Justia Civil Procedure Opinion Summaries

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Plaintiffs-appellants, Craig Immel, Terry Young, Herb Beattie, and Ray Pearcey (collectively, "Taxpayers"), sought a declaratory judgment that Defendants-appellees, Tulsa Public Facilities Authority (TPFA) and the City of Tulsa (City), could not sell 8.8 acres of park land to a private developer for the construction of a commercial shopping center because the land was held in a public trust expressly as a park for the people. All parties moved for summary judgment, and the trial court granted the TPFA and the City's joint motion for summary judgment as to all claims. Taxpayers appealed. The Oklahoma Supreme Court held: (1) Taxpayers had standing; (2) the TPFA and the City could not sell the 8.8 acres of park land to a private developer for construction of a commercial shopping center because the land was indeed held in a public trust for the people, unless it was abandoned and/or was no longer fit for its intended use as a public park; (3) there were disputed material facts as to whether the TPFA and the City lawfully abandoned the 8.8 acres of park land; and (4) there were disputed material facts as to whether the expenditure met the public purpose requirement under the Oklahoma Constitution. The trial court's order granting the TPFA and the City's joint motion for summary judgment was reversed and the case remanded for further proceedings. View "Immel et al. v. Tulsa Public Facilities Authority" on Justia Law

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The Loughrans defaulted on their home mortgage in 2011. In the ensuing foreclosure litigation, the Loughrans pursued procedural delay tactics; they remain in possession of their home despite not having made a mortgage payment in nine years. In 2019, with their state‐court foreclosure litigation more than seven years old, the Loughrans accused U.S. Bank and its counsel of committing fraud in the course of those proceedings. Months later, sensing that their fraud claim was going nowhere, the Loughrans went to federal court, with a complaint that copied and pasted large swaths of text from their state‐court filings.The district court stayed the federal proceedings, noting the practical identity between the federal and state actions. The Seventh Circuit affirmed, first concluding that it had appellate jurisdiction because the stay order was entered with the expectation that the state litigation would “largely” resolve the federal litigation. The district court properly stayed the case; the state action will likely “dispose of a majority of the factual and legal issues,” so a stay saved judicial resources. At the time of the order, the state‐court proceedings were well advanced, The Loughrans essentially were asking the federal judiciary to monitor and discipline how parties conduct themselves in state court. View "Loughran v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A." on Justia Law

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In December 2014, Steve Tenny sustained a right-sided lumbar disc herniation injury during the course of his employment with Loomis Armored US (Loomis). He immediately began treatment, receiving a series of right-sided steroid injections in his back. At some point shortly after the second injection, Tenny began to complain of increasing left hip and groin pain and underwent testing and treatment for these symptoms. However, the worker’s compensation insurance surety, Ace American Insurance Co., ultimately denied payment for treatment related to the left-side groin pain. Following the matter going to hearing, the Referee recommended that the Industrial Commission find that the left-sided symptoms were causally related to Tenny’s December 2014 industrial accident. The Industrial Commission adopted the Referee’s findings, and after unsuccessfully moving for reconsideration, the employer and surety (collectively, "Defendants") appealed to the Idaho Supreme Court. At issue before the Supreme Court was the question of causation: Was the left-side groin pain experienced by Tenny causally related to his industrial accident? Finding no reversible error, the Idaho Supreme Court affirmed the Industrial Commission's decision. View "Tenny v. Loomis Armored US, LLC" on Justia Law

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In 2005, Appellee Reorganized FLI, Inc.1 (“Farmland”) brought an action against Appellants alleging violations of the Kansas Restraint of Trade Act (“KRTA”). Farmland sought, amongst other things, full consideration damages pursuant to Kan. Stat. Ann. section 50-115. In 2019, Appellants moved for summary judgment on Farmland’s claims, arguing the repeal of section 50-115 operated retroactively to preclude Farmland from obtaining any relief. The Kansas District Court denied the motion for summary judgment but granted Appellants’ motion for leave to file an interlocutory appeal with the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. Appellants sought reversal of the district court’s denial of summary judgment and a ruling ordering the district court to enter judgment in their favor. After review, for reasons different from the district court, the Tenth Circuit concluded 50-115 applied retroactively to foreclose Farmland from recovering full consideration damages, Farmland was entitled to other relief if it prevailed on the merits of its claims. Thus, the repeal of 50-115 did not leave Farmland without a remedy and Appellants were not entitled to summary judgment. View "Reorganized FLI v. Williams Companies" on Justia Law

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A prospective farmer sought loans for a poultry farm to be built in Caroline County, Maryland. The lender applied for a Farm Service Agency (FSA) loan guarantee. Regulations interpreting the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), 42 U.S.C. 4321, then required FSA to conduct an environmental assessment. FSA consulted with local, state, and federal agencies; published drafts of an environmental assessment for public comment; and considered a private environmental consulting firm's recommendations. FSA issued a “finding of no significant impact” rather than a more detailed environmental impact statement. FSA provided the loan guarantee. The farm has been operating since 2016 and houses 192,000 birds. Two years after the loan was approved, FWW, an environmental group, filed suit, alleging that the failure to prepare an environmental impact statement violated NEPA, purportedly injuring thousands of FWW members, including one who lived adjoining the farm and was subjected to loud noises, bright lights, foul odors, and flies. Another FWW member, who fishes nearby, asserted concerns about pollution and aesthetic and recreational impacts. The district court granted FSA summary judgment on the merits.The D.C. Circuit vacated and remanded for dismissal. FWW lacks standing; it failed to establish that its claims are redressable by favorable judicial action. It is not “likely, as opposed to merely speculative,” that vacatur of the loan guarantee would redress its members’ alleged injuries. The loan guarantee might have been a “substantial contributing factor” to the farm’s construction, but a new status quo existed when FWW filed suit. View "Food & Water Watch v. United States Department of Agriculture" on Justia Law

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Gater sought to renew a default judgment, which the district court entered in 2000, that enforced a Russian arbitration award in favor of Lloyd's Underwriters against appellants. Lloyd's assigned its default judgment to Gater in 2012. The district court entered a renewal judgment in Gater's favor after concluding that it had personal jurisdiction over appellants as well as subject-matter jurisdiction over the renewal claims.The Second Circuit vacated the district court's judgment in Gater's renewal action, concluding that the district court lacked personal jurisdiction over Moldovagaz. The court explained that the Due Process Clause prohibits federal courts from exercising personal jurisdiction over Moldovagaz because Moldovagaz has no contacts with the United States. Furthermore, Moldovagaz is not an alter ego of the Republic of Moldova.The court also concluded that the district court lacked subject-matter jurisdiction over Gater's claim for renewal against the Republic of Moldova. The court explained that the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) provides that federal courts lack subject matter jurisdiction over claims brought against foreign states unless one of the FSIA's immunity exceptions applies. In this case, the Republic of Moldova is a foreign state and no immunity exception applies to Gater's claims against it. Furthermore, the Republic of Moldova was not a party to the underlying arbitration agreement and no equitable theory, even assuming such theories apply under 28 U.S.C. 1605(a)(6), supports abrogating the Republic's sovereign immunity here. Accordingly, the court remanded with instructions to dismiss the renewal action for lack of jurisdiction. The court nevertheless affirmed the district court's refusal to vacate its original default judgment because appellants have failed to demonstrate that the district court had no arguable basis to exercise jurisdiction to enter that judgment. View "Gater Assets Ltd. v. AO Moldovagaz" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff, a civilly confined person under Article 10 of the New York Mental Hygiene Law, filed claims under 42 U.S.C. 1983, challenging the constitutionality of aspects of his Article 10 proceedings. The district court dismissed the complaint because he filed his claims after the expiration of the applicable three-year statute of limitations. During the pendency of his appeal, the Second Circuit has deducted court fees from plaintiff's institutional account at the Central New York Psychiatric Center pursuant to the filing fee requirement of the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) that applies to a "prisoner" proceeding in forma pauperis. Plaintiff now moves for restoration of those fees.The Second Circuit granted plaintiff's motion for restoration of fees deducted from his patient account and directed the Clerk of Court to refund those fees and to cease further collections. The court concluded that plaintiff, as a civil detainee who completed his criminal sentence, was no longer a "prisoner" under the PLRA when he filed his lawsuit. Therefore, he is not subject to the fee provisions under the PLRA. View "Jones v. Cuomo" on Justia Law

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The hospital, located in Philadelphia, received a reclassification into the New York City area, which would sizably increase the hospital’s Medicare reimbursements due to that area’s higher wage index, 42 U.S.C. 1395ww(d). Although a statute makes such reclassifications effective for three fiscal years, the agency updated the geographical boundaries for the New York City area before the close of that period and reassigned the hospital to an area in New Jersey with an appreciably lower wage index. The hospital successfully sued three agency officials in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.The Third Circuit vacated and remanded for dismissal. The Medicare Act, 42 U.S.C. 1395oo(f)(1), channels reimbursement disputes through administrative adjudication as a near-absolute prerequisite to judicial review. The hospital did not pursue its claim through administrative adjudication before suing in federal court. By not following the statutory channeling requirement, the hospital has no valid basis for subject-matter jurisdiction. View "Temple University Hospital, Inc. v. Secretary United States Department of Health & Human Services" on Justia Law

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Appellants Westwood Homes, Inc., Lucille Westwood Limited Partnership, and Deborah Westwood appealed the denial of their joint motion for attorney fees. Westwood Homes and Lucille Westwood Limited Partnership argued they were entitled to attorney fees for defeating motions to amend judgments against a related entity, Westwood Montserrat, Ltd., to add them as alter ego judgment debtors. Deborah Westwood argued the trial court erred in denying her unnoticed oral request for an order releasing an undertaking to her. After review of the trial court record, the Court of Appeal affirmed that portion of the trial court’s order denying Deborah Westwood’s motion for attorney fees. The Court reversed that portion of the trial court’s order denying Westwood Homes, Inc. and Lucille Westwood Limited Partnership’s motion for attorney fees and remanded for a determination of reasonable fees. View "Westwood Homes, Inc. v. AGCPII Villa Salerno Member, LLC" on Justia Law

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Page, a former advisor to the Trump Presidential Campaign, sued the Democratic National Committee, a subsidiary DNC Corporation, the Perkins law firm, and two Perkins partners. Page alleged defamation based on news stories published in 2016 concerning contacts between the campaign and Russian officials. Having advanced only violations of state law, and alleging that no defendant is a citizen of his home state of Oklahoma, Page relied on diversity jurisdiction. The district court dismissed the case for lack of personal jurisdiction.The Seventh Circuit affirmed, citing the lack of subject matter jurisdiction on the basis that Perkins (with a few of its U.S.-based partners working and living abroad) does not qualify as a proper defendant for purposes of diversity jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. 1332. Though complete diversity typically hinges on whether any parties on both sides of a lawsuit share citizenship, all parties must fall within the jurisdiction created by the diversity statute. If a party cannot sue or be sued under a provision of the diversity statute, the suit lacks complete diversity. Stateless citizens—because they are not (by definition) a citizen of a state, as section 1332(a) requires—destroy complete diversity just as much as a defendant who shares citizenship with a plaintiff. View "Page v. Democratic National Committee" on Justia Law