Justia Civil Procedure Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
US ex rel. Yelverton v. Federal Ins. Co.
In these consolidated appeals, debtor filed numerous, frivolous challenges to the settlement and the district court entered a pre-filing injunction barring him from filing any new civil actions in the district court without court permission. At issue is whether the injunction encompasses appeals to the district court from bankruptcy court. The court concluded that, as written, the injunction does not cover those appeals with sufficient clarity, and that the district court thus erred in striking these three appeals for violating the pre-filing injunction. Nonetheless, the court affirmed the district court's dismissal of two of the three appeals (adversary proceeding numbers 14-10024 and 14-10043) for failure to state a claim, and remanded for the district court to resolve the third appeal (number 14-10014). View "US ex rel. Yelverton v. Federal Ins. Co." on Justia Law
Weinstein v. Islamic Republic of Iran
Plaintiffs are victims of terrorist attacks and their family members who hold substantial unsatisfied money judgments against defendants Iran, North Korea, and Syria. The money judgments arise out of claims brought under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA), 28 U.S.C. 1605. In order to satisfy the judgments, plaintiffs seek to attach Internet data managed by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and, accordingly, served writs of attachment on ICANN. The district court quashed the writs because it found that the data was unattachable under D.C. law. The court rejected ICANN’s challenge to the district court’s subject matter jurisdiction, and assumed without deciding that local law applies to the determination of the “attachability” of the defendant sovereigns’ country-code top level domain names (ccTLDs), and without so holding that local law does not operate to bar attachment of the defendant sovereigns’ ccTLDs. The court concluded that those plaintiffs seeking to attach the underlying judgments in Haim I, Weinstein and Stern have forfeited their claims in toto. Those plaintiffs seeking to attach the underlying judgments in Haim II, Rubin, Wyatt and Calderon-Cardona have forfeited all but their claim grounded in the terrorist activity exception to attachment immunity. Finally, because of the enormous third-party interests at stake - and because there is no way to execute on plaintiffs’ judgments without impairing those interests - the court cannot permit attachment. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Weinstein v. Islamic Republic of Iran" on Justia Law
Hancock v. Urban Outfitters, Inc.
Plaintiffs filed a putative class action alleging that Urban Outfitters’ and Anthropologie’s zip code requests at the cashier stand violated two District of Columbia consumer protection laws. The district court dismissed the complaint with prejudice for failure to state a claim. The court concluded that the district court lacked jurisdiction to decide the merits of the case because neither plaintiff has alleged a concrete Article III injury tied to disclosure of her zip code that could support standing. Accordingly, the court vacated the district court's judgment and remanded for dismissal of the case. View "Hancock v. Urban Outfitters, Inc." on Justia Law
Al-Saffy v. Vilsack
Mohamed Tawid Al-Saffy, an Egyptian-American Muslim employed by the Foreign Agricultural Service, filed suit under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. 2000e et seq., alleging that the Agriculture and State Departments each discriminated against him based on religion and national origin, and retaliated against him for filing an EEO complaint. The district court granted summary judgment to the government. The court concluded that, because Title VII requires final agency action to notify the employee of his right to appeal and the governing time limitation, the order dismissing the 2012 Complaint did not trigger the ninety-day deadline for Al-Saffy to file suit. Instead, given the lack of timely final action by the agency, Al-Saffy could have and did file a civil action more than 180 days after the filing of the 2012 Complaint with the agency. Therefore, Al-Saffy’s October 10, 2013 filing in district court thus preserved his claims from the 2012 Complaint. The court also concluded that the district court erred in granting summary judgment for the government on Al-Saffy's claims against the State Department because there are genuine issues of material fact regarding whether Al-Saffy had an employment relationship with the State Department within the meaning of Title VII, and whether Al-Saffy knew about the State Department’s alleged role in discrimination against him prior to 2013. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded for further proceedings. View "Al-Saffy v. Vilsack" on Justia Law
Akiachak Native Community v. DOI
Alaska Native tribes filed suit against the Department, challenging the regulation implementing the prohibition barring the Department from taking land into trust for Indian tribes in Alaska. After the district court held that the Department’s interpretation was contrary to law, the Department, following notice and comment, revised its regulations and dismissed its appeal. Alaska intervened and now seeks to prevent any new efforts by the United States to take tribal land to trust within the State's borders. In this case, Alaska intervened in the district court as a defendant and brought no independent claim for relief. The court concluded that once the Department rescinded the Alaska exception, this case became moot. Even assuming, as Alaska argues, that the district court’s interpretation of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA), 43 U.S.C. 1601 et seq., injured the State, such injury cannot extend the court's jurisdiction by creating a new controversy on appeal. Accordingly, the court dismissed Alaska's appeal for lack of jurisdiction. View "Akiachak Native Community v. DOI" on Justia Law
National Fed. of the Blind v. DOT
NFB filed suit challenging the DOT's rule requiring that air carriers begin to purchase ticketing kiosks accessible to blind persons within three years of the rule taking effect so that 25 per cent of kiosks eventually will be blind-accessible. The district court concluded that it lacked jurisdiction under 49 U.S.C. 46110(a) because the rule is an “order” over which the court of appeals has exclusive jurisdiction. The district court did not dismiss the complaint, but instead, transferred it to this court re-styled as a petition for review. NFB subsequently filed a notice of appeal - which the court construed as a petition for a writ of mandamus - challenging the district court’s conclusion that it lacked jurisdiction. The court concluded that section 46110(a) includes review of DOT rulemakings. The court did not reach NFB’s arguments on the merits because the court concluded that the district court lacked jurisdiction of NFB’s complaint and that reasonable grounds do not excuse NFB’s untimely filing. View "National Fed. of the Blind v. DOT" on Justia Law
GSS Group Ltd. v. Republic of Liberia
GSS appealed the district court’s dismissal of its second attempt to confirm a $44 million arbitral award entered against the Port Authority for breach of a construction contract. GSS first tried to confirm the award, but the district court found that it had no personal jurisdiction over the Port Authority. Then GSS filed its second petition, also naming the Republic of Liberia, which owns the Port Authority, as respondents. The district court again dismissed GSS’s petition, finding that issue preclusion barred relitigating its personal jurisdiction over the Port Authority and that GSS failed to demonstrate that Liberia was liable for the Port Authority’s alleged breach. The court affirmed the district court's dismissal of the claims against Liberia for lack of subject matter jurisdiction under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA), 28 U.S.C. 1330 et seq.; affirmed the district court's dismissal of GSS's petition against the Port Authority on sovereign immunities grounds; and concluded that the district court did not abuse its discretion by dismissing GSS's petition before allowing jurisdictional discovery. View "GSS Group Ltd. v. Republic of Liberia" on Justia Law
Radtke v. Caschetta
Appellants received less than $6,000 in damages from their employers for unpaid overtime wages after eight years of litigation. In this appeal, appellants challenge the district court's fee award as too low, while the employers challenge it as too high. The court concluded that, while appellants’ fee petition originally was untimely, the court’s entry of an amended judgment created “[a] new period for filing” and cured that untimeliness, notwithstanding the fact that the petition was filed before entry of the new judgment. Therefore, appellants satisfied Fed. R. Civ. P. 54(d)(2)(B)’s dictates, leaving no ground on which to deny appellants’ fee petition in its entirety for lack of timeliness. On the merits, the court concluded that there is no support in the record for the district court’s finding that appellants failed to promptly provide a damages calculation that could have facilitated early settlement. This clear factual error requires remand. Additionally, because the court cannot ascertain whether or how significantly this mistaken factual finding impacted other aspects of the district court’s fee reasonability assessment, the court vacated the entire decision and remanded. View "Radtke v. Caschetta" on Justia Law
Cohen v. Board of Trustees
After plaintiff was terminated from his position as a tenured professor at the University, he filed suit in state court against defendants, alleging a violation of his procedural due process rights. The case was removed to federal court and plaintiff missed the deadline to file a brief in opposition to defendants' motion to dismiss. Invoking Local Rule 7(b), the district court granted the motion to dismiss on the ground that its merits were unopposed and thus conceded by plaintiff, thereby dismissing the complaint and case with prejudice. The district court then denied plaintiff’s motion to amend the complaint as moot and, in the alternative, for failure to consult with opposing counsel pursuant to Local Rule 7(m). Plaintiff filed a motion for reconsideration under Federal Rules 59(e) and 60(b), which the district court also denied. The court affirmed the district court’s denial of plaintiff’s motion to extend time and its dismissal of the complaint. But the court reversed the district court insofar as it dismissed the complaint with prejudice and dismissed the case. In light of plaintiff’s efforts to respond, his lack of bad faith, the absence of any prejudice to defendants, and the short delay involved, dismissal of the complaint without prejudice would have been the proper route to accomplish Local Rule 7(b)’s docket-management objectives. Therefore, the district court abused its discretion by instead dismissing the complaint with prejudice. Likewise, the district court also abused its discretion by dismissing the case when its dismissal of the complaint under Local Rule 7(b) should have been, at most, without prejudice. View "Cohen v. Board of Trustees" on Justia Law
CostCommand, LLC v. WH Administrators, Inc.
CostCommand filed suit against Turner, WHA, and California defendants in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, alleging that they engaged in a series of wrongful acts that essentially destroyed CostCommand’s business. The district court concluded that it lacked diversity jurisdiction and dismissed the case. In this case, no dispute exists as to the citizenship of any party except WHA. Applying the nerve-center test set out in Hertz Corp. v. Friend, the court concluded that WHA maintained its principal place of business in Maryland, and thus citizenship for diversity purposes is in Maryland. Accordingly, the court affirmed the dismissal. View "CostCommand, LLC v. WH Administrators, Inc." on Justia Law