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UFAA filed suit seeking declaratory relief against the Companies and FGI (collectively, Farmers), alleging that Farmers engaged in numerous practices that violated the terms of Agent Appointment Agreements signed prior to 2009. The trial court found that UFAA lacked standing to pursue its claims and failed to demonstrate it was entitled to declaratory relief. The Court of Appeal held that UFAA had associational standing to pursue its claims related to performance and office standards, but did not have standing to pursue its other claims. However, on the merits, UFAA was not entitled to declaratory relief on its claims related to office locations and performance standards. In this case, although the Agreements did not expressly prohibit specific office locations or require agents meet performance standards, Farmers could terminate agencies for such reasons pursuant to the no-cause termination provision. The court also held that UFAA's single enterprise arguments were moot and UFAA's arguments related to the motion for new trial were meritless. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "United Farmers Agents Assoc. v. Farmers Group, Inc." on Justia Law

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The district court did not abuse its discretion by sanctioning plaintiff for her "flagrant and unremitting" violations of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. After plaintiff was constructively discharged as a nurse practitioner by the University, she filed four separate actions alleging claims arising out of the same course of events and alleging state torts of defamation and interference with prospective advantage, as well as violations of the False Claims Act, the Maryland False Health Claims Act, Title VII, and 42 U.S.C. 1981. The Fourth Circuit held that plaintiff's conduct under the procedural rules was inept and abusive to the degree that it rendered virtually useless five years of proceedings before the district court, and such abuse would likely have continued in any future proceedings. View "Rangarajan v. Johns Hopkins University" on Justia Law

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Orchard Estate Homes, Inc., a planned residential development governed by covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&R’s), supplemented by rules and regulations, prohibited short term rentals of units for durations of less than 30 days. When Orchard’s homeowners association attempted to enforce this rule against an owner who used a unit for such purpose, a lower court ruled the rule was unenforceable because it was not contained in the CC&R’s. Orchard put the issue to a vote to amend the CC&R’s. After balloting was completed, approximately 62 percent of the owner-members of the homeowners association voted to prohibit short term rentals, but the percentage was less than the super-majority required to accomplish the amendment. Orchard then filed a petition pursuant to Civil Code section 4275 seeking authorization to reduce the percentage of affirmative votes to adopt the amendment, which was opposed by the Orchard Homeowner Alliance (Alliance), an unincorporated association of owner members, who purchased units for short term rental purposes. The trial court granted the petition and the Alliance appealed, arguing that the trial court erred in ruling that voter apathy was not an element of Civil Code section 4275. Finding no abuse of discretion in granting the HOA's petition, the Court of Appeal affirmed. View "Orchard Estate Homes v. Orchard Homeowners Alliance" 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

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Edwards was charged under the Timber Buyers Licensing Act. The information referred to each violation as constituting a Class A misdemeanor, which Edwards disputed. Edwards filed several pretrial motions, including motions to dismiss, contesting the court’s subject-matter jurisdiction. The state was twice allowed to amend the information. A jury found Edwards guilty of both counts. Edwards sought a writ of prohibition (Ill. S. Ct. Rs. 383, 381), alleging that the information charged him with violating regulations and not a statute defining a criminal offense. The Illinois Supreme Court stayed the circuit court case but denied relief. A writ of prohibition will not issue unless four requirements are met. It is not disputed that action to be prohibited is of a judicial or quasi-judicial nature and that the writ would be directed against a tribunal of inferior jurisdiction. In addition, “the action to be prohibited must be outside the tribunal’s jurisdiction or, if within its jurisdiction, beyond its legitimate authority.” This case turned on the fourth element: Edwards did not establish that there was not any other adequate remedy available nor has he demonstrated irremediable harm so as to warrant excusal from the normal appellate process. View "Edwards v. Atterberry" on Justia Law

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Darrin, age 81, filed a Request for Elder or Dependent Adult Abuse Restraining Orders, alleging that her next-door neighbor Miller and Miller’s boyfriend harassed and intimidated her by taunting her, threatening her, twice removing a wire boundary fence between the properties, and trespassing onto her property where they destroyed a hedge and defaced and damaged a barrier fence. Miller argued that Darrin had no standing to seek an order against her under the Act because Miller had no care or custody arrangement with Darrin and no control over Darrin’s real or personal property. The court of appeal reversed the dismissal of the suit. The plain language of the Elder Abuse Act authorizes a trial court to issue a restraining order against any individual who has engaged in abusive conduct, as defined by statute, toward a person age 65 or older regardless of the relationship between the alleged abuser and victim, Welfare and Institutions Code 15610.07(a)(1). View "Darrin v. Miller" on Justia Law

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Larry and Julie Schindler and the estate of Eugene Weisbeck appealed a judgment dismissing their action to reform warranty deeds and quiet title in themselves to certain Morton County, North Dakota property. Because the North Dakota Supreme Court could not determine whether the district court correctly applied the law, it reversed and remanded for further development of the record. View "Schindler v. Wageman" on Justia Law

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In August 2016, Riley Kuntz submitted written requests for documents under the North Dakota open records law to the Bureau of Criminal Investigation ("BCI"), the Department of Transportation ("DOT"), and the Criminal Justice Information Sharing ("CJIS") Director, seeking records relating to an agreement with "the FBI authorizing or allowing the search of any ND Driver License or non-photo identification database pursuant to a request from any government agency for the purposes of FACE or FIRS or NGI-IPS." BCI denied his request; the DOT provided a two-page attorney general opinion. In December, Kuntz submitted a request under FOIA to the federal Government Accountability Office ("GAO") requesting records related to an agreement between the FBI and any government agency authorizing the search of the North Dakota driver license information databases. In a February 2017 letter, the GAO responded and confirmed the existence of a Memorandum of Understanding ("MOU") between the FBI, CJIS, Attorney General, and BCI concerning searches of the North Dakota Attorney General BCI facial recognition photo repository. However, because the GAO obtained the MOU from the FBI, the GAO informed him it was GAO policy not to release records from its files that originated in another agency or organization. In July 2017, Kuntz submitted written requests under the open records law to the North Dakota Attorney General, BCI, CJIS Director, and DOT, stating in part seeking the MOU between the FBI, Criminal Justice Information Services Division and ND Attorney General. BCI requested clarification on Kuntz's request; the DOT requested payment of a fulfillment fee. Kuntz replied to the DOT but did not pay the fee. In September 2017, Kuntz commenced the underlying lawsuit, naming as defendants the State, the BCI, the CJIS Director, the DOT, the North Dakota Attorney General, the Deputy Director of BCI, and the individuals who responded to Kuntz's records requests (collectively, the "State"). The parties did not dispute on appeal that while the state Solicitor General accepted service on behalf of the defendants in this case, Kuntz did not personally serve any of the defendants in their individual capacities. Kuntz's complaint claims violations of state open records laws; alleges claims for fraud, federal civil rights violations and attorney's fees; and also seeks declaratory relief. His complaint essentially claims the State, through its various agencies, had denied the existence of, or failed to respond to his open records request for, the specified MOU document. Kuntz appealed when the district court granted the State's motion for judgment on the pleadings and dismissing his claims with prejudice against the State defendants. The North Dakota Supreme Court concluded the district court erred in dismissing his open records law claim under N.D.C.C. 44-04-21.2. However, the court did not err in dismissing his remaining claims and in denying his motions for default judgment, to amend the complaint, and to award sanctions. View "Kuntz v. North Dakota" on Justia Law

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Trina Iverson appealed a district court order finding a prima facie case for modification of primary residential responsibility had not been established with regard to the parties' two youngest children, G.I.H. and G.O.H. Iverson also claimed the district court erred when it denied her motion to amend the findings and order. Because the North Dakota Supreme Court concluded a prima facie case was been established for G.I.H. and G.O.H., it was unnecessary to determine if the district court erred when it denied Iverson's motion to amend the findings and order. The Court concluded Iverson established a prima facie case for modification of primary residential responsibility of G.I.H. and G.O.H. and was entitled to an evidentiary hearing. Therefore, it reversed the district court's order and remanded for further proceedings to determine if modification of primary residential responsibility for G.I.H. and G.O.H. was appropriate. View "Heidt v. Heidt" on Justia Law

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Dustin Erman appealed a district court judgment awarding Trista Dick primary residential responsibility of the parties' minor child. A district court's award of primary residential responsibility is a finding of fact, which will not be reversed on appeal unless it is clearly erroneous. Absent a reason for denying it, some form of extended visitation with a fit non-custodial parent is routinely awarded. A district court's ruling on decision-making responsibility is a finding of fact, reviewed under the clearly erroneous standard. The North Dakota Supreme Court affirmed the district court's judgment as to primary residential responsibility and decision-making responsibility, but reversed with regard to extended parenting time and remanded for further proceedings. View "Dick v. Erman" on Justia Law