Articles Posted in U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

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Plaintiffs filed suit challenging the Forest Service's determination that an 85-fold increase in predicted drilling in the Ozark–St. Francis National Forests did not require a "correction, supplement, or revision" to the original environmental analysis. The Eighth Circuit dismissed the suit based on lack of jurisdiction, holding that plaintiffs failed to identify any particular member who stands to be harmed by the government action it challenges, and that plaintiffs lack a concrete interest in this dispute. View "Ozark Society v. United States Forest Service" on Justia Law

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Although IEM changed registered agents, hiring CT and terminating UCS, a change of registered agent form was not filed with the Secretary of State. A default judgment was subsequently entered against IEM after a process server delivered a summons and petition against IEM to UCS as a registered agent. IEM then filed suit against UCS and CT. The district court granted UCS's motion to dismiss and denied CT's motion to dismiss. The Eighth Circuit held that the complaint stated a plausible claim for breach of a fiduciary duty. Because UCS's status as IEM's statutory registered agent had not been revoked when UCS accepted the summons and petitions, UCS was still subject to this limited fiduciary duty. Therefore, the court reversed as to the breach of fiduciary duty claim, but affirmed in all other respects. View "International Environmental Management v. United Corporate Services" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed a products liability action against defendants after his wife died of ovarian cancer. Plaintiff claimed that his wife's death was caused by her regular and prolonged use of talcum-based products. The Eighth Circuit held that the district court did not abuse its discretion when it dismissed the complaint without prejudice; the district court did not abuse its discretion by reasoning that it would be more efficient to add this case to another multi-plaintiff case with the same issues because the case would likely be tried at an earlier date in state court, and the dismissal would not prejudice defendants because plaintiff's case would be consolidated with a previously scheduled trial; the district court specifically addressed plaintiff's proposed reason for dismissing the action and implicitly rejected defendants' argument that plaintiff was forum shopping; defendants did not cite any support for their contention that a motion to dismiss should be denied only because defendants would be deprived of a federal forum; and the district court did not abuse its discretion by considering the information presented in plaintiff's reply brief. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded to the district court to analyze whether costs and fees should be assessed and the amount, if any. . View "Blaes v. Johnson & Johnson" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed a class action in state court alleging that Progressive sold insurance policies with benefits below the statutory minimum required by Minnesota state law. On appeal, plaintiffs challenged the district court's denial of plaintiffs' motion to remand to state court after Progressive removed to federal court. The Eighth Circuit concluded that the district court properly denied the motion for remand because plaintiffs failed to establish the amount they collectively paid in premiums, and without such information, the court could not determine whether it would be legally impossible for them to recover $5,000,000. The Eighth Circuit also concluded that the district court properly dismissed plaintiffs' claim on the ground that the deductible practice challenged by plaintiffs did not violate Minnesota's No Fault Act. Accordingly, the Eighth Circuit affirmed the judgment. View "Dammann v. Progressive Direct Insurance" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit remanded this case on February 1, 2017, for further consideration of class certification and reversed the imposition of an appeal bond. In this appeal, the Eighth Circuit granted Appellant Olson's motion to amend pursuant to Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 28(i) the second sentence in a footnote 3 of the opinion. Rule 28(i) allows parties to raise issues they did not raise in their own brief. Here, Appellant Olson's letter clearly identified the parts of Appellant Sciaroni's brief that he was adopting. View "Sciaroni v. Target Corp." on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit vacated the district court's order directing Pfizer to pay attorney's fees in an order remanding to state court. The Eighth Circuit agreed with plaintiffs that the filing of the satisfaction of judgment has mooted the appeal, and vacated the district court's order directing Pfizer to pay attorney's fees given an order of vacatur was the usual course, that all parties agree that vacatur was proper, and that vacatur would go a long way toward repairing any possible harm that Pfizer claimed it suffered. The court reasoned that otherwise the prevailing party could solidify a decision as precedent or create a preclusive effect without that decision being subjected to appellate review. View "Robinson v. Pfizer, Inc." on Justia Law

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The court vacated the dismissal of The Med's claim of alleged impairment of a hospital lien, concluding that the claim was not barred by the Rooker-Feldman doctrine. The court explained that to apply Rooker-Feldman in this case to a non-party who had an opportunity to intervene in state-court proceedings would echo the pre- Exxon Mobil Corp. v. Saudi Basic Indus. Corp. lower-court rulings that expanded the doctrine too far. Here, the Med did not seek to reverse the order of the Arkansas state court, and acknowledged that it could not seek a judgment directly against the proceeds of the personal injury settlement. The court also concluded that the district court erred by alternatively ruling that Arkansas law applied to the dispute between the parties. Rather, the court applied a choice-of-law analysis and concluded that Tennessee law applied in this case. View "Shelby County Health Care Corp. v. Southern Farm Bureau Casualty" on Justia Law

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Hanzada, an Egyptian company that imports and exports beef, appealed the jury verdict and judgment against it on plaintiff's breach of contract claim. The district court relied on the Seventh Circuit's widely adopted Sadat v. Mertes rule that only the American nationality of the dual citizen should be recognized for purposes of 28 U.S.C. 1332(a). The court concluded that the district court properly found diversity jurisdiction because plaintiff was a U.S. citizen and his Egyptian citizenship did not defeat jurisdiction. The court also concluded that the district court properly exercised personal jurisdiction over Hanzada where there was sufficient minimum contacts with Missouri for the Missouri long-arm statute to authorize personal jurisdiction. Finally, the district court properly found the statute of frauds inapplicable in this case where, under Missouri law, an oral contract for an indefinite period of time does not violate the statute of frauds. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Aly v. Hanzada for Import & Export Co." on Justia Law

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Great Lakes filed suit against ESML for breach of contract. ESML later filed a motion to dismiss based on lack of subject matter jurisdiction, but the district court denied the motion. The case proceeded to trial and judgment was entered for Great Lakes. The court agreed with the district court that the Natural Gas Act (NGA), 15 U.S.C. 717u, does not create an express cause of action under which Great Lakes may sue for breach of contract; the NGA also does not create an implied cause of action where there is no indication of legislative intent to create a federal cause of action displacing traditional state law breach of contract causes of action; and assuming that the district court correctly held that federal issues were “necessarily raised” and “actually disputed,” the court concluded that the federal issues in this case are not “substantial,” and the federal courts cannot exercise federal question jurisdiction “without disturbing any congressionally approved balance of federal and state judicial responsibilities.” Accordingly, the court vacated and remanded with instructions to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction. View "Great Lakes Gas Transmission v. Essar Steel Minnesota LLC" on Justia Law

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In 2013, the IRS seized $32,820.56 from Carole Hinders’s business bank account based on allegations that Hinders had unlawfully “structured” deposits to avoid federal currency reporting requirements. The government then filed a civil forfeiture complaint against the seized currency, and Hinders filed claims to the seized property. The district court eventually dismissed the action without prejudice. The district court then denied Hinder's motion for fees under the Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act (CAFRA), 28 U.S.C. 2465(b)(1), and declined to reconsider its prior dismissal without prejudice. The court concluded, however, that Hinders has not “substantially prevailed” in this action where the district court’s dismissal without prejudice did not materially alter the legal relationship of the parties. Therefore, Hinders is not eligible for an award of attorney fees, costs, or interest under CAFRA. The court also concluded that the district court did not abuse its discretion in dismissing the case without prejudice rather than with prejudice. In this case, the district court considered each of the relevant factors in deciding to grant the government’s motion and Hinders had not shown that she would be prejudiced by a dismissal without prejudice. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "United States v. Hinders" on Justia Law