Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

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The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's action against Navig8 based on lack of personal jurisdiction. The court held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in resolving the issue of personal jurisdiction before establishing whether subject matter jurisdiction existed; plaintiff did not make a prima facie showing of personal jurisdiction and Navig8 was not subject to general jurisdiction in Texas; and Navig8 was not subject to specific jurisdiction in Texas where plaintiff failed to allege sufficient contacts. Because the court affirmed on personal jurisdiction grounds, it declined to reach the district court's forum non conveniens analysis. View "Sangha v. Navig8 Ship Management Private Ltd." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff, a Texas citizen, filed suit against defendants, Ohio citizens, in Texas court based on a breach of contract claim and a misrepresentation claim. The Fifth Circuit held that the breach of contract claim could not be tried in the Texas courts because the auction contract at issue was executed and performed solely in Ohio. The court held, however, that the fraud claim could be tried in Texas because defendants had the requisite minimum contacts with Texas. In this case, defendants should have reasonably anticipated being haled into Texas court as a result of reaching out to Texas via phone in order to garner business and make specific representations. Furthermore, the Texas district court was the proper venue for the fraud claim where the misrepresentations directed at Texas were a substantial part of the events giving rise to the alleged fraud. Therefore, the court affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded. View "Trois v. Apple Tree Auction Center, Inc." on Justia Law

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28 U.S.C. 1446(b)(3)'s removal clock begins ticking upon receipt of the deposition transcript. The Fifth Circuit dismissed Murphy Oil's appeal of an order of remand under section 1446(b)(3), based on lack of jurisdiction. In this case, Murphy Oil itself had no right to be in federal court in the first place, and only Avondale, its codefendant, could invoke the federal officer removal statute. Had Avondale not chosen to remove, Murphy Oil could not have asserted officer jurisdiction on Avondale's behalf. The court held that Murphy Oil experienced no concrete and particularized injury sufficient to satisfy the injury-in-fact prong of Article III standing. View "Morgan v. Huntington Ingalls, Inc." on Justia Law

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Mobil Oil removed the underlying suits as a mass action under the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 (CAFA). On interlocutory appeal, the Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of Plaintiffs Bottley and Lester's respective motions to remand. The Fifth Circuit held that Mobil Oil was permitted to remove both plaintiffs' cases to federal court as a mass action under CAFA. In this case, the Bottley consolidation motion proposed a joint trial of 100 or more plaintiffs' claims, a mass action under CAFA. The court held that CAFA applied to Bottley and Lester even though Lester commenced prior to CAFA's effective date. Finally, the district court was permitted to order consolidation under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 42(a) sua sponte. View "Lester v. Exxon Mobil Corp." on Justia Law

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Babin, employed by Quality, developed carpal tunnel syndrome and had several surgeries. Three months after he returned to work, his employment ended. Babin participated in Quality’s employee benefit plan, which provided short- and long-term disability benefits, governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). Babin submitted a short-term disability benefits application to Standard, Quality’s insurer. In February 2013, Standard denied Babin’s claim because it had not received a necessary form from Quality. Babin alleges that he provided that form to Quality, which failed to complete it. In February 2014, Babin’s counsel asked Quality for disability plan documents. Babin claims that Quality did not send those documents before he filed suit, that he believed that the short-term plan provided six months of benefits, and, had he known that the plan only provides three months of benefits, he would have applied for long-term benefits; Quality’s failure to produce the documents caused him to miss the window for long-term benefits. Babin filed suit 20 months after requesting the documents, alleging failure to produce documents and failure to pay benefits. The parties settled the denial-of-benefits claim. The court held that Louisiana’s one-year prescriptive period for delictual claims applies to 29 U.S.C. 1132(c) claims, so Babin’s claim was time-barred. The Fifth Circuit affirmed, rejecting Babin’s argument that Louisiana’s 10-year prescriptive period for personal actions should govern his claim for failure to produce documents. View "Babin v. Quality Energy Services, Inc." on Justia Law

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The district court held that when a minor's parents bring a lawsuit on his behalf as next friends, the statute of limitations for those claims is not tolled during his period of minority if they were aggressively litigated through the prior lawsuit. The Fifth Circuit held that the district court improperly created this exception to Texas's tolling provision to its statute of limitations, and thus reversed the dismissal of plaintiff's claims related to serious and sustained injuries he suffered while he was detained at a juvenile detention center. The court held that the district court erred by fashioning a rule of its own making to find that plaintiff forfeited the protection of Texas's tolling provision when his parents had brought suit as next friends. The court remanded for further proceedings, including consideration of res judicata and other issues presented. View "Clyce v. Butler" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit withdrew its prior opinion and substituted the following opinion. The court vacated the district court's holding that production of a privilege log pursuant to an employment discrimination investigation was sufficient to establish that the attorney-client privilege protected BDO's withheld documents. The court held that by adopting the magistrate judge's recommendation, the district court erred when inverting the burden of proof, requiring that the EEOC prove that BDO improperly asserted the attorney-client privilege as to its withheld documents, and concluding that all communications between a corporation's employees and its counsel were per se privileged. The court remanded for a determination applying the correct attorney-client privilege principles and legal standards. In regard to the protective order, because the magistrate judge's incorrect application of the legal standard may have affected both her analysis of the allegedly disclosed communications and the breadth of the protections she imposed in her order, the court remanded so that BDO's request for protection may be considered under the proper legal standard for determining privilege. View "EEOC v. BDO USA, LLP" on Justia Law

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The NFLPA filed a complaint on behalf of Ezekiel Elliott, a running back for the Dallas Cowboys, seeking a preliminary injunction preventing enforcement of a forthcoming six game suspension by the NFL and NFL Management Council. The Commissioner of the NFL determined that domestic violence allegations were substantiated and that Elliott should be suspended for six games. An arbitrator issued a decision upholding the suspension on the same day the district court held a preliminary injunction hearing. The district court then enjoined the NFL from enforcing the suspension. The Fifth Circuit vacated the district court's preliminary injunction, holding that the district court lacked subject matter jurisdiction when it issued the preliminary injunction. In this case, when the NFLPA filed the complaint, the arbitrator had not yet issued his decision, and jurisdiction depends on the facts as they exist when the complaint was filed. Accordingly, the court remanded with instructions to dismiss the case. View "NFLPA v. NFL" on Justia Law

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Defendant initially filed suit against Green Tree and Walter Investment in Mississippi state court (Charles I). Charles I was subsequently removed to federal court on diversity jurisdiction and is currently stayed pending arbitration. Before the district court stayed the proceedings in Charles I, Green Tree and Walter Investment moved as plaintiffs in a separate action against defendant (Charles II) to compel him to participate in arbitration for the claims he brought against them in Charles I. The district court granted the motion and ordered that the proceedings in Charles I be stayed and entered judgment dismissing Charles II with prejudice. The Fifth Circuit dismissed for lack of appellate jurisdiction, holding that the order in Charles II compelling arbitration was not a "final appealable order" over which the court has jurisdiction. View "Green Tree Servicing, LLC v. Charles" on Justia Law

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Defendants sought to vacate the district court's judgment stemming from defendants' breach of an agreement with plaintiffs to purchase, renovate, and sell Katrina-damaged properties. Plaintiffs contend that the district court should have required both defendants to pay the full $94,000 in damages. Defendants argued that the jurisdictional defects warrant vacating the judgment. The Fifth Circuit affirmed the judgment and posttrial order awarding attorneys' fees and costs as to Defendant Karry Causey. In regard to Defendant Garry Causey, the court remanded for the district court to engage in additional findings concerning the attempts to serve Garry. View "Norris v. Causey" on Justia Law