Justia Civil Procedure Opinion Summaries

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An August 14, 2019 subpoena duces tecum ordered the IDPS to appear before the court's grand jury and provide documents relating to the investigation of an ISP officer for misconduct or use of excessive force. IDPS complied with five of the listed document categories but filed a motion to quash categories 3 and 4, which seek any and all records relating to the investigation of Officer John Doe for misconduct and any and all records relating to complaints made against Officer John Doe. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's order denying IDPS's motion to quash and rejected IDPS's assertion that quashing the subpoena is needed to protect the Fifth Amendment rights of IDPS employees who participated in internal investigations; the procedural protections established by Kastigar v. U.S., 406 U.S. 401 (1972), and Garrity v. New Jersey, 385 U.S. 493 (1967), provide sufficient protection from the improper use of compelled statements; the Fifth Amendment allows the government to prosecute using evidence from legitimate independent sources; and the district court did not abuse its Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 17(c)(2) discretion in deciding that IDPS failed to meet its substantial burden to show that compliance with the challenged portions of the grand jury subpoena would be "unreasonable or oppressive" when balanced against the interests of the government in enforcing the subpoena. View "In Re: Grand Jury Subpoena Dated August 14, 2019" on Justia Law

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Appellants Nancy and Scott Hart brought suit alleging tort damages from an automobile accident caused by Daniel Parker. Before the Harts filed their complaint, Daniel Parker passed away. The Harts were unsure as to whether Parker was still alive when they filed their complaint and named both Parker and the Estate of Daniel Parker (the “Estate”) as defendants. The Appellee-Estate moved to dismiss the Harts’ complaint on numerous grounds. The Superior Court granted the Appellee’s motion, holding that the complaint was time-barred by 12 Del. C. 2102(a). On appeal, the Harts challenged the Superior Court’s order dismissing their claims against the Estate and argued that the Superior Court erred as a matter of law when it held that the Harts’ claims were time-barred by Section 2102(a). The Delaware Supreme Court agreed that the Harts’ claims were not time-barred by Section 2102(a), reversed the dismissal, and remanded to the Superior Court for further proceedings. View "Hart v. Parker" on Justia Law

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The parties’ arbitration agreement purported to waive class actions and any “other representative action” (the representative waiver). There was no dispute that this representative waiver was broad enough to cover a Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act of 2004 (PAGA) claim, and was thus invalid. The arbitration agreement went on to provide that the provision containing the class action and representative waiver was not modifiable nor severable. The arbitration agreement also contained a provision that if the representative waiver was found to be invalid, “the Agreement becomes null and void as to the employee(s) who are parties to that particular dispute,” the so-called "blow-up provision." Plaintiff Nichole Kec brought individual, class, and PAGA claims against defendants R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, Reynolds American Inc., and three individual employees at R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, alleging in essence, that she and others were misclassified as exempt employees, resulting in various violations of the Labor Code. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company and Reynolds American Inc., moved to compel arbitration of plaintiff’s individual claims except the PAGA claim. The court granted the motion. The court reasoned: (1) because defendants had not asked the court to rule on the enforceability of the representative waiver, it had not found the representative waiver invalid, and thus the blow-up provision had not been triggered; and (2) the blow-up provision could apply only to the attempted waiver of the PAGA claim, not to the arbitrability of plaintiff’s claims under the Labor Code. The Court of Appeal concluded defendants could not selectively enforce the arbitration agreement in a manner that defeated its goals. "Had the parties intended to permit defendants to proceed with arbitration notwithstanding an invalid waiver of representative claims, they would have simply made that provision severable, like every other term in the agreement. But that is not what they did. Instead, by specifically making section 5 not severable, the agreement evinces an intent not to allow defendants to selectively enforce the arbitration agreement." The Court issued a writ of mandate ordering the trial court to vacate its order granting arbitration, and to enter a new order denying the motion in its entirety. View "Kec v. Superior Court" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court held that a government entity does not have "possession, custody, or control" over the content on the personal cell phones of former workers hired through a temporary employment agency so as to be required under Nev. R. Civ. P. 16.1 to disclose that material. Petitioner, the State of Nevada Department of Taxation, entered into an independent contractor relationship with a temporary employment agency to hire and train eight temporary workers to rank the applications received for recreational marijuana establishment licenses. Real party in interest Nevada Wellness Center, LLC sued the Department alleging that the Department employed unlawful and unconstitutional application procedures in awarding licenses. During discovery, Nevada Wellness moved to compel the production of the temporary workers' cell phones for inspection. The district court granted the motion. The Department petitioned for a writ of prohibition or mandamus barring enforcement of the discovery order, arguing that the Department lacked "possession, custody, or control" over the cell phones pursuant to Nev. R. Civ. P. 16.1. The Supreme Court granted the petition, holding that the temporary workers' cell phones were outside the Department's possession, custody or control and that the district court exceeded its authority when it compelled the Department to produce that information. View "State, Department of Taxation v. District Court" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court held that it does not have jurisdiction to review a district court order denying a request for a joint preliminary injunction pursuant to EDCR 5.517 in a family law matter because no court rule or statute permits an appeal of a district court order denying a request for a joint preliminary injunction. After Husband filed for divorce, the clerk of court issued a joint preliminary injunction pursuant to EDCR 5.85 prohibiting the parties from disposing of any property subject to any community interest claim. After the district court issued a divorce decree the Supreme Court remanded the case to conduct proper tracing to determine community interests. On remand, Wife moved for the district court to reaffirm its prior joint preliminary injunction pursuant to EDCR 5.517. The district court issued a preliminary injunction for two assets subject to community property claims but declined to extend the injunction to other assets in a spendthrift trust. Wife appealed. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal, holding that joint preliminary injunctions under EDCR 5.517 are not subject to Nev. R. Civ. P. 65, and therefore, orders denying or granting injunctions under EDCR 5.517 are not appealable under Nev. R. App. P. 3A(b)(3). View "Nelson v. Nelson" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court held that service of a petition for judicial review of an agency's decision does not require personal service under Nev. R. Civ. P. 4.2(a) because a petition for judicial review is best construed as a post-complaint filing so an alternative method of service under Nev. R. Civ. P. 5(b) will suffice. After Patricia DeRosa was fired by the Nevada Department of Corrections (NDOC), DeRosa requested a hearing. The hearing officer reversed the NDOC's decision. NDOC filed a petition for judicial review and served the petition on DeRosa by mailing it to her counsel under Rule 5(b). DeRosa moved to dismiss the petition for lack of personal service. The district court granted the motion, concluding that personal service was necessary under Nev. Rev. Stat. 233B.130(5). The Supreme Court reversed, holding that a petition for judicial review is best construed as a post-complaint pleading and that personal service is unnecessary and an alternative method of service under Rule 5(b) will instead suffice. View "State, Department of Corrections v. DeRosa" on Justia Law

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This matter arose from alleged violations of the Health Care Consumer Billing and Disclosure Protection Act (“Balance Billing Act” or “Act”). The Louisiana Supreme Court granted certiorari review to resolve the question of whether a patient’s claims against a contracted healthcare provider for an alleged violation of La. R.S. 22:1874(A)(1) were delictual in nature. The consolidated lawsuits in this matter were filed by Matthew DePhillips and Earnest Williams, individually and on behalf of putative classes, against Hospital District No. 1 of Tangipahoa Parish d/b/a North Oaks Medical Center/North Oaks Health System (“North Oaks”). In February, 2011, Williams was injured in a motor vehicle accident. He sought emergency medical treatment from North Oaks. At the time of the accident, Williams was insured under an insurance policy administered by Louisiana Health Service & Indemnity Company d/b/a Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana (“BCBS”). North Oaks is a contracted healthcare provider with BCBS pursuant to a certain Member Provider Agreement (the “MPA”) between North Oaks and BCBS. After Williams’ treatment, North Oaks filed a claim with BCBS, and BCBS paid a discounted rate on the claims as provided by the MPA. Thereafter, North Oaks sought to collect from Williams by filing a medical lien against his liability insurance claim for the full and undiscounted charges. Williams alleged that North Oaks filed this lien despite being a contracted healthcare provider with BCBS and despite its legal and contractual requirements to accept the insurance as payment in full. The trial court denied the exceptions of no right of action for breach of contract and prescription, but granted the North Oaks’ exception of no cause of action for claims arising before the effective date of the Balance Billing Act. The court of appeal granted writs in part, finding DePhillips did not have a right of action to assert a claim for breach of the MPA, as he was neither a party nor a third-party beneficiary to that agreement. The appellate court denied North Oaks’ writ application insofar as it related to the trial court’s denial of its exception of prescription. After review, the Supreme Court determined plaintiff's claims were delictual in nature, subject a one-year prescriptive period. View "DePhillips v. Hospital Service Dist. No. 1 of Tangipahoa Parish d/b/a North Oaks Medical Center et al." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed a class action in state court alleging that Costco violated California Labor Code 1198 by failing to provide her and other employees suitable seating. After Costco removed the case to federal court under 28 U.S.C. 1332(a) and the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA), the district court ultimately granted summary judgment to plaintiff. The Ninth Circuit vacated the district court's grant of summary judgment with instructions to remand to state court, holding that the district court lacked subject matter jurisdiction at the time the action was removed to federal court. The panel first held that the district court lacked diversity jurisdiction under section 1332(a). The panel explained that, because plaintiff's pro-rata share of civil penalties, including attorney's fees, totaled $6,600 at the time of removal, and the claims of other member service employees may not be aggregated under Urbino v. Orkin Services of California, Inc., 726 F.3d 1118 (9th Cir. 2013), the $75,000 jurisdictional threshold was not met. The panel also held that the district court lacked subject matter jurisdiction under CAFA because plaintiff's stand-alone Private Attorney General Act lawsuit was not, and could not have been, filed under a state rule similar to a Rule 23 class action. Therefore, the district court erred by not remanding the case to state court. View "Canela v. Costco Wholesale Corp." on Justia Law

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The dispute in this case arose from an Environmental Quality Commission order, which concluded that petitioners were persons “controlling” an inactive landfill site and imposed liability on them for failing to per- form the statutory closure requirements. At issue here was whether the legislature intended that the category of persons “controlling” the landfill site would extend to those having the legal authority to control the site, as the commission concluded, or would be limited to “those persons actively involved in the operation or management of a landfill site,” as the Court of Appeals concluded. The Oregon Supreme Court concluded the legislature intended the category of persons “controlling” the site to include persons having the authority to control the site, regardless of whether that authority has been exercised. The matter was remanded to the Court of Appeals to consider petitioners’ remaining challenges to the order in light of the correct legal standard. View "Kinzua Resources v. DEQ" on Justia Law

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Uniloc filed patent infringement actions against Apple, which moved to dismiss, arguing that Uniloc had granted its creditor a license with the right to sublicense in the event of a Uniloc default. According to Apple, Uniloc had defaulted and “lacked the right to exclude Apple from using the patents.” Apple’s motion referenced material that Uniloc had designated as highly confidential. Uniloc asked the court to seal most of the materials in the parties’ filings, including citations to case law, quotations from published opinions, and 23 entire exhibits, including matters of public record. The court denied that motion. Uniloc sought reconsideration, stating that it was willing to make public more than 90 percent of the material it had originally sought to shield; it submitted a declaration including individual grounds for redacting or sealing the remaining materials and declarations from third-party licensees that disclosure would cause them significant competitive harm. The court denied Uniloc’s motion. The Federal Circuit affirmed with respect to Uniloc’s requests to seal its purportedly confidential information and that of its related entities and vacated with respect to licensees. In denying Uniloc’s “sweeping motion,” the court sent a strong message that litigants should submit narrow, well-supported sealing requests and “took seriously the presumption of public access.” The court failed to make sufficient findings on balancing the public’s right of access against the interests of the third parties in shielding their financial and licensing information from public view. View "Uniloc 2017 LLC v. Apple, Inc." on Justia Law