Articles Posted in Civil Procedure

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When this court dismisses a case due to failure of one particular jurisdictional element, and the party later cures that jurisdictional defect and brings a new suit, res judicata does not bar the second suit. Plaintiff filed a second suit seeking a judicial declaration of U.S. citizenship under 8 U.S.C. 1503(a). In the appeal from the first suit, the Fifth Circuit held that plaintiff was not within the United States at the time of suit. This jurisdictional failure has been cured in this second suit and therefore the court reversed the dismissal of the second suit on res judicata grounds and remanded for further proceedings. View "Lopez v. Pompeo" on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Procedure

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After plaintiff was injured while unloading cargo from a vessel docked outside Houston, he filed suit against LSM, a foreign corporation that manged the ship. The district court dismissed the complaint for want of personal jurisdiction. The Fifth Circuit held that a defendant's contacts with a forum and the purposefulness of those contacts are distinct—though often overlapping—inquiries. Although tortious conduct within a forum ensures the existence of contacts, it does not always guarantee that such contacts are deliberate. In this case, LSM purposefully availed itself of Texas when its employees voluntarily entered the jurisdiction to aboard the vessel. However, the court held that the district court correctly dismissed, for want of personal jurisdiction, the claim of failure to load the pipes properly, because LSM presented undisputed evidence that a third party had stowed the pipes aboard the ship while it was outside the United States. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded for the district court to determine whether the exercise of personal jurisdiction accords with traditional notions of fair play and substantial justice. View "Carmona v. Leo Ship Management, Inc." on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Procedure

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More than eight hundred appellants, who assert various contract and tort claims arising out of the Deepwater Horizon oil clean-up, are divided into two groups: the Lindsay Appellants and the D'Amico Appellants. Both groups of appellants appealed their dismissals with prejudice for failure to follow the district court's order requiring they file individual complaints. The Fifth Circuit held that the district court had authority to issue the order as a sensible means of managing multi-district litigation and to dismiss the parties' claims with prejudice for disobeying docket management orders. However, the court did not find the clear record of delay or contumacious conduct by the D'Amico Appellants required to justify a dismissal-with-prejudice sanction. In this case, the D'Amico Appellants had a flawed understanding of PTO 63 and showed an absence of willful conduct. Accordingly, the court reversed as to the D'Amico Appellants and affirmed as to the Lindsay Appellants. The court remanded for further proceedings. View "Graham v. BP Exploration & Production, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit dismissed defendant's appeal of the district court's denial of a motion to dismiss the complaint for failure to state claim. The court held that Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009), did not allow the court to question the credibility of the facts pleaded, which was what defendant wanted the court to do. Rather, Iqbal directed the court to assume the veracity of the well-pleaded factual allegations and to determine whether they plausibly gave rise to an entitlement of relief. Therefore, the court lacked jurisdiction to consider the sufficiency of the pleadings. View "Ramirez v. Escajeda" on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Procedure

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The FDIC brought two enforcement proceedings against the Bank and three of its directors, and subsequently issued a final order penalizing the Bank. The Bank petitioned for review of both orders under 12 U.S.C. 1818(h)(2) and also filed suit in federal district court, alleging various constitutional violations arising out of the same enforcement proceedings. The Fifth Circuit held that the district court correctly dismissed the Bank's lawsuit for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The court held that the Thunder Basin factors reinforced the district court's conclusion that the review scheme precluded district court jurisdiction over the Bank's claim. In this case, a finding that the review scheme precludes district court jurisdiction would not foreclose all meaningful judicial review of the Bank's constitutional claims; the Bank has not shown that its suit was wholly collateral to the agency proceedings; and the agency expertise factor pointed toward finding that the district court lacked subject matter jurisdiction. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Bank of Louisiana v. FDIC" on Justia Law

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After Brown Sims, a Houston law firm, successfully obtained a favorable result for its client, AJR, the client colluded with the opposing party, CNA and its attorneys, to consummate a settlement just between themselves. After settlement, the district court dismissed the case as moot. The Fifth Circuit held that the district court had subject matter jurisdiction over Brown Sims's claims against CNA. The court also held that Brown Sims met all of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 24's criterion for intervention as of right and the district court erred in concluding otherwise. Furthermore, the district court erred in denying the Rule 60(b)(5) and (b)(6) motions. Accordingly, the court reversed in part, vacated in part, and remanded for further consideration. View "Adam Joseph Resources v. CNA Metals Limited" on Justia Law

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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