Articles Posted in Civil Procedure

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After Glenn Ford was wrongly convicted of murder and spent 30 years in solitary confinement on death row before being fully exonerated, he filed suit against law enforcement officials alleging suppression of evidence, fabrication of witness statements, withholding of exculpatory evidence, and other violations. The district court denied appellants' Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) motion for being untimely and denied alternative relief under Rule 7(a). The Fifth Circuit held that it did not have jurisdiction to consider this appeal, because the district court's decision on the Rule 12(b)(6) motion was based on timing rather than a substantive legal disposition regarding qualified immunity. Therefore, the court dismissed the appeal based on lack of appellate jurisdiction. View "Armstrong v. Ashley" on Justia Law

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In an action where plaintiff was exposed to asbestos at the Avondale shipyard and eventually contracted mesothelioma, Avondale removed the action to federal court under the federal officer removal statute, 28 U.S.C. 1442(a)(1). The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's remand to state court, holding that the court was bound by the series of cases post-dating the 2011 amendment to section 1442(a)(1) that continue to cite Bartel v. Alcoa S.S. Co., Inc., 805 F.3d 169, 172 (5th Cir. 2015), while drawing a distinction for removal purposes between claims for negligence (not removable) and strict liability (removable) under the causal nexus test. Applying the causal nexus test, the court held that plaintiff's claims were the same failure to warn claims that both Zeringue v. Crane Company, 846 F.3d 785, 793 (5th Cir. 2017), and Legendre v. Huntington Ingalls, Inc., 885 F.3d 398, 400 (5th Cir. 2018), held implicated no federal interests, and thus this case did not meet the causal nexus requirement. The court noted that Bartel should be reconsidered en banc, because the court was out of step with Congress and its sister circuits. View "Latiolais v. Huntington Ingalls, Inc." on Justia Law

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In this mortgage foreclosure case, the district court rejected all but one claim and entered a Federal Rule of Civil Procedure Rule 54(b) judgment allowing an appeal before the final claim was resolved. Thirty days passed without appeal, the district court resolved the final claim and entered final judgment, and then plaintiff appealed the district court's rulings. The Fifth Circuit held that the missed deadline for appealing the Rule 54(b) judgment prevented plaintiff from challenging those rulings in a later appeal from the final judgment. Because plaintiff filed her notice more than thirty days after entry of the Rule 54(d) judgment dismissing the Real Estate Settlement Procedure Acts claims, her appeal of those ruling was untimely. Accordingly, the court dismissed the appeal of the federal claims for lack of jurisdiction and affirmed the judgment in favor of defendants on the state law claim. View "Johnson v. Ocwen Loan Servicing, LLC" on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Procedure

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At issue in this case was whether a jury should hear Xitronix's claim that KLA-Tencor violated the Sherman Act's prohibition of monopolies by obtaining a patent through a fraud on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO). The Fifth Circuit could not conclude that the Federal Circuit's decision to transfer this case to it was plausible, given the Supreme Court's and Congress's decisions to the contrary. The court held that the case belongs in the Federal Circuit because it presented a standalone Walker Process claim and there are no non-patent theories that would divert it to the Fifth Circuit. The court held that, under any reading of Gunn v. Minton, 568 U.S. 251 (2013), the court would deem it implausible that it could decide this appeal. Therefore, the court transferred the case back to the Federal Circuit. View "Xitronix Corp. v. KLA-Tencor Corp." on Justia Law

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The filing of an amended complaint does not revive the plaintiff’s absolute right to dismissal under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(a)(1)(A)(i). The Fifth Circuit vacated the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's case with prejudice after he attempted to dismiss unilaterally without prejudice. In this case, plaintiff filed a state court action against Correct Care and others, alleging constitutional violations and other wrongs inflicted on him while he was in the custody of the Texas Civil Commitment Office. The court held that plaintiff was entitled to dismissal by notice under Rule 41(a)(1)(A)(i) without prejudice and without a court order against all defendants other than McLane. Because McLane filed an answer, the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's claim against him fell under Rule 41(a)(2), which allowed the court to impose conditions on the dismissal. View "Welsh v. Correct Care, LLC" on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Procedure

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In 2005, during Hurricane Katrina, a barge moored by Lafarge hurtled through a floodwall and unleashed catastrophic flooding in the Lower 9th Ward. Richard T. Seymour represented New Orleans residents, but withdrew from the Barge Litigation in 2011. After the Barge Litigation settled several years later, he moved to intervene in order to pursue his fees and expenses. The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's decision as to intervention of right and dismissed Seymour's appeal for lack of jurisdiction as to permissive intervention. The court held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in concluding that Seymour's motion to intervene came too late. The court also held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying permissive intervention because it was also untimely. View "St. Bernard Parish v. Lafarge North America, Inc." on Justia Law

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Neither sending notice by email nor sending it to a general contractor's lawyer satisfies LA. REV. STAT. 2247's unambiguous requirements that (1) notice be sent by registered or certified mail (2) to the general contractor at any place in Louisiana that it maintains an office. In this case, 84 Lumber filed two sworn statements of claim under the Louisiana Public Works Act (LPWA), alleging that Paschen and J & A failed to pay for its work on those projects. The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's judgment and held that 84 Lumber's notice did not comply with the LPWA's notice requirements, and that the evidence established only that the notice was sent but did not establish that it was received. View "84 Lumber Co. v. Continental Casualty Co." on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Procedure

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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

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The Fifth Circuit granted a stay pending appeal by issuing a published opinion, as binding law of the circuit, on August 14, 2018. After the original appellants were defeated in the November 2018 elections, the current appellants moved for voluntary dismissal of the appeal. The clerk entered an order stating that, under Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 42(b), the appeal was dismissed as of January 07, 2019. Appellees then brought an unopposed motion to vacate the court's August 14th opinion. The court denied the motion to vacate the opinion granting the stay and held that the panel majority published the opinion after making certain it was a correct rendition of the law and the facts, including its holding that the district court, on remand, had violated the mandate rule. The court explained that the published opinion granting the stay was this court's last statement on the matter and, like all published opinions, bound the district courts in this circuit. View "ODonnell v. Harris County" on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Procedure

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Henson v. Columbus Bank & Trust Co., which allows a plaintiff to litigate in federal court a claim previously dismissed in state court, was not binding and contravened preexisting full faith a credit precedent. The Fifth Circuit held that res judicata precedent barred plaintiff's workplace discrimination claims after a Georgia state court determined that related claims were time-barred. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's action on res judicata grounds. View "Thompson v. Dallas City Attorney's Office" on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Procedure