Justia U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Business Law
Encompass Off Solutions, Inc. v. Louisiana Health Service & Indemnity Co.
Encompass filed suit against Blue Cross for violations of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), breach of contract, defamation, and tortious interference with business relations. After Blue Cross largely prevailed at trial, the district court granted a new trial because of error in the jury charge. At the second trial, Encompass prevailed on all claims.The Fifth Circuit held that charging the jury with an incorrect standard of liability supported granting a new trial, and thus the district court did not abuse its discretion by granting Encompass a new trial on the breach of contract claims. The court also held that the district court did not abuse its discretion by granting a new trial on the tort claims considering the interdependence of the tort and contract issues. Finally, the court held that the application of contra non valentem was not wrong as a matter of law, and Blue Cross abused its discretion by arbitrarily denying Encompass's claims for covered services under ERISA. View "Encompass Off Solutions, Inc. v. Louisiana Health Service & Indemnity Co." on Justia Law
Moss v. Princip
The parties entered into an overlapping series of agreements regarding management and revenue of a YouTube channel -- YouTube.com/VideoGames, featuring reviews of video games and digital recordings of players' screens. Plaintiffs filed suit against defendants, alleging various claims stemming from the agreements. The Fifth Circuit held that the district court had subject-matter jurisdiction to try the case and did not err in dismissing a nondiverse partnership as dispensable, nor err in its entry of judgment upon the jury's verdict. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment and remanded to the district court for the sole purpose of fashioning any appropriate protective measures to prevent duplicative litigation. View "Moss v. Princip" on Justia Law
Claimant ID 100262194 v. BP Exploration & Production, Inc.
After the Settlement Agreement Appeal Panel affirmed the Claim Administrator's classification of the Arcadia Facility as a "Failed Business," Graphic Packaging sought and was denied discretionary review from the district court. The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of discretionary review, holding that the Appeals Panel did not misapply the Settlement Agreement. Even if it did, Graphic Packaging merely disputed the correctness of a discretionary administrative decision in the facts of a single claimant's case. The court rejected Graphic Packaging's remaining claim that the decision merits review because it contradicts a previous Appeals Panel decision. View "Claimant ID 100262194 v. BP Exploration & Production, Inc." on Justia Law
JCB, Inc. v. Horsburgh & Scott Co.
The Fifth Circuit certified two questions regarding the "unpaid commission due" under the Texas Sales Representative Act to the Supreme Court of Texas: (1) What timing standard should courts use to determine the existence and amount of any "unpaid commissions due" under the treble damages provision of TEX. BUS. & COM. CODE 54.004(1)? (2) May a plaintiff recover reasonable attorney's fees and costs under TEX. BUS. & COM. CODE 54.004(2), if the plaintiff does not receive a treble damages award under TEX. BUS. & COM. CODE 54.004(1), and under what conditions? View "JCB, Inc. v. Horsburgh & Scott Co." on Justia Law
Posted in: Business Law
Dunster Live, LLC v. LoneStar Logos Management Co.
Under the Defend Trade Secrets Act, a defendant is not eligible for fees when the plaintiff obtains a dismissal without prejudice because such a dismissal does not establish the winner of the dispute. The Fifth Circuit held that taking the lead early in the lawsuit did not make defendants eligible for fees, nor did the trial court's postponement of the litigation when it allowed plaintiff to dismiss the federal suit without prejudice. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's denial of fees. View "Dunster Live, LLC v. LoneStar Logos Management Co." on Justia Law
RPD Holdings, LLC v. Tech Pharmacy Services
This appeal stemmed from RPD's purchase of a patent license from multiple debtors in bankruptcy sales of their estates. Tech Pharm alleged that RPD did not have rights under the license to Tech Pharm's patented invention. The bankruptcy court held that RPD did not have rights and the district court agreed.The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's judgment and held that the patent license was a rejected executory contract and could not have been transferred by the bankruptcy sales in question. In this case, because the license agreement was an executory contract deemed rejected by operation of law, RPD could not and did not acquire the license from any of the Grapevine, Western Pennsylvania, and Waco estates—and no bankruptcy court order held otherwise. Finally, the court held that the bankruptcy court did not exceed its authority in addressing RPD's rights through purchase of the OnSite machines, and did not err in reading the license agreement to require that third parties operate OnSite machines in the same locations where they were placed at the time of sale. View "RPD Holdings, LLC v. Tech Pharmacy Services" on Justia Law
IberiaBank v. Broussard
IberiaBank filed suit against defendant in state court under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), seeking a declaratory judgment that IberiaBank was not required to pay defendant, a former employee, his success bonus. After the parties agreed to close arbitration and pursue claims in federal court, the district court granted summary judgment on some claims and, at a bench trial, a magistrate judge resolved the remaining claims. Both parties appealed.The Fifth Circuit held that the trial court did not clearly err by concluding that defendant breached the Change-in-Control Severance Agreement; that IberiaBank did not breach its employment agreement with defendant; and that defendant violated the CFAA because there was sufficient evidence to support the trial court's finding that defendant lacked authorization to delete IberiaBank files. The court declined to resolve whether there was a Louisiana Unfair Trade Practices Act violation in this case and remanded for the trial court to consider the claim. The court held that the district court correctly held that IberiaBank's litigation behavior did not demonstrate actual malice. Finally, the court affirmed the rulings on attorneys' fees. View "IberiaBank v. Broussard" on Justia Law
Brand Services, LLC. v. Irex Corp.
Brand Services appealed the district court's grant of summary judgment for Irex on Brand Services's Louisiana Uniform Trade Secrets Act (LUTSA) claim and its common law conversion claim. The Fifth Circuit affirmed as to the common law conversion claim based on trade secrets.The court held that LUTSA preempts a common-law claim for conversion of trade secrets, but does not preempt a common-law conversion claim for confidential information that is not a trade secret. In this case, the court reversed as to the LUTSA claim and Brand Services's common law claim for conversion of allegedly non-trade secret information outside the definition of a trade secret without reaching the merits of that claim. The court remanded for further proceedings. View "Brand Services, LLC. v. Irex Corp." on Justia Law
Posted in: Business Law
IAS Service Group, LLC v. Jim Buckley & Assoc.
IAS filed suit against defendant and his company, alleging claims of fraud, fraudulent inducement, fraud by nondisclosure, and breach of contract. Defendant filed a counter suit for breach of his employment contract with IAS. The Fifth Circuit reversed the dismissal of IAS's fraudulent inducement claim where the district court's assessment that there was no fraud did not appear to have been based on any assessment of the evidence presented at trial. The court affirmed the judgment in favor of defendants on IAS's breach of contract claim where the district court's finding that IAS did not suffer any damages as a result of any breach of the asset purchase agreement was plausible in light of the record as a whole. Finally, the court vacated the severance pay award in favor of defendant because, even assuming that defendant was terminated for reasons other than cause, he failed to satisfy the second condition precedent to his receipt of severance pay: execution of the required release and waiver. The panel remanded for further proceedings. View "IAS Service Group, LLC v. Jim Buckley & Assoc." on Justia Law
Autobahn Imports, L.P. v. Jaguar Land Rover North America
This appeal stemmed from a dispute between Jaguar and Autobahn concerning chargebacks of around $300,000 in incentive payments the distributor had made to the dealer. The Board of the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles declared the chargebacks invalid, and Jaguar exercised its statutory right of review in the state appellate court. During the pending of the appeal, Autobahn filed suit for damages based on the Board's findings, claiming violations of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (DTPA) and breach of contract. The Fifth Circuit reversed the district court's grant of summary judgment for Autobahn and remanded, holding that Autobahn's antecedent failure to exhaust divested the district court of power to decide the claim when it did. View "Autobahn Imports, L.P. v. Jaguar Land Rover North America" on Justia Law