Justia Civil Procedure Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Constitutional Law
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The State of Texas appeals the district court’s decision that Plaintiffs’ federal Taking Clause claims against the State may proceed in federal court. Because we hold that the Fifth Amendment Takings Clause as applied to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment does not provide a right of action for takings claims against a state.   The Fifth Circuit vacated the district court’s decision for want of jurisdiction and remanded with instructions to return this case to the state courts. The court explained that the Supreme Court of Texas recognizes takings claims under the federal and state constitutions, with differing remedies and constraints turning on the character and nature of the taking; nothing in this description of Texas law is intended to replace its role as the sole determinant of Texas state law. View "Devillier v. State of Texas" on Justia Law

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The defendants (collectively, the “New Mexico Courts”) appealed a district court’s entry of a preliminary injunction in favor of plaintiff, Courthouse News Service (“Courthouse News”). Courthouse News was a news service that reports on civil litigation in state and federal courts across the country. The focus of the litigation here was on timely access to newly filed, non-confidential civil complaints in the state district courts of New Mexico. On July 30, 2021, Courthouse News filed a motion for preliminary injunction against the New Mexico Courts, seeking to “prohibit[] them preliminarily . . . from refusing to make newly-filed nonconfidential civil petitions available to the public and press until after such petitions are processed or accepted, and further directing them to make such petitions accessible to the press and public in a contemporaneous manner upon receipt.” The district court concluded that Courthouse News was entitled to a preliminary injunction enjoining the New Mexico Courts from withholding press or public access to newly filed, non-confidential civil complaints for longer than five business hours, but not to a preliminary injunction that provides pre-processing, on-receipt, or immediate access to such complaints. On appeal, the New Mexico Courts argued the district court erred in granting in part Courthouse News’ motion for preliminary injunction. After its review, the Tenth Circuit affirmed in part and reversed in part. Specifically, the Court affirmed the district court’s memorandum opinion and order to the extent that the district court: (1) declined to abstain from hearing this case; and (2) concluded that the First Amendment right of access attaches when a complaint is submitted to the court. However, the Court concluded the district court erred in imposing a bright-line, five-business-hour rule that failed to accommodate the state’s interests in the administration of its courts. Accordingly, the district court’s entry of a preliminary injunction was reversed, the preliminary injunction vacated, and the case remanded for further proceedings. View "Courthouse News Service v. New Mexico Administrative Office of the Courts, et al." on Justia Law

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The Trump administration announced that it would not suspend the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity Act (known as the “Helms-Burton Act”) for the first time since its enactment in 1996. Shortly after this announcement, the cause of action created by Title III of the Helms-Burton Act became fully effective in U.S. courts. Plaintiffs in this case Title III against several entities that own and operate travel websites, including Booking.com BV and Booking Holdings, Inc. (the Booking Entities), and Expedia Group, Inc., Hotels.com L.P., Hotels.com GP, and Orbitz, LLC (the Expedia Entities). Plaintiffs alleged that they are U.S. nationals and living heirs to separate beach-front properties nationalized by the Cuban government after the 1959 revolution According to the complaint, the Booking Entities and Expedia Entities trafficked in those properties on their travel booking websites.   The district court dismissed Plaintiffs’ Title III claims without leave to amend, ruling that it lacked personal jurisdiction over the defendants under the relevant provisions of Florida’s longarm statute. The Eleventh Circuit reversed and remanded. The court explained that based on the uncontroverted allegations in the complaint, the district court has specific personal jurisdiction over the Booking Entities and Expedia Entities pursuant to Fla. Stat. Section 48.193(1)(a)(2), and the exercise of such jurisdiction does not violate the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Plaintiffs also have plausibly alleged Article III standing. View "Mario Del Valle, et al. v. Trivago GMBH, et al." on Justia Law

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Petitioner, a citizen of El Salvador, was detained pursuant to 8 U.S.C. Sec. 1226(a), which authorizes the federal government to detain aliens pending the completion of their removal proceedings. Petitioner requested and received a bond hearing before an Immigration Judge to determine if his detention was justified. The Immigration Judge concluded that Petitioner, who had an extensive criminal history, presented a danger to the community due to his gang affiliation. Based on this, the Immigration Judge denied release on bond. Petitioner claims that his continued detention was unconstitutional because under the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment, he is entitled to a second bond hearing at which the government bears the burden of proof by clear and convincing evidence.The district court ruled that Petitioner was constitutionally entitled to another bond hearing before the Immigration Judge.The Ninth Circuit held that the Due Process Clause does not require more than Sec. 1226(a) provides. View "AROLDO RODRIGUEZ DIAZ V. MERRICK GARLAND, ET AL" on Justia Law

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In 2021, Tennessee enacted a statute that vaccination, masking, and quarantine decisions: “A local health entity or official, mayor, governmental entity, or school does not have the authority to quarantine a person or private business for purposes of COVID-19,” and “a school or a governing body of a school shall not require a person to wear a face mask while on school property” unless various conditions are met. Before seeking accommodation under its terms, eight minor students with disabilities filed suit, alleging that the legislation violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. 12101m Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. 794, the Equal Protection Clause, and the Supremacy Clause. The district court granted a preliminary injunction with respect to sections of the Act concerning face coverings for schools and provisions that prohibit local health officials and schools from making quarantining decisions as they relate to public schools.While acknowledging that the case is moot, the Sixth Circuit dismissed it for lack of jurisdiction. The plaintiffs’ argument that they are injured because the Act categorically violates the ADA amounts to an overly generalized grievance. They do not seek redress for a completed violation of a legal right; they seek only prospective relief to protect against future violations. Their injuries are not fairly traceable to any defendant, so no remedy applicable to those defendants (be it an injunction or a declaration) would redress the alleged injuries. View "R. K. v. Lee" on Justia Law

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This appeal arose from a quo warranto action initiated by a February 2022 complaint filed Frederick A. Burkes, Sr., on the relation of the State of Alabama, in which he alleged that James Franklin "has unlawfully usurped the public office of the constable for District 59 in Jefferson County, Alabama." Franklin moved to dismiss the quo warranto action in June 2022, which the circuit court granted. In July 2022, the Alabama Supreme Court issued its decision in a case related to this quo warranto action, holding the circuit court lacked subject-matter jurisdiction because Burkes had not given the circuit court security for costs, as required by § 6-6-591(b), Ala. Code 1975, and that the circuit court's judgment in the prior action was therefore void. This Court then dismissed the appeal because a void judgment will not support an appeal. Burkes argued here that, because the circuit court did not have subject-matter jurisdiction over the prior action, the circuit court erroneously dismissed the quo warranto action on the grounds of res judicata and collateral estoppel. To this the Supreme Court concurred, reversed dismissal of the quo warranto action, and remanded for further proceedings. View "Burkes v. Franklin" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs, who identify as Moorish Americans, sought to enter the Caddo Parish Courthouse to file documents with the court clerk. Upon arriving at the security-screening station, plaintiffs informed the officers on duty that they wished to enter without passing through the security screening. After Plaintiffs’ repeated refusals to depart, the officers stated they would count to three and, if Plaintiffs refused to leave, they would be arrested. They did not depart and were arrested, charged with violating Louisiana Revised Statutes Section 14:63.3.Plaintiffs brought a litany of claims against various officials serving in Caddo Parish and the Louisiana state government based on their actions taken during the arrest. Plaintiffs also moved for recusal of the magistrate judge, which the district court denied.   The Fifth Circuit affirmed. The court explained that Plaintiffs have pointed to no precedent that abrogates the general “search incident to arrest” rule when religious headwear is involved. Accordingly, the district court correctly granted summary judgment on the ground of qualified immunity. Further, the court held that there was no error in the district court’s denial of Plaintiffs’ motion for recusal of the magistrate judge. The magistrate judge did not work on this case in private practice nor work with Defendants’ counsel in the practice of law while he was working on this case. Nor is there evidence of any bias or knowledge of the case that would have required the district court, in its discretion, to order recusal. View "Foley Bey v. Prator" on Justia Law

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Punchbowl is an online party and event planning service. AJ Press owns and operates Punchbowl News, a subscription-based online news publication that provides articles, podcasts, and videos about American politics, from a Washington, D.C. insider’s perspective. Punchbowl claimed that Punchbowl News is misusing its “Punchbowl” trademark (the Mark).   The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court’s summary judgment in favor of AJ Press, LLC, in an action brought by Punchbowl, Inc. (Punchbowl), alleging violations of the Lanham Act for trademark infringement and unfair competition and related state law claims. The panel wrote that no reasonable buyer would believe that a company that operates a D.C. insider news publication is related to a “technology company” with a “focus on celebrations, holidays, events, and memory-making.” The panel wrote that this resolves not only the Lanham Act claims, but the state law claims as well. The panel explained that survey evidence of consumer confusion is not relevant to the question of whether AJ Press’s use of the Mark is explicitly misleading, which is a legal test for assessing whether the Lanham Act applies. The panel held that the district court’s denial of Punchbowl’s request for a continuance under Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(d) to permit further discovery was not an abuse of discretion. View "PUNCHBOWL, INC. V. AJ PRESS, LLC" on Justia Law

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Defendant filed a motion under 28 U.S.C. Sec. 2255, challenging his conviction for using a destructive device in furtherance of a crime of violence. The district court denied his motion and Defendant appealed.The Fourth Circuit reversed, finding that the federal arson statute which served as the predicate for Defendant's Sec. 924(c) conviction is not categorically a crime of violence. Because the statute Defendant was convicted under criminalized the arson of property fully owned by the defendant, and not just that of the property “of another” as required by Sec. 924(c). View "US v. Cecil Davis" on Justia Law

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Several dog owners sued the City of Council Bluffs challenging the constitutionality of an ordinance prohibiting “pit bulls" under 42 Sec. 1983. The trial court granted the City's motion for summary judgment, finding that the ordinance had the "required rational relationship to the health, safety, and public welfare interests of the city to survive rational basis review." The dog owners appealed the trial court's ruling pertaining to their equal protection and substantive due process claims.The Eighth Circuit affirmed. The court first noted that the parties agreed that rational-basis review was appropriate. However, the dog owners claimed that their evidence "negates every conceivable basis for the Ordinance’s rational relationship," presenting expert testimony that showed, among other things, pitbulls were not any more dangerous than other breeds of dogs that were permitted under the ordinance. ultimately, the court concluded that the City had a conceivable basis to believe banning pit bulls would promote the health and safety of Council Bluff citizens. View "Rachael Danker v. The City of Council Bluffs" on Justia Law