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The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of 104 plaintiffs' claims related to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Plaintiffs, individuals and associations located in Mexico that rely on the fishing industry as a primary source of income, argued that the district court abused its discretion in making dismissal with prejudice the remedy for failing to comply with pretrial order (PTO) 60. The court held that plaintiffs' failure to comply with PTO 60 constituted a clear record of delay considering the number of opportunities the district court gave plaintiffs to either comply with PTO 60, explain why they could not do so, or show documentation of their attorneys' efforts. The court also held that the district court's explicit warnings and second chances illustrated that lesser sanctions would not serve the best interests of justice. View "Barrera v. BP, PLC" on Justia Law

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BTH Quitman Hickory, LLC, challenged the amount of the ad valorem taxes assessed by the Clarke County Board of Supervisors by appealing the assessments to circuit court. However, BTH Quitman did not submit a bond with its appeals; therefore, the Board of Supervisors moved to dismiss the appeals. The circuit court found in favor of BTH Quitman, and the Board filed this interlocutory appeal. Because the Mississippi Supreme Court addressed a similar issue in its opinion in Natchez Hospital Co., LLC v. Adams County Board of Supervisors, 238 So. 3d 1162 (Miss. 2018), it reversed the circuit court’s judgment and remanded the case for the circuit court to dismiss BTH Quitman’s case for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. View "Board of Supervisors of Clarke County, Mississippi v. BTH Quitman Hickory, LLC" on Justia Law

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In late 2015, Mississippi filed a complaint against fifteen pharmaceutical manufacturers and their affiliates (“Defendants”). In this interlocutory appeal, the issue this case presented for the Mississippi Supreme Court's review centered on whether the location of a foreign corporation’s registered agent was relevant when determining the appropriate venue for an action. The Supreme Court found that the adoption of the Registered Agents Act (“RAA”) made the location of a corporation’s registered agent irrelevant for purposes of venue. View "Purdue Pharma L.P. v. Mississippi" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the county court denying Petitioners’ petition for relief under Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 211, 3, holding that the single justice correctly denied extraordinary relief. Petitioners were the defendants in a summary process action commenced in the district court by a bank. A judge found for the bank, and the Appellate Division affirmed. While their application for further appellate review was pending, Petitioners filed this Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 211, 3 petition seeking relief from the district court’s denial of their motion to amend their answer to assert new defenses and counterclaims and to request a jury trial. A single justice denied relief on the ground that Petitioners had, and were pursuing, an avenue of relief in the ordinary appellate process. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding that Petitioners’ claims could be and were raised in the ordinary appellate process. View "Costello v. Merrill Lynch Credit Corp." on Justia Law

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After plaintiff-appellant Joshua Pagnini failed to respond to a demurrer filed by defendants-respondents Union Bank, N.A. and Unionbancal Mortgage Corporation, the trial court sustained the demurrer and entered judgment in favor of respondents. Appellant appealed the court’s denial of his motion for relief under Code of Civil Procedure section 473 (b). The Court of Appeal concluded the trial court was obligated to grant relief under the mandatory provision of Section 473(b), where appellant presented a sworn declaration from his counsel attesting that counsel mistakenly failed to respond to the demurrer by timely filing an amended complaint. Respondents’ demurrer was effectively a “dismissal motion” and appellant’s counsel’s mistaken failure to respond to the motion obligated the trial court to relieve appellant from counsel’s error. The trial court's order was reversed and the matter remanded for further proceedings. View "Pagnini v. Union Bank, N.A." on Justia Law

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Acting under Probate Code section 16440(b), the trial court denied a petition brought by Orange Catholic Foundation and Kevin Vann, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Orange (collectively, the Church) to remove Rosie Mary Arvizu from her position as trustee of the Josephine Kennedy Trust (Trust) and for damages. The Trust gave a life estate in Kennedy’s house (the Residence) to Paul Senez, her very dear family friend of over 60 years, provided that he pay for certain expenses related to the Residence. The Trust further provided that upon Senez’s death, the Residence was to be sold and the proceeds were to be given to the Church for the benefit of the needy elderly and abused children. The Church alleged that Arvizu (Kennedy’s niece and the successor trustee) breached her duties as trustee by: (1) improperly using Trust funds to pay expenses that should have been borne by Senez (who was elderly, destitute, suffering from dementia, and unable to cover the expenses himself); (2) failing to evict Senez when he could not pay those expenses; and (3) not promptly renting out or selling the Residence after Senez’s death (a delay which occurred in part due to Arvizu’s cancer treatment and other health issues, and which fortuitously benefited the Church because the Residence appreciated by $136,000 during the period of Arvizu’s inaction). Finding no abuse of discretion, the Court of Appeal affirmed the judgment. View "Orange Catholic Foundation v. Arvizu" on Justia Law

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The Pennsylvania Supreme Court granted discretionary review to address two issues associated with workers’ compensation claims by firefighters suffering from cancer. First, the Court had to determine the evidentiary requirements for a claimant to demonstrate that he or she has an “occupational disease,” as that term is defined in Section 108(r) of the Workers’ Compensation Act (the “Act”). Second, the Court had to decide whether epidemiological evidence may be used by an employer to rebut the evidentiary presumption that the claimant’s cancer is compensable as set forth in Section 301(f) of the Act. With respect to the first issue, the Supreme Court concluded that pursuant to Section 108(r), the claimant has an initial burden to establish that his or her cancer is a type of cancer that is capable of being caused by exposure to a known IARC Group 1 carcinogen. With respect to the second, the Court concluded that epidemiological evidence was not sufficient to rebut the evidentiary presumption under Section 301(f). View "City of Phila. FD v. WCAB; Appeal of: Sladek, S." on Justia Law

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The underlying dispute in this case involved a commercial transaction between H2O Environmental, Inc. (H2O) and Farm Supply Distributors, Inc. (Farm Supply). Following a bench trial, H2O was awarded $7,354.64 for Farm Supply’s breach of an express oral contract. The magistrate court subsequently awarded attorney’s fees to H2O pursuant to Idaho Code section 12-120(3), but limited its award to the amount in controversy. H2O appealed to the district court, claiming that the magistrate court abused its discretion. The district court affirmed and awarded attorney’s fees to Farm Supply. H2O timely appealed. The Idaho Supreme Court determined the district court erred when it affirmed the magistrate court’s award of attorney fees: nothing in the record explained the relationship between the magistrate court’s evaluation of the Idaho Rule of Civil Procedure 54(e)(3) factors and its decision regarding the amount to award for attorney’s fees. “It is not enough for a trial court to acknowledge the existence of the Rule 54(e)(3) factors; rather, it must appear that there is a reasoned application of those factors in the trial court’s decision regarding the amount of attorney’s fees to be awarded.” The Supreme Court reversed and remanded for further proceedings. View "H20 Environmental v. Farm Supply" on Justia Law

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At issue in this case was whether the False Claims Act (FCA) allows a qui tam plaintiff to intervene in criminal forfeiture proceedings when the government chooses to prosecute fraud rather than to intervene in the qui tam plaintiff's action. The Eleventh Circuit held that, even if the FCA could be read to allow intervention, the statutes governing criminal forfeiture specifically barred it, with exceptions that did not apply in this case. The court held that the criminal forfeiture statutes controlled and agreed with the district court's denial of the interested party's motion to intervene. The court held that, because denial was proper, the court no longer had jurisdiction over the appeal. Accordingly, the court dismissed the appeal based on lack of jurisdiction. View "United States v. Couch" on Justia Law

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Sometime in 2001, Nancy Nicolaou was bitten by a tick on her left ankle, after which she developed a rash and experienced numbness and tingling in her left toe, fatigue, and lower back pain. This appeal presented the issue of whether Appellants Nancy and Nicholas Nicolaou satisfied the discovery rule so as to toll the running of the statute of limitations on their medical malpractice action filed against Appellee health care providers for failing to diagnose and treat Mrs. Nicolaou’s Lyme disease. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of appellees, deeming appellants’ action time-barred. The Superior Court affirmed, holding that the discovery rule did not toll the statute of limitations because, as a matter of law, appellants failed to establish that they pursued their action with reasonable diligence. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court held summary judgment was granted improperly because the determination of whether appellants acted with due diligence under the circumstances presented was one of fact for a jury to decide. View "Nicolaou v. Martin" on Justia Law