Articles Posted in Civil Procedure

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Defendants sought to vacate the district court's judgment stemming from defendants' breach of an agreement with plaintiffs to purchase, renovate, and sell Katrina-damaged properties. Plaintiffs contend that the district court should have required both defendants to pay the full $94,000 in damages. Defendants argued that the jurisdictional defects warrant vacating the judgment. The Fifth Circuit affirmed the judgment and posttrial order awarding attorneys' fees and costs as to Defendant Karry Causey. In regard to Defendant Garry Causey, the court remanded for the district court to engage in additional findings concerning the attempts to serve Garry. View "Norris v. Causey" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's decision to enjoin state court civil proceedings until the conclusion of the government's criminal investigation, or for a period of one year, whichever first occurred. The court held that the district court had authority to enjoin the state court proceedings where the general prohibition against federal courts granting injunctions to stay state court proceedings did not apply when the United States, as here, seeks the injunction. The company in this case was pursuing a civil lawsuit in state court seeking, among other things, return or ownership of electronic devices currently held by federal investigators. If not enjoined, further proceedings in state court, including civil discovery, could undermine the federal criminal investigation into the company. View "In re: Grand Jury Subpoena" on Justia Law

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In this appeal stemming from the desegregation of the school district, the Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's rejection of the School Board's latest proposed candidate, approving instead the candidate supported by plaintiffs and the Court Compliance Officer. The court held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in modifying the academic-qualifications requirement and the selection-and-approval process. The court also held that the district court did not err by denying the motion for relief from judgment under Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(b) where a candidate's role with the Ministerial Alliance did not justify holding that the district court abused its discretion in appointing the candidate as Chief Desegregation Implementation Officer (CDIO). View "Moore v. Tangipahoa Parish School Board" on Justia Law

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This appeal arose out of the district court's approval of a zero-dollar class action settlement and award of attorneys' fees in a consolidated lawsuit stemming from a merger between Midstream and Equity. The Fifth Circuit dismissed a class member's objection to the settlement based on lack of appellate jurisdiction. In this case, the class member was a nonparty, non-intervenor, who waived his right to appeal by filing an untimely, procedurally deficient objection. Furthermore, he failed to qualify for an exception pursuant to Devlin v. Scardelletti, 536 U.S. 1, 3–4, 6–7 (2002). View "Aron v. Crestwood Midstream Partners" on Justia Law

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This interlocutory appeal arose out of litigation between rival companies that specialize in highway toll collection technology. The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of HTA's motion for summary judgment based on Texas's judicial proceedings privilege. Determining that it had jurisdiction over the appeal, the court proceeded to the merits. The court read Texas caselaw as signaling limits on which communications made prior to the initiation of litigation qualify as sufficiently related to the contemplated judicial proceeding identified by the defendant. In this case, the court agreed with the district court that these limits preclude application of the privilege here, most significantly, because of the disconnect between the purpose of the communications and HTA's later tortious interference litigation, as well as the circumstances of the third-party recipients. View "BancPass, Inc. v. Highway Toll Administration, LLC" on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Procedure

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Plaintiff filed suit pro se asserting a takings claim against the United States. The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's conclusion that, under the Tucker Act, plaintiff must pursue his claim in the Court of Federal Claims (CFC). The Tucker Act vests exclusive jurisdiction for takings claims over $10,000 in the CFC and plaintiff asserted that he was entitled to $900,000 in just compensation. Therefore, the district court properly dismissed the claim based on lack of subject-matter jurisdiction. View "Sammons v. United States" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against Offshore under the Jones Act, alleging maritime claims for negligence and unseaworthiness arising out of an alleged injury he suffered. The Fifth Circuit vacated the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor Offshore and remanded for reconsideration in light of the current Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56, including whether the particular material to which objection was lodged can or cannot be presented in a form that would be admissible at trial. In this case, the district court relied on a prior version of Rule 56 and cases thereunder to discount the signed but unsworn report of Captain James P. Jamison. View "Lee v. Offshore Logistical & Transport" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit held that, because the matter was not ripe at the time the district court entered judgment in this case, the district court's judgment was void for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Therefore, the court vacated the judgment. The court explained that, even though subsequent intervening events have created a controversy that was now ripe, the court could not retroactively resurrect the district court's void judgment under the facts of this case. Nevertheless, because the basic underlying controversy, originally raised and pursued by these same parties, was now ripe, the court remanded the case to the district court for such orders and proceedings as the district court deemed necessary and appropriate. View "Lower Colorado River Authority v. Papalote Creek II LLC" on Justia Law

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Brickhouse appealed a default judgment in a trademark dispute between the parties. The court held that it had appellate jurisdiction in this case because a motion to recall the mandate and a motion to reopen the case have the same effect; the clerk had the power to recall the mandate here; and its order reopening the case did recall the mandate. The court rejected Brickhouse's claim that service of process was invalid; held that service was unremarkable in this case; and affirmed the default judgment. View "BHTT Entertainment v. Brickhouse Cafe & Lounge" on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Procedure

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Renegade Swish filed suit against Emily Wright in state court for breach of employment agreement-related claims, and Wright counter-claimed based on violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Renegade Swish nonsuited its claims without prejudice and moved to realign the parties in the state court. Renegade Swish then removed to federal court, and Wright moved for remand and attorney's fees. Even assuming arguendo that it use the abuse of discretion standard on review, the Fifth Circuit found that Renegade Swift did not have an objectively reasonable basis to remove to federal court, and the district court abused its discretion in finding otherwise. Renegade Swish has not identified an actual district court split as to whether removal is proper on the basis of federal counterclaims after a plaintiff nonsuits its claims. Accordingly, the court vacated in part and remanded for further proceedings. View "Renegade Swish, LLC v. Wright" on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Procedure