Articles Posted in U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals

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Plaintiffs launched a collateral attack on a related bankruptcy proceeding in federal district court under the Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. 2201, claiming that they were never properly served before the bankruptcy court entered judgment against them and held them in contempt. The district court subsequently dismissed the case for want of federal-question or diversity jurisdiction. The court reversed and remanded, concluding that there is federal-question jurisdiction where the declaratory judgment action raised several federal questions. View "Jacuzzi, Sr., et al. v. Pimienta" on Justia Law

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Nuance appealed the district court's order remanding this case back to the arbitration panel for clarification of the arbitration award concerning an alleged breach of a corporate merger agreement. The court dismissed the appeal based on lack of jurisdiction because a district court order remanding a case back to an arbitration panel for clarification is not a final order. View "Murchison Capital Partners, L.P., et al v. Nuance Communications, Inc." on Justia Law

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This case arose when plaintiff filed suit against defendants arising out of his alleged work-related exposure to asbestos and subsequent illness. One of the original defendants was DuPont. Plaintiff subsequently filed an amended petition where he added for the first time claims against Elliott, which contracted with DuPont. On appeal, Elliott challenged the district court's order remanding this action to Louisiana state court and its order denying Elliott's motion for reconsideration. The court held that where a party removes a case to federal court under 28 U.S.C. 1442, a later-served defendant preserves it right to a federal forum under section 1442 by asserting the grounds for same in its answer filed after removal. In this case, Elliott asserted its government contractor defense in the very first pleading it filed, such that it preserved its claim to a federal forum, and the district court erred in holding to the contrary. Therefore, the court vacated and remanded. View "Humphries v. Elliott Co." on Justia Law

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Tewari, a Texas corporation with its principal place of business in Texas, appealed the district court's denial of its motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction. MTSR is a limited liability company with two members: a New York corporation with its principal place of business in New York and a New York citizen; and a business in Wyoming. The court affirmed the judgment of the district court because the district court correctly found complete diversity between Tewari and MTSR. View "Tewari De-Ox Systems, Inc. v. Mountain States/Rosen, L.L.C." on Justia Law

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This appeal concerns a dispute over church property between a dissident local congregation (Saint James) and the national church (AME) with which it had been affiliated for many decades. The court held that the district court lacked subject matter jurisdiction over Saint James's first-filed state court eviction action, and that federal precedent mandates that the district court abstain from the exercise of jurisdiction over AME's federal complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief while the remanded eviction action is pending in state court. Therefore, the court vacated the district court's rulings and remanded Saint James's eviction action to state court and to stay AME's federal action during the pendency of the state proceedings. View "African Methodist Episcopal Church v. Lucien, Jr., et al." on Justia Law

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This case concerns the district court's decision to revisit a school desegregation case in which the last order prior to 2009 was entered in 1974. The school board appealed the dismissal of its motion to dismiss the desegregation case, which was originally filed in 1965. The court concluded that it had appellate jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. 1292(a)(1). The court also concluded that Board of Education of Oklahoma City of Public Schools v. Dowell requires the conclusion that the 1974 Order is ambiguous. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's order denying the motion to dismiss for want of jurisdiction and remanded for further proceedings View "Thomas, et al. v. St. Martin Parish" on Justia Law

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Pursuant to protective orders entered ten years ago, Ford produced a number of Volvo documents that it designated as confidential. After objecting to the confidential status of these documents, plaintiffs distributed and used them in litigation against Ford competitors. Ford moved to protect these documents and the magistrate judge found the documents to be protected by the agreed orders. The court agreed with the magistrate judge's holding that the Protective Orders did not require Ford to seek a protective order until the parties' own negotiations failed to resolve the dispute. The court concluded that the magistrate judge's finding that Ford did not waive the protection of the Protective Orders was plausible and supported by the record and was not clearly erroneous. Further, the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying leave to depose Ford's corporate representative. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's affirmance of the magistrate judge. View "Moore, et al. v. Ford Motor Co." on Justia Law

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Defendant appealed the district court's remand to state court. Plaintiff moved to dismiss the case. At issue was whether the district court has jurisdiction over an inventorship dispute where the contested patent has not yet been issued. The court concluded that, regardless of whether the removed complaint included an inventorship dispute, that dispute was inadequate to establish the district court's jurisdiction because the allegations indicated that no patent had issued; by raising a timely objection to removal, plaintiff properly preserved its jurisdictional argument; and because removal was improper and the case had not yet been tried on the merits, binding precedent dictated that the court remand the case to state court. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's remand order as amended and dismissed plaintiff's motion and cross-motion. View "Camsoft Data Sys., Inc. v. Southern Electronics Supply, et al." on Justia Law

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This appeal arose from an insurance coverage dispute concerning an industrial accident that occurred on a decommissioned platform in the Outer Continental Shelf. The key issue on appeal was whether the district court entirely disposed of any one claim against Continental. The court need not conclusively determine whether Tetra and Maritech have asserted one claim or two against Continental because, even if the court were to construe their request for a declaration on Continental's indemnity obligations as a single claim, it was clear that the district court did not fully dispose of that one claim. Accordingly, the court dismissed for want of jurisdiction. View "Tetra Technologies, Inc., et al. v. Vertex Services, L.L.C." on Justia Law

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Petitioners seek a writ of mandamus directing the district court to give them "crime victim" status under the Crime Victims' Rights Act (CVRA), 18 U.S.C. 3771. The court concluded that petitioners have a right to file their own motion to be declared crime victims under the CVRA, and it is clear and indisputable that no time bar prevented the district court from considering the novel arguments raised by pro bono counsel in its motion below. Issuance of a writ is appropriate where, as here, petitioners raised arguments previously raised by the Government during the time the Government represented their interests, and where petitioners have been able to retain counsel. View "In re: Jewell Allen, et al." on Justia Law