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Dart Cherokee Basin Operating Co., LLC v. Owens, 135 S. Ct. 547 (2014), did not undermine Palisades Collections LLC v. Shorts, 552 F.3d 327, 331 (4th Cir. 2008). In this case, Home Depot filed a Petition for Permission to Appeal the district court's order remanding to state court. The Fourth Circuit deferred ruling on the petition pending consideration of the merits of the appeal. The court held that the Supreme Court has not called into question Palisades's conclusion that an additional counter-defendant is not entitled to remove under 28 U.S.C. 1441(a) or 1453(b), nor has it abandoned Shamrock Oil’s definition of "defendant" in the class action context. See Shamrock Oil & Gas Corp. v. Sheets, 313 U.S. 100, 108 (1941). The court held that Palisades applied to Home Depot. The court also held that the district court properly declined to realign the parties and correctly remanded to state court. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. . View "Jackson v. Home Depot U.S.A., Inc." on Justia Law

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The Fourth Circuit granted the Government's motion to dismiss defendant's appeal because his appeal was time-barred. The court rejected defendant's argument that the Government was tardy in filing the motion to dismiss and that delay effectively cures any failure to observe the requirements of the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure on his part. The court held that the Government's motion to dismiss was timely and thus, the Government's motion to dismiss defendant's untimely appeal should be granted. In this case, defendant did not address the application of Local Rule 27(f) in his briefs and he never identified any prejudice he suffered by virtue of the timing of the Government's motion to dismiss. View "United States v. Hyman" on Justia Law

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The underlying action was initiated by homeowners from two residential developments in Rocklin against appellants Centex Homes and Centex Real Estate Corporation (Centex) for alleged defects to their homes. Centex and cross-defendant and respondent St. Paul Fire and Marine Insurance Company (St. Paul) have a history of insurance coverage disputes. St. Paul was an insurer for subcontractor Ad Land Venture (Ad Land), and agreed to defend Centex as an additional insured subject to a reservation of rights. Centex filed a cross-complaint against its subcontractors and St. Paul that sought, as the seventh cause of action, a declaration that Centex was entitled to independent counsel under Civil Code section 28601 because St. Paul’s reservation of rights created significant conflicts of interest. Centex appealed after the trial court granted St. Paul’s motion for summary adjudication of Centex’s seventh cause of action. Centex argued any possible or potential conflict was legally sufficient to require St. Paul to provide independent counsel. The Court of Appeal disagreed. Alternatively, Centex contended independent counsel was required because counsel appointed by St. Paul could influence the outcome of the coverage dispute and St. Paul controlled both sides of the litigation. The Court of Appeal concluded that because Centex failed to establish a triable issue of material fact regarding these assertions, the Court affirmed the judgment. View "Centex Homes v. St. Paul Fire & Marine Ins. Co." on Justia Law

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Crabbs, acquitted of voluntary manslaughter but subjected to a DNA swab before his release, filed a 42 U.S.C. 1983 claim alleging that the local police violated his Fourth Amendment right to be secure from unreasonable searches. He died before the case could be resolved. Crabbs’s mother and the personal representative of his estate moved to substitute as a party. The district court found that Crabbs’s death extinguished his claim and dismissed the case. The Sixth Circuit reversed. No federal statute or rule says anything about the survivorship of section 1983 claims, but Crabbs’s action qualifies as a “cause[] of action for . . . injuries to the person” under the Ohio survivorship statute and, therefore, outlasts his death. . View "Crabbs v. Scott" on Justia Law

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Petitioner Jane Norton sued Rocky Mountain Planned Parenthood, Inc. (“RMPP”), Governor John W. Hickenlooper, the Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing, and the Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (“CDPHE”), for violating section 50 of the Colorado Constitution. Prior to filing this suit as a private citizen, Norton had served as Executive Director of CDPHE. In 2001, while serving in that role, Norton hired an accounting firm to determine whether RMPP was “separately incorporated, maintain[ed] separate facilities, and maintain[ed] financial records which demonstrate[d] financial independence” from Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains Services Corporation (“Services Corp.”), an organization that offered abortion services. The accounting firm determined that RMPP was “subsidizing the rent for Services Corp., an affiliate that performs abortions.” From this information, Norton concluded that whenever CDPHE provided funding to RMPP, it was violating section 50. As a result, Norton terminated the State’s contractual relationship with RMPP and ceased all taxpayer funding of that organization. In 2009, after Norton had left CDPHE, the State resumed making payments to RMPP, prompting Norton to file this lawsuit in which she sought declaratory and injunctive relief against the State officials and pursued a claim of unjust enrichment against RMPP. The issue this case presented for the Colorado Supreme Court’s review centered on whether a complaint alleging a violation of article V, section 50 of the Colorado Constitution based solely on a theory of subsidization states a claim for relief sufficient to overcome a motion to dismiss pursuant to C.R.C.P. 12(b)(5). The Supreme Court held that it did not; instead, to state a claim for relief under section 50, a complaint must allege that the State made a payment to a person or entity - whether directly to that person or entity, or indirectly through an intermediary - for the purpose of compensating them for performing an abortion and that such an abortion was actually performed. View "Norton v. Rocky Mountain Planned Parenthood, Inc." on Justia Law

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Artis filed a federal-court suit against the District of Columbia, alleging a federal employment discrimination claim and three allied claims under D.C. law; nearly two years remained on the statute of limitations for the D.C. claims. More than two years later, the district court rejected the federal claim and dismissed the D.C.-law claims under 28 U.S.C. 1367(c). Artis refiled those claims in the D.C. Superior Court 59 days later. That court dismissed them as time-barred. The D.C. Court of Appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed. Section 1367(d) provides that the “period of limitations for” refiling in state court a state claim “shall be tolled while the claim is pending [in federal court] and for a period of 30 days after it is dismissed unless State law provides for a longer tolling period.” The Court rejected an argument that the section merely provides a grace period, permitting the statute of limitations to run while the claim is pending in another forum and averting the risk of a time bar by according the plaintiff a fixed period in which to refile. Considering the ordinary meaning of the statutory language, the section is a tolling provision. It suspends the statute of limitations both while the claim is pending in federal court and for 30 days post-dismissal. The stop-the-clock interpretation of section1367(d) does not present a serious constitutional problem. View "Artis v. District of Columbia" on Justia Law

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The Clean Water Act, 33 U.S.C. 1362, prohibits “any addition of any pollutant to navigable waters,” defined as “the waters of the United States.” Section 1311(a) contains exceptions, including permitting schemes under the EPA's National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) program and an Army Corps of Engineers program, which encompass the “waters of the United States.” The EPA and the Corps proffered the “Waters of the United States (WOTUS) Rule,” which “imposes no enforceable duty on any state, local, or tribal governments, or the private sector,” 80 Fed. Reg. 37102 and “does not establish any regulatory requirements.” Objectors challenged the Rule in district courts. Many filed “protective” petitions in Circuit Courts to preserve their challenges should their district court lawsuits be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction under 33 U.S.C. 1369(b), which enumerates EPA actions for which review lies directly and exclusively in the federal courts of appeals. Such actions include EPA actions “approving or promulgating any effluent limitation or other limitation under section 1311, 1312, 1316, or 1345,” and EPA actions “issuing or denying any permit under section 1342.” The Sixth Circuit denied motions to dismiss consolidated actions. The Supreme Court reversed. The Rule falls outside section 1369(b)(1), so challenges must be filed in district courts. It is not an “effluent limitation,” “on quantities, rates, and concentrations” of pollutants, nor is it an “other limitation under section 1311; it simply announces a regulatory definition. The Rule was promulgated under section 1361(a), which grants the EPA general rulemaking authority. The Rule neither issues nor denies NPDES permits under section 1342. View "National Association of Manufacturers. v. Department of Defense" on Justia Law

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The Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission is exclusively empowered to license thermal power plants of over 50 megawatts capacity, Pub. Resources Code 25120, 25500, 25517; it possesses “the exclusive power to certify all sites and related facilities in the state, whether a new site and related facility or a change or addition to an existing facility” and “[t]he issuance of a certificate by the commission shall be in lieu of any permit, certificate, or similar document required by any state, local or regional agency, or federal agency to the extent permitted by federal law.” Commission decisions on any application for certification are subject to judicial review by the Supreme Court of California; the Commission’s factual findings are not subject to review. Communities for a Better Environment's challenge to the judicial review provisions as facially unconstitutional was dismissed on ripeness grounds. The court of appeal reversed. The constitutional challenge is not dependent on the facts of any particular Commission proceeding. Communities has appeared in certification proceedings, is presently participating, and has stated it intends to continue to participate, creating a reasonable expectation that any wrong done by the application of the provisions will be repeated. “[W]e do not have to guess” how the statute will be interpreted moving forward. View "Communities for Better Environment v. State Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff-Appellant Dennis Obduskey appealed a district court’s order granting Defendants-Appellees Wells Fargo and McCarthy and Holthus, LLP’s motions to dismiss numerous claims, including whether either party was liable as a “debt collector” under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). In 2014, Wells Fargo hired McCarthy and Holthus, LLP, a law firm, to pursue a non-judicial foreclosure on Obduskey’s home. Obduskey responded to a letter McCarthy sent him; rather than responding further, McCarthy initiated a foreclosure action. Obduskey then filed this action claiming (1) a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act; (2) a violation of the Colorado Consumer Protection Act; (3) defamation; (4) extreme and outrageous conduct - emotional distress; and (5) commencement of an unlawful collections action. Wells Fargo and McCarthy filed motions to dismiss, which the district court granted on all claims. Regarding the FDCPA claim, the district court held that Wells Fargo was not liable because it began servicing the loan prior to default. It also held that McCarthy was not a “debt collector” because “foreclosure proceedings are not a collection of a debt,” but it noted that “not all courts have agreed” on whether foreclosure proceedings are covered under the FDCPA. After review, the Tenth Circuit found that the FDCPA does not apply to non-judicial foreclosure proceedings in Colorado, and affirmed the district court’s dismissal of Obduskey’s claims. View "Obduskey v. Wells Fargo" on Justia Law

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Defendant Texas Brine Company, LLC (Texas Brine) operated brine wells on land owned by Co-Defendant Occidental Chemical Corporation (Oxy) in Louisiana. In August 2012, a sinkhole appeared near one of these wells. After the sinkhole appeared, Texas Brine began clean-up efforts. In December 2012, Texas Brine retained Frontier International Group, LLC (Frontier), an Oklahoma-based consulting firm, for “emergency management, state and local government relations, community relations, litigation settlement strategy, and media communications.” Some time later, Texas Brine retained Brooks Altshuler, an attorney and Frontier’s owner, in his individual capacity to advise the company on response and remediation efforts and to negotiate with government agencies. Later, Texas Brine retained Frontier as a consulting expert for trial preparation. Litigation began soon after the sinkhole appeared, with multiple plaintiffs suing Texas Brine and Oxy in the Eastern District of Louisiana. To verify the work Frontier performed and the cost of such work, Oxy issued a subpoena duces tecum to nonparty Frontier, requesting production of eight categories of documents related to services Frontier provided Texas Brine. In response, Texas Brine filed a motion to quash the subpoena in the Western District of Oklahoma, the district where compliance was required. Proceeding under the uncontested assumption that Louisiana law applied, Texas Brine first claimed the attorney-client privilege protected the subpoenaed communications. In a written order, the trial court noted that Texas Brine failed to comply with Fed. R. Civ. P. 45(e)(2)(A), instead, relying on a “blanket claim of privilege.” In the context of Texas Brine’s claim of a blanket privilege did the court address whether Louisiana’s attorney-client privilege statute extended the privilege to a public relations firm and its agents. Without a privilege log before it, the court concluded that much of the work Frontier performed for Texas Brine did not constitute “legal advice” and, thus, was not protected by the attorney-client privilege. The court ultimately required Texas Brine to produce a privilege log for any communications that it believed were protected. Texas Brine appealed. Frontier complied with the district court’s order and has, at this point, produced around 20,000 documents and a privilege log regarding the confidentiality of the withheld documents. The Tenth Circuit determined that the trial court’s factual record was insufficient, and the court did not require the production of protected documents, Texas Brine’s appeal was not ripe for review. Accordingly, Frontier and Texas Brine’s appeals were dismissed for want of jurisdiction and lack of ripeness respectively. View "Texas Brine Co. v. Occidental Chem. Corp." on Justia Law