Justia Civil Procedure Opinion Summaries

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The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of JMPC's motion to compel certain post-judgment discovery. The court held that, although the district court's reliance on the June 2011 date as relevant to DTC's knowledge of any potential claims by JPMC was clearly erroneous, the error was harmless. The court also held that the district court did not abuse its discretion by tying discovery to a time period associated with the Cathay agreement; the district court did not abuse its discretion by limiting discovery to the 2012 breach and the amount of the judgment specifically tied to that one breach; and the district court's proportionality determination was reasonable. View "JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A. v. Datatreasury Corp." on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's 42 U.S.C. 1983 complaint alleging that the Department violated her right to due process when it listed her name, without notice, on the State's Child Protective Services Central Registry. In this case, plaintiff's name was listed on the Registry after her husband confessed to killing their newborn baby and the criminal investigation concluded that plaintiff was not a suspect. The panel held that, because plaintiff alleged only individualized claims for deprivation of procedural due process, the normal discovery rule of accrual applies. The panel agreed with the district court that plaintiff had knowledge of the injury giving rise to her claims by May 2013, but failed to file her action within the two year statute of limitations. Furthermore, the complaint would not have been saved by any amendment and thus the district court did not err in denying plaintiff leave to amend. View "Bird v. Hawai'i" on Justia Law

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Doe sued the University for violating his due-process rights during a disciplinary hearing. The Sixth Circuit remanded Doe’s case in light of a related ruling requiring live hearings and cross-examination in such proceedings. Upon remand, the district judge, frustrated with the University’s apparent foot-dragging, scheduled a settlement conference and required the University’s president to attend. The University requested that the president be allowed to attend by telephone but the district judge refused. The University then requested permission to send someone with both more knowledge about the sexual assault policy at issue and full settlement authority. The judge again refused, stating he wanted the president to be there even if someone else with full settlement authority attended, and “even if the parties [we]re able to resolve" the issue. The University planned for the president to attend. Two days before the settlement conference, the district judge decided that the conference (which he had assured the University would be private) should be a public event, stating that “the University’s public filing of a Motion to Dismiss . . . . The filing incited confusion amongst the media.” The Sixth Circuit issued a writ of mandamus, finding that the district judge acted beyond his power and abused his discretion. Neither Congress nor the Constitution granted the judge the power to order a specific state official to attend a public settlement conference. View "In re: University of Michigan" on Justia Law

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Defendants in this case were, inter alia, former officers, directors, employees, and investors of KiOR Inc., a startup biofuels company. The State of Mississippi lent KiOR $75 million to construct its first commercial-scale production facility in Columbus, Mississippi. The facility was completed in 2012. Operations were suspended in early 2014, however, and KiOR filed for bankruptcy later that year. In January 2015, the State sued Defendants, alleging fraudulent and negligent misrepresentation, fraudulent and negligent omission, civil conspiracy, aiding and abetting, and respondeat superior. The case was assigned randomly to Judge Gowan. In late 2017, three weeks after briefing had ended on the last motion to dismiss, Judge Gowan sua sponte reassigned the case to Judge Green. In response to the order, Defendants petitioned the Mississippi Supreme Court for a writ of mandamus, which was treated as a petition for interlocutory appeal. The Supreme Court granted review and a stay of the trial court proceedings and deconsolidated three cases, with a separate decision handed down for each. The “Cannon” defendants argued Judge Gowan did not have the authority to transfer or reassign Cannon to Judge Green. The Supreme Court found no abuse of discretion and affirmed the transfer from Judge Gowan to Judge Green. View "Khosla v. Mississippi ex rel. Hood" on Justia Law

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This case arose from Hurricane Katrina insurance litigation. After the hurricane had destroyed many homes, policyholders and insurance companies began litigating whether the hurricane losses were caused by flood damage or wind damage. The distinction determined whether the insurance companies would pay claims on those polices that did not cover flood damage. This case is before the Court on interlocutory appeal. Safeco Insurance Company (Safeco) and Liberty Mutual Insurance Company individually challenged the circuit court’s reassignment of their respective cases and the appointment of a special master. The Mississippi Supreme Court found no abuse of discretion in reassigning judges, but vacated the order appointing the special master, finding an abuse of the trial court’s discretion. “The order itself acknowledged a blind-billing provision was “unusual.” But the Supreme Court found it was more than that: requiring both parties, one of which is the State of Mississippi, to pay an attorney in Louisiana to act as a judge, allowing either side to meet with him ex parte, and not requiring this special master to mention these meetings or even justify or detail his bill far exceeded the discretionary authority to appoint special masters.” View "Safeco Insurance Company of America v. Mississippi, ex rel. Hood" on Justia Law

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A1 learned that government auditors thought that the company had overcharged a federal agency by several million dollars for services provided to Medicare beneficiaries. A1 challenged the auditors’ decisions at two levels of the Medicare appeals process but changed the auditors’ minds only in a few minor ways. The government tried to start collecting the money, as the regulatory regime allows, 42 U.S.C. 1395ff(a)(5), (c)(3)(E). Fearing bankruptcy from the government’s recoupment efforts, A1 obtained a preliminary injunction, barring the government from recouping the money until A1 received a hearing before an administrative law judge. The Sixth Circuit vacated the injunction, first holding that although A1 did not proceed to the third and fourth levels of the administrative appeal, the district court had jurisdiction over A1’s constitutional claims. On the merits, the court identified unanswered questions regarding the statistics concerning the relief likely to be obtained at the third level of administrative review; details about A1’s choice not to take advantage of an option to escalate its claim to the fourth and final level of administrative review; and the parties’ awareness of a recoupment option that might have allowed A1 to obtain an ALJ hearing before making most or even all of its recoupment payments. View "A1 Diabetes & Medical Supply v. Alex Azar II" on Justia Law

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In order to facilitate the enforcement of federal judgments, 28 U.S.C. 1963 provides that a judgment entered in a federal court may be registered in any other federal district by "filing a certified copy of the judgment" in that district. The Ninth Circuit held, as a matter of first impression, that personal jurisdiction over the judgment debtors in the district of registration is not required for such registration of a judgment, because neither section 1963 nor due process imposes such a personal jurisdiction requirement. The panel also held that once a federal court of competent jurisdiction has determined the parties' substantive rights and entered a judgment following a proceeding that comports with due process, that federal judgment should be enforceable in any other federal district by way of the federal judgment registration statute. In this case, the Washington Judgment was not void for lack of jurisdiction, and the district court erred by vacating the Second Arizona Judgment on that basis. Accordingly, the panel reversed the district court's order and judgment in this case, remanding for further proceedings. View "Fidelity National Financial, Inc. v. Friedman" on Justia Law

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Plains Trucking’s petitions sought supervisory writs from the North Dakota Supreme Court in two civil actions that arose out of an explosion on March 27, 2013. One worker, Trevor Davis, was killed, and another worker, Darian Songer Bail, was injured in the explosion that occurred while Davis and Songer Bail were cleaning a crude oil tanker trailer owned by MBI Energy Services. Plains Trucking asserted both Davis and Songer Bail were its employees and that the civil actions were barred by N.D.C.C. title 65. Respondent Songer Bail cross-petitioned for a supervisory writ to direct the district court in his case to vacate its order determining as a matter of law that he was Plains Trucking’s employee on the date of his injury. The cases were consolidated for oral argument to the Supreme Court. Exercising its original jurisdiction, the North Dakota Supreme Court granted Plains Trucking’s petitions and denied Songer Bail’s cross-petition. View "Plains Trucking, LLC v. Hagar, et al." on Justia Law

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For two years, Alliance was unable to obtain a license from the Indiana State Department of Health to open a South Bend clinic to provide medication abortion care. After two unsuccessful applications, a statutory amendment, and a “moving target of wide-ranging requests for information,” Alliance concluded that its attempts were futile and sought a preliminary injunction. The district court granted preliminary relief, holding that Alliance has shown a likelihood of success on the merits of its claim that Indiana’s requirement of licensure for clinics that provide only medication abortions (induced exclusively by taking pills), as applied to Alliance's clinic, violates the Due Process and the Equal Protection Clauses. The Seventh Circuit held that the district court’s broad condemnation of Indiana’s licensing scheme runs contrary to Supreme Court precedent. While this litigation is pending, the state may, for the most part, administer that system. The court expressed concerns about the handling of Alliance’s application. Indiana may use licensing as a legitimate means of vetting and monitoring providers, but, to the extent that Indiana is using its licensing scheme to prevent the South Bend clinic from opening simply to block access to pre-viability abortions, it is acting unconstitutionally. The district court must modify the injunction to instruct Indiana to treat the Alliance’s South Bend facility as though it were provisionally licensed. View "Whole Woman's Health Alliance v. Hill" on Justia Law

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Steven Nelson, individually and for the benefit of J&S Nelson Farms, LLP, appealed a judgment determining the value of his interest in the Nelson Farms partnership, and an order denying his post-judgment motions. Nelson argued the district court erred by ordering various sanctions and determining the value of the partnership. After review, the North Dakota Supreme Court concluded the district court did not err by striking some of Nelson’s claims as a discovery sanction, awarding defendants a portion of the attorney’s fees they incurred in this action, or determining the value of Nelson’s interest in the partnership. However, the Court also concluded the district court abused its discretion by ordering Nelson reimburse the partnership for the attorney’s fees and costs it incurred as a result of a separate action in federal court. View "Nelson, et al. v. Nelson, et al." on Justia Law