Justia Civil Procedure Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
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The Eleventh Circuit reversed and vacated the district court's order remanding the case to state court after the case was removed to federal district court under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA). Because plaintiff sought equitable relief to reinstate a lapsed or surrendered life insurance policy, the court held that the face value of the policy could be used to satisfy the amount-in-controversy requirement, and that the aggregate face value of the life insurance policies here was over $75 million. Therefore, the court held that Wilco has met its burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that the amount in controversy exceeds the $5 million CAFA threshold. View "Anderson v. Wilco Life Insurance Co." on Justia Law

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The Eleventh Circuit vacated the district court's dismissal of plaintiffs' claims against defendants based on lack of standing. The court held that plaintiffs plausibly alleged that they suffered an economic loss when they purchased supplements that were worthless because the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) prohibited sale of the supplements. The court explained that Congress, through the FDCA and the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA), banned adulterated supplements to protect consumers from ingesting products that Congress judged to be insufficiently safe. In this case, the complaint's allegations establish that plaintiffs purchased adulterated dietary supplements that they would not have purchased had they known that sale of the supplements was banned. The court also held that plaintiffs sufficiently alleged sufficient facts to show that their injuries were fairly traceable to defendants. Accordingly, plaintiffs had Article III standing to pursue their claims. View "Debernardis v. IQ Formulations, LLC" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed a putative class action alleging that during the 2016 Democratic presidential primaries the DNC and its chairwoman improperly tipped the scales in favor of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who was challenging Senator Bernie Sanders for the Democratic presidential nomination. The Eleventh Circuit held that some named plaintiffs representing the DNC donor class have adequately alleged Article III standing, but that no named plaintiffs representing the Sanders donor class have done so. The court dismissed the fraud and negligent misrepresentation claims on the merits, holding that plaintiffs representing the DNC donor class failed to allege with particularity the manner in which they relied on defendants' statements. Therefore, the general allegation of reliance was not fatal to the Article III standing of the DNC donor class, but it fell short of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 9(b)'s heightened pleading standard. The court also held that the District of Columbia Consumer Protection Procedures Act claim of the DNC donor class failed the plausibility standard set out in cases like Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 556–57 (2007); plaintiffs in the DNC donor class have failed to state a claim for unjust enrichment under Florida law; plaintiffs in the Democratic voter class failed to allege an injury-in-fact sufficient to confer Article III standing when they alleged a breach of fiduciary duty by the DNC and its chairwoman; and the district court did not err in dismissing the complaint without sua sponte granting plaintiffs leave to file a second amended complaint. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's judgment of dismissal, remanding for amendment of its order. View "Wilding v. DNC Services Corp." on Justia Law

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The Eleventh Circuit held that the district court order was final and its retention of jurisdiction to review the arbitrator's decision did not destroy the finality of the district court's ruling pertaining to the enforcement of the arbitral summonses. The court also held that the district court's determination that it had ancillary jurisdiction was appropriate. However, the magistrate judge improperly found jurisdiction on two additional grounds: (1) the district court appointed the arbitrator; and (2) the parties agreed to jurisdiction of the district court in their arbitration agreement. The court interpreted the plain meaning of Section 7 as (1) requiring summonsed non-parties to appear in the physical presence of the arbitrator as opposed to a video conference or teleconference; and (2) prohibiting pre-hearing discovery. In this case, the district court abused its discretion in enforcing the arbitral summonses because the court lacked power under Section 7 to order the witnesses to appear at the video conference and provide pre-hearing discovery. The court also held that the district court's order denying CIGNA's motion to enforce the Settlement Agreement and compel an accounting constitutes a post-judgment order that is final and appealable. The district court abused its discretion here by allowing the arbitrator to review the claims that have already been paid. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded. View "Managed Care Advisory Group, LLC v. Cigna Healthcare, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Department of Justice filed suit against the State of Florida, seeking declaratory and injunctive relief under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and 28 C.F.R. 35.130(d). The Department alleged that Florida was failing to meet its obligations under Title II by unnecessarily institutionalizing hundreds of children with disabilities in nursing facilities. The Department also alleged that Florida's Medicaid policies and practices placed other children who have "medically complex" conditions, or who are "medically fragile," at risk of unnecessary institutionalization. The Eleventh Circuit held that the Attorney General has a cause of action to enforce Title II of the ADA. The court held that when Congress chose to designate the "remedies, procedures, and rights" in section 505 of the Rehabilitation Act, which in turn adopted Title VI, as the enforcement provision for Title II of the ADA, Congress created a system of federal enforcement. The court also held that the express statutory language in Title II adopts federal statutes that use a remedial structure based on investigation of complaints, compliance reviews, negotiation to achieve voluntary compliance, and ultimately enforcement through "any other means authorized by law" in the event of noncompliance. Therefore, courts have routinely concluded that Congress's decision to utilize the same enforcement mechanism for Title II as the Rehabilitation Act, and therefore Title VI, demonstrates that the Attorney General has the authority to act "by any other means authorized by law" to enforce Title II, including initiating a civil action. Accordingly, the court reversed the district court's judgment and remanded. View "United States v. State of Florida" on Justia Law

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The Developers filed suit against Red Mortgage in Georgia state court, asserting various state law causes of action, including breach of contract, fraud, and violation of the Georgia Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. The complaint essentially alleged that defendants intentionally and deceptively persuaded the Developers to accept high interest rates, not because they were the best market rates available, but instead to secretly pad their compensation and associated profits. Defendants removed to federal court and the Developers moved to remand to state court. The district court held that the forum selection clause in the loan documents bound both Red Mortgage and the Developers to litigate the Developers' claims in Georgia state court. The Eleventh Circuit dismissed the appeal of the remand order and held that the district court colorably characterized the basis for its remand order as a lack of unanimous consent to removal, and therefore 28 U.S.C. 1447(d) precludes the court from reviewing that order. View "Overlook Gardens Properties, LLC v. Orix USA, LP" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed a pro se action against MDT under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. The district court concluded that MDT could not be sued in Florida and offered to allow plaintiff to amend his complaint to substitute the County in MDT's place, but plaintiff declined. The Eleventh Circuit held that MDT was the wrong party and the court could not now sub in the County on appeal. The court held that any further amendment of the complaint would be futile because plaintiff did not otherwise state a claim. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's dismissal. View "Silberman v. Miami Dade Transit" on Justia Law

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Four Colombian Departments filed an ex parte joint application under 28 U.S.C. 1782 to obtain discovery in aid of a foreign proceeding. Diageo intervened and appealed the district court's grant of the section 1782 application as to two of the departments. The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of the ex parte joint application and held that the district court correctly decided the so-called "receptivity" factor by looking to evidence introduced by both sides and by granting the application of two of the departments. View "Department of Caldas v. Diageo PLC" on Justia Law

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Flat Creek filed suit seeking declaratory and injunctive relief, alleging that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration had unfairly targeted it for compliance reviews and used an unsound methodology in doing so. The district court concluded that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction. The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of the complaint, but held that Flat Creek failed to establish the requisite standing to sue under Article III. In this case, Flat Creek has shown neither concreteness nor imminence. View "Flat Creek Transportation, LLC v. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration" on Justia Law

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Fresh Results, an American company, filed suit against ASF Holland, a Dutch company, in the Southern District of Florida, alleging that ASF Holland had falsified inspection reports and fraudulently deflated the price of the shipment of blueberries. The Eleventh Circuit vacated the district court's grant of ASF Holland's motion to dismiss the complaint on the ground that the Netherlands was a more convenient forum. The court held that the district court abused its discretion when it dismissed the complaint for forum non conveniens because it failed to consider all relevant public factors for each forum after determining that the private factors for the litigants were not in equipoise. Furthermore, the district court must correct two errors when it reweighs the private factors on remand. First, the district court must reconsider the factor of relative ease of access to sources of proof; and second, the district court was distracted by a red herring when it reasoned that the enforceability of a possible judgment favored dismissal because no treaty exists between the United States and the Netherlands that governs the reciprocal enforcement of judgments. View "Fresh Results, LLC v. ASF Holland, B.V." on Justia Law