceedings, holding (1) the district court erred in concluding that the telephone company had a constructive license across the property; (2) the district court incorrectly dismissed the landowner's claim for compensatory damages; and (3) summary judgment against the landowner's claims for slander of title and punitive damages was appropriate. View "Marlow, LLC v. BellSouth Telecomms., Inc." on Justia Law

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The Commissioner sought review of a U.S. Tax Court decision favoring Entergy for the taxable years of 1997 and 1998. By reference to a companion case, the Tax Court concluded that Entergy was entitled to a foreign income tax credit for its subsidiary's payment of the United Kingdom's Windfall Tax. At issue on appeal was whether the Windfall Tax constituted a creditable foreign income tax under I.R.C. 901, 26 U.S.C. 901. The court concluded that when judged on its predominant character, the Windfall Tax was based on excess profits - realized income derived from gross receipts less deductions for substantial business expenses incurred in earning those receipts. This satisfied the three-part net gain requirement, as the Tax Court accurately noted. Therefore, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Entergy Corp. v. CIR" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against defendants, Wayne Hagan and James Joubert, alleging that Joubert was negligently excavating on a backhoe and severed plaintiff's underground fiber-optic cable in violation of the Louisiana Damage Prevention Act, LA. REV. STAT. ANN 40:1749,11 et seq., and that Hagan was vicariously liable because Joubert was acting as his agent at the time. At issue was whether the district court erred when it refused to give the jury plaintiff's proposed instruction on trespass. Also at issue was whether the district court erred when it excluded statements made by Hagan's attorney to plaintiff's employee under Federal Rule of Evidence 408; when it refused to certify plaintiff's witness as an expert; and when it held that defendants were entitled to attorneys' fees and costs. The court certified the first issue where the Louisiana Supreme Court had not previously determined what standard of intent was used for trespass to underground utility cables and the issue was determinative of whether plaintiff was entitled to a new trial on its trespass claim. The court held that the statements made by Hagan's attorney to plaintiff's employer could have been excluded on other grounds given that it was inadmissible hearsay against Joubert and therefore, the court declined to remand for a new trial on this ground. The court also held that the district court did not commit a reversible error where plaintiff did not proffer the substance of plaintiff's witness' excluded testimony. Finally, the court deferred addressing the attorneys' fees issue pending the Louisiana Supreme Court's decision on the first issue.