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BP sought discretionary review of an Appeal Panel's calculation of lost profits owed to appellee under the Deepwater Horizon Economic and Property Damages Class Action Settlement Agreement. The Fifth Circuit vacated the district court's denial of the request, holding that the Appeal Panels were split and this Appeal Panel misapplied the distinction between fixed and variable costs under the Business Economic Loss Formula. Therefore, the district court abused its discretion in failing to correct the significant error. The court remanded for further proceedings. View "BP Exploration & Production, Inc. v. Claimant ID 100094497" on Justia Law

Posted in: Class Action

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The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's decision setting aside CMR's default, grant of summary judgment in CMR's favor, and denial of plaintiff's Rule 59(e) motions for reconsideration. The court held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in setting aside the entry of default and partial default judgment, because the district court did not err when it chose to credit CMR's President's affidavit over plaintiff's evidence that CMR had notice of the lawsuit. The court also held that plaintiff was not entitled to the extraordinary relief that Rule 59(e) provided, because the evidence plaintiff wished to bring forward was already available before final judgment was entered. Finally, the court held that the district court did not err in granting summary judgment on the fraud claim stemming from the 2006 purchase of plaintiff's roof; the claims related to the 2011 repairs; and the negligence, fraud, and detrimental reliance claims surrounding the 2012 repairs. View "Koerner v. CMR Construction & Roofing, LLC" on Justia Law

Posted in: Construction Law

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The Fifth Circuit vacated the district court's summary judgment dismissal of plaintiff's action for negligence against three defendants. The court held that the district court erred by denying the motion to remand this action to state court due to the absence of diversity jurisdiction. In this case, plaintiff stated a claim upon which relief could be granted and it was Alcoa's burden to negate the possibility that PMIC's negligence contributed to plaintiff's injuries. The court held that PMIC was not improperly joined and the parties were not completely diverse. View "Cumpian v. Alcoa World Alumina, LLC" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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Volvo filed suit against defendant for breach of contract after he defaulted on payments under eight separate promissory notes. The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for Volvo, holding that Mississippi Code 15-1-23 did not bar Volvo from bringing deficiency claims on Notes 001–004. The court held that the most reasonable interpretation of section 15-1-23, when applied to the facts of this case, was that the sale of all property securing a note must be complete to trigger the statute of limitations. The court also affirmed the district court's denial of defendant's Rule 59(e) motion to alter or amend the judgment, holding that Mississippi Code 75-9-615(d)(1) and (d)(2), section 75-9-616(a) and (c), and section 75-9-617(a) were not determinative in this case. View "Volvo Financial Services v. Williamson" on Justia Law

Posted in: Contracts

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The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of the SEC's motion for summary judgment, holding that defendant offered securities and committed securities fraud in violation of the Securities and Exchange Act. The court held that interests in defendant's drilling projects qualified as securities. In this case, the district court correctly concluded that defendant's drilling projects distributed power as if they were limited partnerships where the SEC provided unrebutted evidence showing that investors could not use their legal powers. The court also held that the district court correctly found that defendant made material misstatements to investors when he knowingly misrepresented his relationships with major oil companies. View "SEC v. Sethi" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's order dismissing plaintiff's claims under the Fair Housing Act (FHA), challenging a resolution requiring the Mississippi state flag to be flown over city hall and other municipal buildings, based on lack of standing. The court held that plaintiffs, a non-profit organization and various residents of Ocean Springs, lacked Article III standing because exposure to the Mississippi state flag did not constitute an injury sufficient to confer standing for an equal protection claim. Furthermore, plaintiffs' allegations failed to establish statutory standing under the FHA as aggrieved persons because the only act that they alleged -- the City's resolution requiring the Mississippi state flag to be flown over public buildings -- was not a discriminatory housing practice. The court denied the City's motion for sanctions and costs against plaintiffs and their counsel. View "Mississippi Rising Coalition v. City of Ocean Springs" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit affirmed defendant's 50 month sentence after he pleaded guilty of illegal reentry after removal. The court held that, although defendant was correct that the district court erred in scoring three prior convictions, he failed to demonstrate that the error affected his substantial rights. In this case, the district court's statements substantiated that there was no reasonable probability that defendant's sentence would have been different had the district court used the correct guideline range of 21 to 27 months instead of 24 to 30 months. View "United States v. Nino-Carreon" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of plaintiff's motion for preliminary injunction and dismissal of his 42 U.S.C. 1983 complaint with prejudice pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1915A. Plaintiff argued that the composition of the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles violated his Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment rights, seeking declaratory and injunctive relief. The court held that plaintiff failed to allege a violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States, and thus the district court properly dismissed the section 1983 complaint on the merits. The court reasoned that plaintiff's allegations did not reflect the complete lack of process that the court has held may violate the minimal due process protections that exist in the clemency context. View "Garcia v. Jones" on Justia Law

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Reyes-Contreras pleaded guilty of illegal reentry. Because he had been convicted of voluntary manslaughter in Missouri, the district court applied a 16-level USSG 2L1.2(b)(1)(A)(ii) sentencing enhancement for a crime of violence. The Fifth Circuit vacated and remanded, finding that Missouri's manslaughter statute was non-generic. Although the court found that the statute was divisible and could warrant an enhancement under the modified categorical approach, the documents of conviction did not indicate the subsection of conviction. On rehearing, en banc, the Fifth Circuit affirmed the application of the enhancement, overruling its own precedent. Defense counsel acknowledged that the crime was a killing by baseball bat; there was no need to dissect the details of the crime. The statute is divisible. Subdivision (1) is generic manslaughter and formed the basis of Reyes-Contreras’s conviction. It is a crime of violence on which the sentencing enhancement was properly based. Even if the statute were indivisible, Subdivision (2) has as an element the use of force under a proper understanding of Supreme Court precedent, so that the enhancement is legally correct for an independent reason. View "United States v. Reyes-Contreras" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Jackson Municipal Airport Authority (JMAA) currently manages the Jackson-Medgar Wiley Evers International Airport, but control would transfer to a new board under Senate Bill 2162, which was recently passed by the Mississippi Legislature. The new board would be structured differently with nine commissioners, rather than the current five. Although Governor Bryant signed the Bill into law in 2016, it has only nominally taken effect. The FAA does not consider disputed airport transfers if there is pending litigation. JMAA and others sued, challenging S.B. 2162 under the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses, alleging discriminatory purposes. In discovery, Governor Bryant identified Chief of Staff Songy as a person having discoverable knowledge that would tend to support or refute any claim, defense, or element of damages in the case. JMAA moved to compel Songy’s deposition. Governor Bryant sought a protective order, claiming official privilege, which limits depositions. The Fifth Circuit declined to issue a writ of mandamus requested by the Governor. Involuntary depositions of highly-ranked government officials are only allowed in “exceptional circumstances.” A court must consider the status of the deponents, the potential burden on them, and the substantive reasons for taking the depositions; it rare that exceptional circumstances can be shown where the testimony is available from an alternate witness. The court nonetheless noted important aspects of this analysis that the lower court failed to fully consider, including parallel litigation regarding the deposition of legislators. View "In Re: Bryant" on Justia Law