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Tulane Law hosts 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals March 7

March 02, 2017 6:13 AM

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals holds its annual sitting at Tulane University Law School March 7.

A panel of Judges James L. Dennis, Jacques L. Wiener Jr. (L ’61) and Catharina Haynes is scheduled to hear arguments in three cases starting at 9 a.m. in the Wendell H. Gauthier Appellate Moot Court Room 110 of Tulane’s John Giffen Weinmann Hall, 6329 Freret St. in New Orleans.

The session is open to the public, but certain rules apply:

— Seating is first-come, first-served. The classroom will open at 8:15 a.m., and entry/exit will be allowed only between cases. Arguments in the first two cases are expected to last 40 minutes each; in the third case, the court has allotted 30 minutes per side.

— No cell phones, cameras, book bags, recording devices, etc., will be allowed in the classroom during the sitting. Students are advised to leave these items in their lockers.

The cases:

Shavonda Bailey v. Nathan Preston, No. 16-50391

The family of Pierre Abernathy sued the San Antonio Police Department for civil rights violations when the 30-year-old man stopped breathing and died after being Tasered and beaten during a 2011 traffic stop. The family argues that officers used excessive force in violation of the Fourth Amendment, but the police counter that he was resisting, appeared to be intoxicated and posed a threat that justified force. The district court dismissed the suit on summary judgment, finding that the officers had qualified immunity: while the beating was “arguably excessive,” the court said, police conduct was not objectively unreasonable considering all the circumstances. The family is appealing.

C.G. v. Waller Independent School District, No. 16-20439    

The parents of an 8-year-old child with autism sued a public school district, claiming that it didn’t provide her with an appropriate education as required by the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and that it illegally discriminated against her based on her disability. The parents say the type of classroom and teaching methods used caused the girl to regress, and they moved her to a private school.Under the IDEA, parents can get reimbursed for private schooling if the public schools can’t or don’t provide an appropriate education. School officials counter that they properly monitored the girl’s progress and that she responded well under the school’s plan for her. An administrative hearing officer and a U.S. District Court ruled for the district. The parents want their suit reinstated.

BC Ranch II v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, No. 16-60068 (cons. w/ No. 16-60069)

This appeal from U.S. Tax Court involves a penalty assessed by the Internal Revenue Service against Bosque County Ranch, a real estate developer. The ranch sold $350,000 partnerships in a sprawling land area for luxury second homes, with each agreement including a five-acre homestead lot. The developer donated a conservation easement to a charitable organization to protect the property’s habitat, watershed, forest, and scenery and then claimed a charitable contribution tax deduction. But the IRS disallowed the deduction and said a penalty applied for misstating the easement’s value. The Tax Court upheld the penalty, saying that the easement didn’t qualify for a deduction and that the partnership sales actually were disguised property sales that were taxable. The ranch is appealing.