Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

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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

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The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's decision to enjoin state court civil proceedings until the conclusion of the government's criminal investigation, or for a period of one year, whichever first occurred. The court held that the district court had authority to enjoin the state court proceedings where the general prohibition against federal courts granting injunctions to stay state court proceedings did not apply when the United States, as here, seeks the injunction. The company in this case was pursuing a civil lawsuit in state court seeking, among other things, return or ownership of electronic devices currently held by federal investigators. If not enjoined, further proceedings in state court, including civil discovery, could undermine the federal criminal investigation into the company. View "In re: Grand Jury Subpoena" on Justia Law

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In this appeal stemming from the desegregation of the school district, the Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's rejection of the School Board's latest proposed candidate, approving instead the candidate supported by plaintiffs and the Court Compliance Officer. The court held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in modifying the academic-qualifications requirement and the selection-and-approval process. The court also held that the district court did not err by denying the motion for relief from judgment under Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(b) where a candidate's role with the Ministerial Alliance did not justify holding that the district court abused its discretion in appointing the candidate as Chief Desegregation Implementation Officer (CDIO). View "Moore v. Tangipahoa Parish School Board" on Justia Law

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This appeal arose out of the district court's approval of a zero-dollar class action settlement and award of attorneys' fees in a consolidated lawsuit stemming from a merger between Midstream and Equity. The Fifth Circuit dismissed a class member's objection to the settlement based on lack of appellate jurisdiction. In this case, the class member was a nonparty, non-intervenor, who waived his right to appeal by filing an untimely, procedurally deficient objection. Furthermore, he failed to qualify for an exception pursuant to Devlin v. Scardelletti, 536 U.S. 1, 3–4, 6–7 (2002). View "Aron v. Crestwood Midstream Partners" on Justia Law

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This interlocutory appeal arose out of litigation between rival companies that specialize in highway toll collection technology. The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of HTA's motion for summary judgment based on Texas's judicial proceedings privilege. Determining that it had jurisdiction over the appeal, the court proceeded to the merits. The court read Texas caselaw as signaling limits on which communications made prior to the initiation of litigation qualify as sufficiently related to the contemplated judicial proceeding identified by the defendant. In this case, the court agreed with the district court that these limits preclude application of the privilege here, most significantly, because of the disconnect between the purpose of the communications and HTA's later tortious interference litigation, as well as the circumstances of the third-party recipients. View "BancPass, Inc. v. Highway Toll Administration, LLC" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit pro se asserting a takings claim against the United States. The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's conclusion that, under the Tucker Act, plaintiff must pursue his claim in the Court of Federal Claims (CFC). The Tucker Act vests exclusive jurisdiction for takings claims over $10,000 in the CFC and plaintiff asserted that he was entitled to $900,000 in just compensation. Therefore, the district court properly dismissed the claim based on lack of subject-matter jurisdiction. View "Sammons v. United States" on Justia Law