Justia U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Civil Procedure
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Plaintiffs, an abortion clinic and two of its doctors, brought a cumulative-effects challenge to Louisiana's laws regulating abortion, arguing that the provisions taken as a whole were unconstitutional, even if the individual provisions were not. The district court denied Louisiana's motion to dismiss, but certified its order for interlocutory appeal under 28 U.S.C. 1292(b). The district court then rescinded its certification so that plaintiffs could amend their complaint. The district court again denied Louisiana's motion to dismiss. Louisiana subsequently petitioned the Fifth Circuit for mandamus relief. Although the district court's failure to consider the state's jurisdictional challenges and the inadequacy of a later appeal support issuance of the writ, the court nonetheless exercised its discretion not to issue it at this time. In this case, it was not clear from the district court's order how it would resolve the state's jurisdictional challenge, and much of the state's argument in its mandamus petition went beyond jurisdiction. Therefore, the court elected to allow the district court to consider the state's jurisdictional challenges in the first instance. View "In re: Rebekah Gee" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit dismissed plaintiff's appeal of two district court orders based on lack of jurisdiction. The first order requires that plaintiff pay costs under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(d), and the second administratively closes the case pending such payment. The court held that these orders were not final judgments, and thus did not fall within any exception to the final judgment rule and mandamus relief was inappropriate. View "Sammons v. Economou" on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Procedure
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The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of an action, seeking to compel compliance with the terms of the parties' retail installment contract, based on lack of personal jurisdiction. The court held that Conn failed to establish a prima facie case that the district court had personal jurisdiction over defendant where he entered into the retail installment contract with Conn at its Tennessee store, the contract provided that it would be governed by Tennessee and federal law, and the arbitration clause would be governed by the Federal Arbitration Act. Therefore, other than defendant entered into a contract with a Texas entity, there was no evidence in the record that defendant engaged with the Texas forum. Furthermore, Conn has not demonstrated any evidence that defendant purposefully availed himself of the Texas forum. View "Conn Appliances, Inc. v. Williams" on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Procedure
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After Double Eagle filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, it filed suit against MarkWest and Ohio Gathering on a contract claim in Louisiana federal court. Double Eagle then assigned its claim against defendants to one of its creditors. The Fifth Circuit vacated the district court's judgment and held that the district court erred by failing to apply the time-of-filing rule to 28 U.S.C. 1334(b) in this lawsuit that was related to a bankruptcy when filed, but then the bankruptcy connection was later dissolved. The court explained that this longstanding rule promoted efficiency and thus it would be wasteful if post-filing changes in the facts determining jurisdiction required dismissal of a case to which the parties and court had already devoted resources. In this case, the related-to-bankruptcy jurisdiction that existed at the outset of this case never went away. The court also held that failing to focus on the time of filing also infected the district court’s personal jurisdiction analysis, and the section 1334(b) jurisdiction that existed when this case was filed thus means there is both subject matter and personal jurisdiction. The court rejected defendants' remaining claims and remanded for further proceedings. View "Double Eagle Energy Services, LLC v. MarkWest Utica EMG, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of JMPC's motion to compel certain post-judgment discovery. The court held that, although the district court's reliance on the June 2011 date as relevant to DTC's knowledge of any potential claims by JPMC was clearly erroneous, the error was harmless. The court also held that the district court did not abuse its discretion by tying discovery to a time period associated with the Cathay agreement; the district court did not abuse its discretion by limiting discovery to the 2012 breach and the amount of the judgment specifically tied to that one breach; and the district court's proportionality determination was reasonable. View "JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A. v. Datatreasury Corp." on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed suit challenging Mississippi Senate Bill 2162, claiming that it violated the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause and the equal protection component of the state constitution. The district court affirmed the magistrate judge's grant in part of plaintiffs' motion to enforce subpoenas on eight state legislators, ordering them to produce a privilege log and any relevant information previously shared with third parties. The Fifth Circuit held that, to the extent the order required the Legislators to comply with Request 3 in the subpoenas issued by the JMAA plaintiffs, the district court abused its discretion in ordering the Legislators to comply with a production order unrelated to those plaintiffs' claims. The court also held that, because the individual plaintiffs were without standing to pursue the equal protection claim, the district court lacked jurisdiction to enforce their subpoenas. Accordingly, the court vacated and remanded with instructions to dismiss without prejudice, for want of jurisdiction, the equal protection claim of the intervenors' complaint. View "Stallworth v. Bryant" on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Procedure
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This case arose from a foreign judgment in a Moroccan court levying over $100 million against plaintiff and his business partner. The Fifth Circuit held that an interim change in the Texas Recognition Act does not violate the state's constitutional ban on retroactive laws. Therefore, the retroactive law did not abrogate defendant's ability to seek recognition of the Moroccan judgment. Rather, it just gives a district court the ability to deny recognition if it finds the judgment was obtained in proceedings that were incompatible with the requirements of due process. The court also held that the district court properly followed this court's 2015 mandate and properly applied the new law. Therefore, the district court properly determined that plaintiff was denied due process in Morocco and thus had, and properly exercised, its discretion to deny recognition to the Moroccan judgment. View "DeJoria v. Maghreb Petroleum Exploration, SA" on Justia Law

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This case arose from a 2008 state court suit by plaintiff, alleging that he contracted mesothelioma from asbestos while working at a NASA facility in Louisiana. The MDL court subsequently granted summary judgment to several defendants and remanded. In 2016, plaintiff moved to voluntarily dismiss the four remaining defendants and the district court dismissed one defendant with prejudice and the other three without specifying either way. Plaintiff subsequently appealed, seeking review of the MDL court's summary judgment grants and other orders. The Fifth Circuit dismissed the appeal for lack of jurisdiction. In the present appeal, plaintiff appealed the district court's judgment directing entry of a final judgment with prejudice and against plaintiffs but only to the extent any claims might still exist and are not time barred. The court dismissed the appeal for lack of jurisdiction, holding that the Federal Rule 54(b) judgment did not retroactively transform the prior without-prejudice dismissals into with-prejudice dismissals. View "Williams v. Taylor Seidenbach, Inc." on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Procedure
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The Fifth Circuit joined its sister circuits in allowing Blue Cross to remove to federal court under the federal officer removal statute, 28 U.S.C. 1442, on the ground that it was sued here in its capacity as an administrator of health care benefits for federal employees. In this case, the parties agreed that Blue Cross satisfied the first condition of removal by being a "person" under the federal officer removal statute. The court also held that Blue Cross acted under the direction of OPM; a causal nexus existed between Blue Cross's actions under color of federal office and plaintiff's claims, because Blue Cross has shown that it was prevented by federal directive from paying St. Charles directly; and Blue Cross had a colorable federal defense to St. Charles' claim. Therefore, Blue Cross' preemption defense was non-frivolous and sufficient for purposes of the federal officer removal statute. The court reversed the district court's remand to state court and the district court's award of attorney's fees. View "St. Charles Surgical Hospital, LLC v. LA Health Service & Indemnity Co." on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Procedure
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After the Secretary of Labor issued Wynnewood Refining multiple citations alleging safety violations at its Oklahoma refinery, Wynnewood contested the citations. The Commission modified five violations by recharacterizing them as less severe than the Secretary alleged. The Secretary appealed to the Tenth Circuit and Wynnewood appealed to the Fifth Circuit. When, as in this case, none of the petitions was filed within ten days of the challenged agency decision, the Commission shall file the record in the court in which proceedings with respect to the order were first instituted. Once the agency properly files the record where a petition for review was first filed, all courts other than the court in which the record was filed under 28 U.S.C. 2112, shall transfer those proceedings to the court in which the record was so filed. In this case, the Tenth Circuit appeal was filed first and thus the court granted the Secretary's motion to transfer the appeal to the Tenth Circuit. View "Wynnewood Refining Co., LLC v. Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission" on Justia Law