Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

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Plaintiff filed suit under Louisiana law in state court against Aeroframe and ATS. ATS subsequently moved the state court proceeding to federal court. The Fifth Circuit vacated and remanded the matter to state court, holding that there was no diversity of citizenship at the time the suit was filed where plaintiff and Aeroframe were Louisiana citizens. The court held that, because the magistrate judge found that plaintiff's principal purpose for suing Aeroframe was legitimate, fidelity to Zurn Industries, Inc. v. Acton Construction Co., 847 F.2d 234 (5th Cir. 1988), required relinquishing the case. The court also held that no provision of the removal statute applied to the circumstances in this case and Peters v. Standard Oil Co. of Texas, 174 F.2d 162, 163 (5th Cir. 1949), was inapplicable here. View "Ashford v. Aeroframe Services, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's order granting RSI's Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b) motion for relief from the court's prior judgment. The court held that the district court did not lack jurisdiction to grant relief pursuant to Rule 60(b)(3) in light of Standard Oil Co. of California v. United States, 429 U.S. 17, 17 (1976). The court explained that the Rule 60(b) motion came on the heels of a reversal, rather than an affirmance, of the initial ruling was an insufficient basis for stripping a district court of its jurisdiction to hear Rule 60(b) motions without leave. In this case, the district court found that RSI established, by clear and convincing evidence, that plaintiff's misconduct prevented it from a full and fair hearing of its case. Therefore, the district court did not abuse its discretion when it granted relief from judgment. View "Hernandez v. Results Staffing, Inc." on Justia Law

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The 60-day deadline to file a notice of appeal under Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 4(a)(1)(B) operates any time the government was a party to one of the consolidated lawsuits, even where the appeal solely concerns a different lawsuit and the government is not a party to the appeal. Defendant sought an en banc rehearing of the Fifth Circuit's decision to dismiss as time-barred his appeal of the district court's denial of his motion to vacate a second contempt order. The court treated the petition for en banc rehearing as a motion for panel reconsideration and granted the motion for reconsideration, withdrawing its prior order dismissing the appeal. The court held that United States v. Brumfield was inconsistent with its prior caselaw on the 60-day limit for him to file his notice of appeal under Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 4(a)(1)(B), and its tension with governing law grew in the face of the 2011 Rules and statutory revisions. View "United States v. Conner" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of 104 plaintiffs' claims related to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Plaintiffs, individuals and associations located in Mexico that rely on the fishing industry as a primary source of income, argued that the district court abused its discretion in making dismissal with prejudice the remedy for failing to comply with pretrial order (PTO) 60. The court held that plaintiffs' failure to comply with PTO 60 constituted a clear record of delay considering the number of opportunities the district court gave plaintiffs to either comply with PTO 60, explain why they could not do so, or show documentation of their attorneys' efforts. The court also held that the district court's explicit warnings and second chances illustrated that lesser sanctions would not serve the best interests of justice. View "Barrera v. BP, PLC" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit dismissed defendants' appeal of the district court's grant of summary judgment to plaintiff in an action under the Ship Mortgage Act. The court held that it lacked jurisdiction over the appeal because the district court's order did not finally determine the rights or obligations of the parties in this dispute. View "State Bank & Trust Co. v. C&G Liftboats, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit dismissed as moot an action challenging the discontinued practice of Louisiana public defenders of placing indigent, non-capital defendants on wait lists for appointed counsel. The court held that the Louisiana Legislature's recent $5 million reallocation of indigent-defense funding has eliminated all wait lists for non-capital defendants. Therefore, because current wait lists in the districts for noncapital defendants were non-existent, there was no live case or controversy. View "Yarls v. Bunton" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of a class action filed by plaintiff, alleging claims under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). The court held that the district court's dismissal without prejudice supported appellate jurisdiction. The court also held that the district court did not abuse its discretion by dismissing the case for want of prosecution in response to plaintiff's disobedience to its prior order compelling arbitration. View "Griggs v. S.G.E. Management" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's entry of a default judgment against defendant in an action filed by plaintiff, alleging misappropriation of confidential software and copyright infringement claims, as well as trade secret claims under state law. Determining that it had appellate jurisdiction, the court held that the district court did not abuse its discretion by entering the default judgment given defendant's repeated failures to comply with the district court's rules of procedure, as well as his significant delay in challenging the entry of default. The court held that defendant also failed to show how the district court abused its discretion under any of the Rule 60(b) subsections. Finally, the court affirmed the district court's order striking defendant's motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction; order granting a permanent injunction against defendant; and order ruling that the district court properly exercised personal jurisdiction. View "Sindhi v. Raina" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal with prejudice as to relators and without prejudice as to the Government in an action under the False Claims Act (FCA). The court held that the district court did not err by dismissing the Government without prejudice when relators sought to abandon their claims. The court explained that relators acted on purely private interests and the Government, even one that chose not to intervene, should not be bound by that decision, because it was powerless to vindicate the public's interests in other actions that may have a stronger basis or a relator more able to shoulder the burdens of litigation. The court rejected United's remaining claims regarding relators' voluntary dismissal and held that the district court did not abuse its discretion. View "United States ex rel. Vaughn v. United Biologics, LLC" on Justia Law

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After a marine accident that resulted in damages estimated to exceed $60 million, Valero, Shell and Motiva asked the court to resolve whether the excess insurers of one of the involved vessels may limit their liability to that of the insured vessel. The district court held that the Protection and Indemnity policy covering the vessel has a Crown Zellerbach clause thereby permitting the excess insurers to limit their liability to that of the insured vessel. The Fifth Circuit dismissed the appeal based on lack of appellate jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. 1292(a)(3), holding that the district court's Order and Reasons failed to determine the rights and liabilities of the parties. The court found no compelling reason to distinguish between a district court's determination of a contractual entitlement rather than statutory entitlement to limit liability. The court joined the Eleventh Circuit in holding that neither decision was reviewable on appeal under section 1292(a)(3). View "SCF Waxler Marine, LLC v. Aris T M/V" on Justia Law