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

Articles Posted in Civil Procedure

by
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

by
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

by
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

by
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

by
The Fifth Circuit declined to reach the merits in this contract dispute, because the parties have failed to establish diversity citizenship. In this case, there was no evidence on the record of the parties' citizenship. Accordingly, the court remanded to the district court to allow it to consider additional evidence regarding jurisdiction. View "MidCap Media Finance, LLC v. Pathway Data, Inc." on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Procedure

by
In 2016, the Texas federal court enjoined the DOL's proposed Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) Overtime Rule and specifically enjoined the DOL from implementing and enforcing that proposed rule, pending further order of that court. In 2017, a restaurant worker in New Jersey filed suit against her former employer, Chipotle, in the New Jersey federal court for unpaid overtime pay, relying on the proposed Overtime Rule. At issue was whether the Texas federal court may hold the restaurant worker and her attorneys in contempt for filing the FLSA lawsuit against Chipotle in the New Jersey federal court and contending that she was entitled to overtime pay according to the proposed Overtime Rule. The Fifth Circuit held that the Texas federal court did not have the authority under Rule 65(d) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to hold the restaurant worker and her attorneys in contempt, because she and her attorneys did not act in privity with, and she was not adequately represented by, the DOL in the injunction case. Therefore, the Texas federal court lacked personal jurisdiction over the worker and her attorneys. The court reversed the district court's judgment, including the award of attorneys' fees against her and her lawyers, rendering judgment in their favor. View "Texas v. United States Department of Labor" on Justia Law

by
This appeal arose from a dispute over a Business Economic Loss claim stemming from the Deepwater Horizon Class Action Settlement Agreement. In Policy 495, the Claims Administrator established different methods for correcting unmatched financial statements. The first method created an Annual Variable Margin Methodology (AVMM), and the second method created Industry-Specific Methodologies (ISMs) for claimants working in construction, agriculture, education, and professional services. The Fifth Circuit upheld the AVMM but rejected the ISMs in In re Deepwater Horizon (Policy 495 Decision), 858 F.3d 298, 304 (5th Cir. 2017). The court held that the AVMM appropriately required the Claims Administrator to ensure that costs were registered in the same month as corresponding revenue, regardless of when those costs were incurred. However, the ISMs went too far by requiring smoothing profits in addition to matching revenues and expenses. Therefore, the court held that all claimants must be subject to the AVMM. On remand, the district court issued orders to implement the court's decision. However, the court held that the district court's orders were inconsistent with the court's mandate in the Policy 495 Decision. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded for further proceedings. View "Lake Eugenie Land & Development, Inc. v. BP Exploration, Inc." on Justia Law

by
On a second rehearing, the Fifth Circuit certified a question to the Louisiana Supreme Court regarding whether a suit seeking to compel arbitration is an "action for a money judgment" under Louisiana's non-resident attachment statute, La. Code Civ. Proc. art. 3542. The state court answered the certified question and held that Louisiana Code of Civil Procedure article 3542 allows for attachment in aid of arbitration if the origin of the underlying arbitration claim is one pursuing money damages and the arbitral party has satisfied the statutory requirements necessary to obtain a writ of attachment. In this case, the court held that the district court erred in finding that the Louisiana nonresident attachment statute was not available to Daewoo. The underlying action seeking to compel arbitration here was clearly an action for a money judgment under Louisiana's non-resident attachment statute. View "Stemcor USA Inc. v. Cia Siderurgica do Para Cosipar" on Justia Law

by
Plaintiffs, members of three rural power cooperatives, filed suit alleging that the cooperatives failed to refund excess "patronage capital" to their members as required by state law. In this case, the cooperatives argued that Mississippi Code 77-5-235(5)'s refund requirement conflicts with Congress's purposes and objectives as expressed in the Rural Electrification Act, federal regulations, and the cooperatives' loan agreements with the Rural Utility Service. Furthermore, they argued that plaintiff's for request appointment of a trustee or receiver conflicts with federal interests and the provision in their loan agreements that appointment of a receiver constitutes an event of default. The Fifth Circuit reversed the district court's decision to remand these consolidated cases to state court, holding that the cooperatives have a colorable federal preemption defense and were entitled to remove under 28 U.S.C. 1442's provision for federal officer removal. View "Butler v. Coast Electric Power Assoc." on Justia Law

by
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