Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

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McCall resigned from Shaw and later became the CEO of Allied, Shaw’s direct competitor. Shaw sued, citing noncompete and nonsolicitation agreements in McCall’s employment contract. Those agreements call for arbitration and state that the employer may seek injunctive relief without waiving the right to arbitrate. The state court issued a Joint Protective Order. Aptim acquired the rights to McCall’s employment agreement but withdrew a subsequent motion for substitution in the suit. Aptim filed a demand for arbitration with the American Arbitration Association. Shaw filed an amended petition, deleting its request for damages, and a motion to dismiss the amended petition with prejudice. McCall filed an opposition, an answer, a counterclaim, a petition for declaratory judgment, a motion to consolidate, and a motion for constructive contempt against Aptim for demanding arbitration in violation of the protective order, though Aptim was not then a party to the case. Aptim, without Shaw, sued in federal court to compel arbitration and to stay the state-court proceeding. Before the federal court ruled, the state court issued an order joining Aptim in the state-court action, retroactively effective, finding that Aptim and Shaw had waived their arbitration rights. The federal district court then ordered arbitration and stayed the state-court action. The Fifth Circuit affirmed, finding that the factors weighed against abstention because the case does not involve jurisdiction over a thing and federal law provides the rules of decision on the merits and strongly favors arbitration. View "Aptim Corp. v. McCall" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit granted relator's petitioner for a writ of mandamus directing the district court to resolve this False Claims Act case. The court held that the requirements for mandamus relief were easily met in this case, because the case has been pending for over nine years and the two motions identified in the petition have been pending for approximately four years. The court reasoned that the district judge has had ample time to consider the pending motions—including the nearly six months since relator filed his petition for a writ of mandamus. View "In Re: Richard Drummond" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed suit against Avondale and others in state court, alleging that defendants exposed their sister, Mary Jane Wilde, to asbestos and caused her to die of mesothelioma. The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's decision to remand the case back to state court after removal to federal court under 28 U.S.C. 1442. The court held that, under controlling precedent, Avondale must show a causal connection between the federal officer’s direction and the conduct challenged by plaintiffs. Because Avondale has failed to make this showing of a causal nexus, the district court properly remanded the case back to state court. View "Legendre v. Huntington Ingalls, Inc." on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed suit against Avondale and others in state court, alleging that defendants exposed their sister, Mary Jane Wilde, to asbestos and caused her to die of mesothelioma. The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's decision to remand the case back to state court after removal to federal court under 28 U.S.C. 1442. The court held that, under controlling precedent, Avondale must show a causal connection between the federal officer’s direction and the conduct challenged by plaintiffs. Because Avondale has failed to make this showing of a causal nexus, the district court properly remanded the case back to state court. View "Legendre v. Huntington Ingalls, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of plaintiffs' Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b)(6) motion to vacate claims rendered moot by intervening legislation enacted after the court issued its judgment but before the time to appeal had expired. In this case, the appeal was mooted by actions of the Louisiana legislature, which was not a party to this suit; no "fault" in mooting the appeal was attributable to any of the defendants, even though some of them were officials of the State of Louisiana; and Plaintiff Hall was not subject to a money judgment or any injunctive relief as a result of the district court’s judgment. The court held that, under these circumstances, the district court did not abuse its discretion in concluding that Hall was not entitled to vacatur under Rule 60(b)(6). View "Hall v. Louisiana" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiffs' suit based on forum non conveniens. The court held that Louisiana Revised Statute 22:868 does not evince a public policy against forum-selection clauses in insurance contracts. Therefore, the court found that the parties' insurance policy contained an enforceable forum-selection clause requiring litigation in New York state court. Furthermore, the public interest factors did not weigh in favor of keeping this case in Louisiana. View "Al Copeland Investments, LLC v. First Specialty Insurance Corp." on Justia Law

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Itron alleged that misrepresentations by three of SmartSynch's corporate officers (defendants) caused it unknowingly to assume an unwanted $60 million contractual obligation to a third party, Consert. Itron eventually settled Consert's claims and then filed suit against defendants for negligent misrepresentation. The magistrate judge ordered Itron to produce, without qualification, materials that were shielded from disclosure by the attorney-client privilege. The Fifth Circuit granted Itron's petition for mandamus and vacated the magistrate judge's order, holding that the mere act of filing the lawsuit effected no waiver of any attorney-client privilege. The court remanded with instructions to reevaluate defendants' motion. View "In Re: Itron, Inc." on Justia Law

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Nagravision, a Swedish company, filed suit against Gotech, a Chinese company, in the Southern District of Texas, alleging claims under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and the Federal Communications Act (FCA). Gotech ignored the lawsuit and the subsequent $100 million-plus default judgment. After Nagravision initiated enforcement proceedings and succeeded in freezing Gotech's assets, Gotech filed a motion in the Southern District of Texas for relief from default under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60. The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of the motion, holding that Nagravision had standing to bring its claims; the judgment was not void for lack of subject matter jurisdiction; service was proper; and Gotech failed to establish that the district court lacked personal jurisdiction under Rule 4(k)(2). View "Nagravision SA v. Gotech International Technology Ltd." on Justia Law

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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