US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit Opinions
M.D. v. Abbott
Opinion Date: October 16, 2020
Judge: James C. Ho
Areas of Law: Civil Procedure, Government & Administrative Law
Plaintiffs, a certified class of minor children in the permanent managing conservatorship (PMC) of the Texas Department of Family Protective Services, filed 42 U.S.C. 1983 claims alleging that the Texas foster-care system violated their substantive due process right to be free from an unreasonable risk of harm. The district court issued a wide-ranging permanent injunction imposing sweeping changes on the Texas foster-care system. The Fifth Circuit vacated and remanded the injunction to the district court for modification; the district court made additional modifications to the injunction; and the state appealed again. The Fifth Circuit then instructed the district court to begin implementing, without further changes, the modified injunction with the alterations the court made. On remand, however, the district court expanded the injunction again by enjoining the state from moving any PMC child from their current placement as a result of enforcement of the court's requirement for 24-hour awake-night supervision unless application is made to the court prior to the proposed discharge. The Fifth Circuit reversed and held that it is black-letter law that a district court must comply with a mandate issued by an appellate court. The Fifth Circuit remanded to the district court to begin implementing, without further changes, the modified injunction with the alterations the court has made.
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