Justia Civil Procedure Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Civil Procedure
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Firefighters sued Favro, who crashed his car into a firetruck before receiving aid from the firefighters, alleging that Favro was negligent in failing to comply with their directions and thereby caused them to be harmed by another crashing vehicle.The Firefighter’s Rule negates liability "by one whose negligence causes or contributes to the fire which in turn causes the death or injury of the [firefighter].” with exceptions. Civil Code 1714.9(a)(1) provides: “any person is responsible not only for the results of that person’s willful acts causing injury to a" firefighter "also for any injury occasioned to [the firefighter] by the want of ordinary care or skill in the management of the person’s property or person," "Where the conduct causing the injury occurs after the person knows or should have known of the presence of the" firefighter. The court instructed the jury on: “Assumption of Risk/Exception/Occupation Involving Inherent Risk” The Special Verdict Form asked: Did Favro increase the risks to [the firefighers] through conduct occurring after he knew or should have known of the presence of the firefighters?” The presiding juror marked, “No.”The court of appeal ordered a new trial. Favro’s counsel committed misconduct by misrepresenting to the jury the law applicable to these unusual circumstances, stating that Favro could not be held liable unless he had increased the risk to the firefighters “beyond the risk that’s inherent to their job.”. A subsequent admonition failed to cure the error. View "Rattary v. Favro" on Justia Law

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Petitioner is a native and citizen of Mexico. He was admitted to the United States as a lawful permanent resident in 2002. But in 2019, a jury convicted him of possessing methamphetamine, a controlled substance, with intent to deliver, in violation of Idaho Code section 37-2732(a)(1)(A). The Department of Homeland Security initiated removal proceedings in 2021, charging that Petitioner is removable (1) under 8 U.S.C. Section 1227(a)(2)(A)(iii), for having been convicted of an aggravated felony related to illicit trafficking in a controlled substance, and (2) under 8 U.S.C. Section 1227(a)(2)(B)(i), for having been convicted of violating a state law relating to a controlled substance. Petitioner filed a motion to terminate proceedings, asserting that his conviction is neither for an aggravated felony nor for a crime related to a controlled substance. The immigration judge disagreed and ordered Petitioner’s removal. The Board of Immigration Appeals (“BIA”) dismissed Petitioner’s appeal. Petitioner sought review of the final order of removal.   The Ninth Circuit denied Petitioner’s petition. Applying the modified categorical approach, the panel concluded that Petitioner’s conviction record clearly documents that his conviction involved methamphetamine, a controlled substance under federal and Idaho law. The panel next concluded that the required mental state under federal and Idaho law—knowledge—is the same in all relevant respects: the defendant either must know what the substance is (even if the defendant does not know that it is controlled) or must know that the substance is illegal (even if the defendant does not know what the substance is). View "TELLEZ-RAMIREZ V. GARLAND" on Justia Law

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The holders of the second priority mortgage, Ray and Susan Montierth brought a foreclosure action against the holders of the first priority mortgage, Hendrik Dorssers and Justice Prevails, LLC, (collectively “Dorssers”), and a variety of other parties with an interest in the real property. In their pleadings, Dorssers asserted that their priority interest as the holder of the first priority mortgage still prevailed over all other encumbrances. In Dorssers view, a payment made by the debtor—years after the statute of limitations had run on the mortgage—revived the previously stale claim to foreclose their first priority mortgage and reinitiated the statute of limitations under Idaho Code section 5-238. However, on summary judgment the district court concluded that Idaho Code section 5-238 only applied when the payment was made prior to the lapse of the statute of limitations. Accordingly, the district court granted summary judgment to the Montierths after finding that no payment had been made by the obligor prior to the lapse of the statute of limitations and concluding that Dorssers’ mortgage was unenforceable as a matter of law. The district court subsequently denied Dorssers’ motion for reconsideration and objection to the proposed judgment. Thereafter, the district court entered a judgment and decree of foreclosure in favor of the Montierths, which specifically stated: “[t]hat the [Montierths’] lien interest is superior in time to all other parties’ liens, except the mortgage of Hendrik Dorssers and Justice Prevails, LLC, which is time barred and therefor [sic], unenforceable.” On appeal, Dorssers argue the district court erred: (1) in concluding that the partial payments did not extend the statute of limitations for enforcement of the first priority mortgage under Idaho Code section 5-238; (2) in the alternative, in concluding that a junior lien holder could quiet title to a senior lien holder; and (3) in issuing an order to quash the lis pendens they recorded after the appeal was filed. The Idaho Supreme Court reversed, finding the district court erred in its determinations: (1) to revive the statute of limitations the payment must have been made prior to the lapse of the statute of limitations; (2) the “transfer of money” was not a payment in recognition of the debt as a matter of law; and (3) the payment was not made by an obligor as a matter of law. In addition, the Court found the district court erred in striking the lis pendens. The matter was remanded for further proceedings. View "Montierth v. Dorssers" on Justia Law

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Defendant Que Phung Thi Nguyen allegedly threatened to expose the existence of plaintiff Bruce Tran's child she birthed during his marriage. Between 2010 and 2011, the Trans separated. During their separation, Tran began a romantic relationship with Nguyen; a few weeks into the relationship, Nguyen informed Tran she was pregnant with his child. Shortly thereafter, in June 2011, Tran ended the relationship. According to the complaint filed in this case, Nguyen later “began to blackmail” Tran by demanding that he pay her thousands of dollars, or she would disclose their relationship and the child’s existence to his wife. In this case, the parties disputed whether California had a civil cause of action for extortion. The trial court agreed with defendant Nguyen’s contention plaintiff Bruce Tran’s extortion cause of action could only move forward if it arose out of a threat to initiate a false criminal or civil prosecution—and thus no such cause of action could be based on the facts in this case. The Court of Appeal disagreed: Civil Code sections 1566, 1567, and 1570 established a right to rescission in cases in which a person’s consent to a transaction was obtained by “menace”: threats of confinement, of unlawful violence to the person or his or her property, or of injury to a person’s character. "This is effectively the civil version of extortion." However, because the cause of action which sought rescission sounded in contract, rather than tort, no emotional distress damages were recoverable. Because the civil extortion/rescission cause of action did not give rise to emotional distress damages, the Court found no error in the portion of the court’s order sustaining Nguyen’s demurrer to Tran’s separate cause of action for intentional infliction of emotional distress. The Court consequently reversed the judgment entered against Tran, and remanded the case with directions to allow him leave to amend his cause of action for recovery of the funds he paid to Nguyen as a result of her threats to reveal their affair—and the existence of their child—to his wife. View "Tran v. Nguyen" on Justia Law

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Petitioner petitioned for a writ of mandamus, alleging that the district court has unduly delayed holding a consolidated trial on the merits of her claims and a hearing on her motion for preliminary injunction.   The Fourth Circuit denied the petition. The court explained that after reviewing the petition and the record of the district court proceedings, that either of these latter two factors support the granting of a writ of mandamus. The court explained that in the petition, Petitioner refered to her right to a “prompt evidentiary hearing” and, alternatively, to her “clear and indisputable right to expedited treatment of her PI motion” She asserted that this right is rooted in a statute, 28 U.S.C. Section 1657(a), as well as Rule 40 and Rule 65(a)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The court wrote that none of the sources entitle Petitioner to a trial prior to the currently scheduled trial date of December 11, 2023. To be sure, Section 1657(a) requires the district court in this case to “expedite the consideration of” Petitioner’s PI motion, and Rule 40 similarly requires the district court to “give priority” to that motion. But the record in this case, despite Petitioner’s protestations to the contrary, establishes that the district court has repeatedly attempted to do so. View "In re: Caryn Strickland" on Justia Law

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At a coffee shop in Calabasas, David Delrahim made Edwart Der Rostamian a business proposal. Rostamian got his notebook, asked a server for a pen, and worked with Delrahim to compose two pages of text. When they were done, each man signed the paper. Rostamian later sued Delrahim on contract claims. The trial court granted Delrahim’s motion for summary judgment, ruling the Calabasas writing was too indefinite to be a contract.   The Second Appellate District affirmed the order dismissing the tortious interference causes of action. The court reversed as to the breach of contract, specific performance, and unfair business practices causes of action. The court explained that before Rostamian and Delrahim wrote and signed the Writing, their discussions were freewheeling and wide-ranging. Rostamian was “under contract” and in escrow with Mekhail, so one possible form of the deal would be to complete the escrow and thus to make Rostamian the intermediate buyer, who then would sell to Delrahim, who would become the ultimate buyer. Another possibility was for Delrahim to “replace” Rostamian in the escrow, thus again making Delrahim the ultimate buyer. Or Delrahim could become Rostamian’s partner, or he could become an investor in the deal. The two men were canvassing possibilities before they reached an agreement and drafted the Writing. In the portion of the declaration the trial court cited, Rostamian explained that the Writing set out Delrahim’s promise to allow Rostamian to own the four dealer sites. Rostamian’s deposition answer did not contradict Rostamian’s declaration. View "Tiffany Builders, LLC v. Delrahim" on Justia Law

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At issue in this case is whether ORS 12.115(1) applied to actions in which plaintiffs allege their attorney negligently caused injury consisting solely of financial loss—here, the cost to plaintiffs of attempting to defend themselves against a claim for unpaid federal taxes and the anticipated cost of paying that tax liability. To this, the Oregon Supreme Court concluded the legislature intended the phrase “negligent injury to person or property” in ORS 12.115(1) to include negligence claims seeking to recover for the kind of injury to economic interests that plaintiffs have alleged. View "Marshall v. PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff is a resident of California. While present in California, Plaintiff used his iPhone’s Safari browser to navigate to the website of California-based retailer IABMFG to purchase fitness apparel. Although Plaintiff claims he did not know it at the time, IABMFG’s website used software and code from Shopify, Inc. to process customer orders and payments. Shopify, Inc. is a Canadian corporation with its headquarters in Ottawa, Canada. Plaintiff filed a putative class action lawsuit in California alleging that Shopify violated various California privacy and unfair competition laws because it deliberately concealed its involvement in consumer transactions. The district court agreed, dismissing the second amended complaint without leave to amend. Plaintiff timely appealed.   The Ninth Circuit affirmed. For specific jurisdiction to exist over Shopify, Plaintiff’s claim must arise out of or relate to Shopify’s forum-related activities. The panel held that there was no causal relationship between Shopify’s broader business contacts in California and Plaintiff’s claims because these contacts did not cause Plaintiff’s harm. Nor did Plaintiff’s claims “relate to” Shopify’s broader business activities in California outside of its extraction and retention of plaintiff’s data. Because there was an insufficient relationship between plaintiff's claims and Shopify’s broader business contacts in California, the activities relevant to the specific jurisdiction analysis were those that caused Plaintiff’s injuries: Shopify’s collection, retention, and use of consumer data obtained from persons who made online purchases while in California. The panel held that Shopify, which provides nationwide web-based payment processing services to online merchants, did not expressly aim its conduct toward California. View "BRANDON BRISKIN V. SHOPIFY, INC., ET AL" on Justia Law

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The issue this appeal raised concerned a default judgment awarded to Scott and Natalie Pinkham against appellants David Plate, Rebeccah Jensen, and their company, Three Peaks Homes, LLC. When Appellants’ attorney withdrew in the middle of the case, Appellants failed to timely designate new counsel as required by Idaho Rule of Civil Procedure 11.3. Accordingly, a default was entered by the district court. Later, the district court, using a form prepared by the Pinkhams’ attorney, awarded the Pinkhams a default judgment of almost $650,000 without: (1) the amount of damages being specified in the Pinkhams’ complaint; or (2) the presentation of any proof of the amount of damages the Pinkhams were claiming. Appellants later retained an attorney and attempted to set aside the default and the default judgment, asserting that both had been improperly entered. The district court denied both requests. Appellants appealed the district court’s denial of their motion to set aside the entry of default and default judgment against them. Finding that Appellants established a right to relief because the district court erred in awarding damages without any proof, the Idaho Supreme Court reversed in this respect. The Court found the district court did not err in denying the motion to set aside the entry of a default judgment, but vacated the default judgment and remanded for a determination as to the proper amount of damages based on the proof submitted. View "Pinkham v. Plate, et al." on Justia Law

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In December 2019, Paul Hanks slipped and fell on a patch of ice after exiting a vehicle in the passenger unloading zone at the Boise Airport. Hanks sued defendants the City of Boise, Republic Parking System, LLC, and United Components, Inc. for negligence. Hanks argued that Defendants had a duty to maintain the airport facilities in a safe condition and that Defendants failed in that duty by not keeping the passenger unloading zone free of ice. Respondents the City of Boise and Republic Parking System, LLC moved for summary judgment, arguing they had met all legal duties owed to Hanks. The district court agreed and granted summary judgment. Finding that the district court did not err in its grant of summary judgment, the Idaho Supreme Court affirmed the district court. View "Hanks v. City of Boise" on Justia Law