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A divorcing couple disputed custody of their child and division of their marital property. The wife alleged for the first time during trial that the husband had engaged in a pattern of domestic violence. The court found her testimony credible, applied the statutory domestic violence presumption, and awarded her primary physical and sole legal custody of the child. The husband filed a motion to reopen the evidence regarding domestic violence and substance abuse more than a month after the court’s oral decision. The court denied his motion. The court divided the marital property 60/40 in favor of the wife, awarded all of the real property to the husband, and ordered him to make an equalization payment. The husband appealed the denial of his motion to reopen the evidence and the property division. Because the husband waived any argument that he should be allowed to present additional evidence and the court did not abuse its discretion in its property division, the Alaska Supreme Court affirmed the trial court’s judgment. View "Burns-Marshall v. Krogman" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff-Appellant Rhonda Nesbitt was a former massage therapy student who attended a for-profit vocational school operated by Defendants-Appellees (“Steiner”).On behalf of a class of former students, Nesbitt brought suit claiming the students qualified as employees of Steiner under the Fair Labor Standards Act, and alleging Steiner violated the FLSA by failing to pay minimum wage. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Steiner, holding that the students were not employees of the schools under the FLSA. Finding no reversible error in the district court’s judgment, the Tenth Circuit affirmed. View "Nesbitt v. FCNH" on Justia Law

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From November 2004 to January 2011, The Door Shop, Inc., used $36,081.86 of electricity from Alcorn County Electric Power Association (ACE). But because of a billing error, it was charged only $10,396.28. Upon discovering the error, ACE sought to recover the $25,658.58 difference via supplemental billing. The Door Shop refused to pay, which prompted ACE to file suit. ACE maintained that The Door Shop was liable for the underbilled amount and moved for summary judgment, which the circuit court granted. This appeal followed. Finding no reversible error, the Mississippi Supreme Court affirmed. View "The Door Shop, Inc. v. Alcorn County Electric Power Association" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's order holding the record custodian for various collective entities in contempt for his failure to comply with an order to respond to twelve grand jury subpoenas. The panel held that Braswell v. United States, 487 U.S. 99, 104 (1988), remained good law. The panel further held that the Fifth Amendment provides no protection to a collective entity's records custodians—and that the size of the collective entity and the extent to which a jury would assume that the individual seeking to assert the privilege produced the documents are not relevant. Therefore, the custodian's challenge to the contempt order failed. View "In re Twelve Grand Jury Suboenas" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs, former Starbucks baristas, sued the company claiming it improperly calculated state and federal tax withholding, and as a result, improperly deducted those withholdings from plaintiffs’ paychecks. As a result, plaintiffs claimed they were not paid the full wages they had earned, violating state wage-and-hour laws. After the case was removed to federal court and then remanded back to state court, the trial court ruled on numerous issues. Starbucks moved the trial court to dismiss plaintiffs’ claims. Starbucks petitioned the Oregon Supreme Court for an alternative writ of mandamus, raising questions of whether plaintiffs’ claims were prohibited by the AIA, and whether they were prohibited by the statutory immunity provisions. The trial court issued an alternative writ of mandamus. After the trial court declined to vacate its order, the matter returned to the Supreme Court. To determine whether direct appeal provided Starbucks with an adequate remedy, the Supreme Court would have had to resolve numerous complex issues of both state and federal law, not all of which had been briefed adequately. The Court therefore dismissed the alternative writ of mandamus as improvidently allowed, and remanded the case for further development of the record. View "Fredrickson v. Starbucks Corp." on Justia Law

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In 2009, Seneca Sustainable Energy LLC (Seneca) began construction of a biomass cogeneration facility on property that it owned outside of Eugene, Oregon. In this direct appeal of the Regular Division of the Tax Court, the Department of Revenue argued the Tax Court erred in concluding that it had jurisdiction to consider a challenge brought by Seneca to the department’s determination of the real market value of Seneca’s electric cogeneration facility and the notation of the real market value on the assessment roll for two tax years, 2012-13 and 2013-14. The department also argued that the Tax Court erred in concluding that the department’s determinations of the property’s real market values for the 2012-13 and 2013-14 tax years were incorrect and in setting the values at significantly lower amounts. Finding no reversible error, the Oregon Supreme Court affirmed the Tax Court’s rulings. View "Seneca Sustainable Energy, LLC v. Dept. of Rev." on Justia Law

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A magistrate court granted a taxpayer part of the relief requested. The magistrate accepted the property values that taxpayer requested for the two most recent tax years but did not accept the values that taxpayer requested for the first four tax years. Taxpayer appealed the magistrate’s decision by filing a timely complaint in the regular division of the tax court. The Department of Revenue (the department) did not appeal or seek any affirmative relief from the magistrate’s decision. Instead, the department moved to dismiss the complaint that taxpayer had filed in the tax court. The tax court granted the department’s motion, dismissed taxpayer’s complaint, and entered a judgment that gave effect to the magistrate’s decision. Taxpayer appealed from the tax court’s judgment to the Oregon Supreme Court, and the department has cross-appealed. The primary question presented for the Supreme Court’s review was whether the tax court erred in giving effect to the magistrate’s decision granting taxpayer’s requested relief for the two most recent tax years. Finding no reversible error, the Supreme Court affirmed the tax court. View "Work v. Dept. of Rev." on Justia Law

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The Association sought a writ of mandate directing the appellate division to vacate its order granting a petition for writ of mandate and directing the trial court to rule on the merits of a special motion to strike, Code of Civil Procedure 425.16, filed by defendant and real party in interest. The Association wanted the trial court to enter a new and different order denying real party in interest's petition for writ of mandate. The Court of Appeal held that the restrictive language of Code of Civil procedure section 92(d), which limits the type of motions to strike that may be brought in a limited civil case, precludes the filing of a special motion to strike under section 425.16. The court reasoned that construing section 92(d) as barring anti-SLAPP motions in limited civil cases was also in harmony with the public policy of economic litigation in such cases. Accordingly, the court granted the Association's petition for writ of mandate. View "1550 Laurel Owner's Association, Inc. v. Appellate Division of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County" on Justia Law

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Appellant CompoSecure, LLC. appealed a nearly $17 million Chancery Court judgment for past-due commissions, legal fees and expenses, pre-judgment interest, and contract damages arising out of a sales agreement with Appellee CardUX, LLC. On appeal, CompoSecure argued the Court of Chancery erred by holding: (1) the Sales Agreement was voidable, not void, under CompoSecure’s Amended and Restated Limited Liability Company Agreement; and (2) CompoSecure impliedly ratified the Sales Agreement. CardUX argued that, even if CompoSecure were correct, the Delaware Supreme Court should enforce the Sales Agreement based on a provision in the LLC Agreement that addresses reliance by third parties on certain company actions, or based upon quantum meruit. After review, the Supreme Court determined the trial court needed to determine whether the Sales Agreement was a “Restricted Activity” as that term was defined by the parties’ contract. The Supreme Court agreed with the Court of Chancery’s conclusions that: (1) the Related Party Provision (leaving aside the Restricted Activities Provision) rendered the Sales Agreement voidable, not void, and was therefore subject to equitable defenses; (2) the parties impliedly ratified the Sales Agreement under New Jersey law; and (3) the Third Party Reliance Provision did not save the Sales Agreement from a failure to comply with the Related Party or Restricted Activities Provisions. Accordingly, the Supreme Court affirmed in part, reversed in part and remanded for further proceedings. View "Composecure, L.L.C. v. Cardux, LLC, et al." on Justia Law

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Guerrero came from Mexico to the U.S. with his parents in 1990 at age 11. In 1995, he created a false Social Security number (SSN) to get a job. He secured a legitimate SSN in 2007. He became a U.S. citizen in 2011. He applied to become a correctional officer with the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR). He passed written and physical exams and was placed on the eligibility list. CDCR’s background questionnaire asked, “Have you ever had or used a social security number other than the one you used on this questionnaire?” Guerrero answered “yes” and explained. Based on that answer, CDCR informed Guerrero he was no longer eligible to become a correctional officer. The State Personnel Board upheld the decision. Guerro filed a federal suit, citing title VII; California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (Government Code, 12940); national origin discrimination in a state-conducted program (Government Code 11135); 42 U.S.C. 1983; and state equal protection and due process violations. The federal court dismissed the state law claims on Eleventh Amendment grounds, effectively limiting potential money recovery to backpay. To recoup damages, Guerrero filed suit in state court. After Guerrero won judgment in the federal action, the superior court dismissed his state claims under California claim preclusion principles. The court of appeal reversed, reasoning that federal law, not California law, governs the preclusive effect of the federal judgment, and provides an exception to claim preclusion where jurisdictional limitations in a prior suit blocked a request for complete relief. View "Guerrero v. California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation" on Justia Law