Justia Civil Procedure Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
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After plaintiff was injured when a neck brace allegedly caused or failed to protect him from serious bodily injury, he filed suit against the makers and sellers of the neck brace. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's orders granting defendants' motions to dismiss. The district court correctly noted that, even though entry of default was proper where a party fails to respond in a timely manner, a court must not enter default without first determining whether the unchallenged facts constitute a legitimate cause of action. In this case, all but one of the allegations in the amended complaint constitute mere legal conclusions and recitations of the elements of the causes of action. The court agreed with the district court that where, as here, there are so few facts alleged in the complaint, the court need not address each individual claim to make a sufficiency determination on a Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss. Accordingly, because the amended complaint failed to allege sufficient facts to state a claim for relief that was plausible on its face, the district court did not err in granting defendants' motion to dismiss. View "Glick v. Western Power Sports, Inc." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff and others filed a class action against defendants, alleging claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and Nebraska law, arising out of an eight-week student-driver training program operated by defendants and intended for new truck drivers. The Eighth Circuit agreed with defendants that the district court abused its discretion by granting plaintiffs' request to extend the Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 16(b) disclosure deadline, despite finding that good cause for the extension had not been shown, based on an erroneous application of Rule 37(c)(1). The court held that the error was not harmless because the jury clearly relied on the opinion of plaintiff's expert in reaching the damages award. Accordingly, the court vacated and remanded for further proceedings. View "Petrone v. Werner Enterprises, Inc." on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed a class action in state court against Massage Envy, alleging that the company violated the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act (MMPA) when advertisements for its one hour massage session failed to disclose that the session included ten minutes to undress, dress, and consult with the therapist. Massage Envy removed the case to district court under the Class Action Fairness Act. The Eighth Circuit held that the district court misapplied controlling Supreme Court and Eighth Circuit CAFA precedents. The court held that the district court erred when it evaluated the MMPA violations alleged in plaintiffs' second amended petition and remanded the class action to state court because "it is more likely that a reasonable fact finder would not award several million dollars in punitive damages." In this case, the district court's consideration went to the merits of plaintiffs' claims. The court held that plaintiffs' allegation that they were entitled to punitive damages in an unstated amount raised the amount in controversy to more than $5 million, whether or not they ultimately prove they were entitled to the punitive damages they claimed. Finally, the court also held that when Massage Envy investigated and filed a notice of removal based on the results of its own amount-in-controversy investigation, the notice was not untimely. Therefore, the court granted the petition for permission to appeal, reversed the July 2019 order of remand, denied plaintiffs' motion for remand, and remanded for further proceedings. View "Pirozzi v. Massage Envy Franchising" on Justia Law

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Removal is effective upon filing a copy of the notice of removal with the clerk of the state court, regardless of how state law might treat the notice after it is filed. The Eighth Circuit held that this case's removal to federal court by an attorney who was not licensed to practice in the state court where it was originally filed was effective. In this case, the attorney filed a copy of the notice of removal in state court, the deputy clerk stamped the notice "FILED," and Liberty Life had done all it needed to do under the federal removal statute. View "Brooks v. Liberty Life Assurance Co. of Boston" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's judgment in favor of the United States in this civil forfeiture action. The court held that the district court did not abuse its discretion by striking claimant's claim, because he willfully disobeyed the discovery orders. The court also held that defendant's motions to dismiss and constitutional arguments were moot. View "United States v. Thompson" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit reversed the district court's order granting summary judgment to the Commissioner, in an action brought by Farm Wineries seeking a declaration that the Minnesota Farm Wineries Act's in-state requirements violates the dormant Commerce Clause. The court held that the Farm Wineries had Article III standing, because they established an injury in fact by alleging that they were presently injured by the Act because they cannot plan for and expand their businesses. Furthermore, the Farm Wineries' injuries were fairly traceable to the in-state requirement, because the Commissioner has the authority to enforce the Act against the Farm Wineries. Finally, Farm Wineries' injuries can be redressed by a declaratory judgment. Accordingly, the court remanded for further proceedings. View "Alexis Bailly Vineyard, Inc. v. Harrington" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit under 42 U.S.C. 1981 against K.C. Live for assault, battery, false imprisonment, negligence, and malicious prosecution. The district court granted K.C. Live's motion to dismiss after finding the claim was barred by res judicata in light of the state court's prior dismissal with prejudice. The Eighth Circuit affirmed, holding that the suit was barred by res judicata because plaintiff asserted the same cause of action against the same party in federal court that he did in the state court, which had jurisdiction and entered a final judgment. View "Brown v. Kansas City Live, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit dismissed TEI's appeal of the district court's order remanding the case to state court based on lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The court dismissed the appeal for lack of appellate jurisdiction, because the court could not review the merits of the remand order, colorably characterized as based on a lack of subject matter jurisdiction, and it must stand whether erroneous or not. View "Vasseur v. TEI Construction Services, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of CapDev's motion to cancel the lis pendens. The court held that the district court acted within its discretion in canceling the lis pendens as invalid under Missouri law, because the imprecise description of the property at issue did not connect it to any particular request for equitable relief. View "Enterprise Financial Group Inc. v. Podhorn" on Justia Law

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A proceeding in the district court under 8 U.S.C. 1447(b) does not become moot when the USCIS purports to deny a naturalization application after the applicant has already initiated the court proceeding. In this case, after USCIS failed to reach a decision in plaintiff's citizenship application within 120 days, he filed suit under section 1447(b) to seek a decision in the matter. While the action was pending, USCIS denied the application. Looking to the text and context of the statute, the Eighth Circuit held that USCIS's purported denial of plaintiff's naturalization application after he initiated a district court proceeding under section 1447(b) did not render the case moot. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded for further proceedings. View "Haroun v. DHS" on Justia Law