Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit

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Plaintiffs filed a putative class action against Saber, alleging that defendants failed to deliver contractually promised care and failed to comply with certain state law requirements. After removal to federal court, the district court granted plaintiffs' motion to remand to state court based on the forum selection clause in plaintiffs' contracts. The Fourth Circuit vacated and remanded for further proceedings and factual development on the question of whether all of the defendants were bound by the forum selection clause contained in the contracts executed by plaintiffs. In this case, although the plain language of the forum selection clause precluded removal, a question remains as to whether all of the defendants were alter egos or otherwise bound by the clause. View "Bartels v. Saber Healthcare Group, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Fourth Circuit granted the Government's motion to dismiss defendant's appeal because his appeal was time-barred. The court rejected defendant's argument that the Government was tardy in filing the motion to dismiss and that delay effectively cures any failure to observe the requirements of the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure on his part. The court held that the Government's motion to dismiss was timely and thus, the Government's motion to dismiss defendant's untimely appeal should be granted. In this case, defendant did not address the application of Local Rule 27(f) in his briefs and he never identified any prejudice he suffered by virtue of the timing of the Government's motion to dismiss. View "United States v. Hyman" on Justia Law

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Dart Cherokee Basin Operating Co., LLC v. Owens, 135 S. Ct. 547 (2014), did not undermine Palisades Collections LLC v. Shorts, 552 F.3d 327, 331 (4th Cir. 2008). In this case, Home Depot filed a Petition for Permission to Appeal the district court's order remanding to state court. The Fourth Circuit deferred ruling on the petition pending consideration of the merits of the appeal. The court held that the Supreme Court has not called into question Palisades's conclusion that an additional counter-defendant is not entitled to remove under 28 U.S.C. 1441(a) or 1453(b), nor has it abandoned Shamrock Oil’s definition of "defendant" in the class action context. See Shamrock Oil & Gas Corp. v. Sheets, 313 U.S. 100, 108 (1941). The court held that Palisades applied to Home Depot. The court also held that the district court properly declined to realign the parties and correctly remanded to state court. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. . View "Jackson v. Home Depot U.S.A., Inc." on Justia Law

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This appeal arose out of litigation by family members of United States sailors killed in the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole against the Republic of Sudan for its alleged support of Al Qaeda. The district court denied Sudan's motion to vacate default judgments entered against it. The Fourth Circuit reversed the district court's order, holding that plaintiffs' method of serving process did not comport with the statutory requirements of 28 U.S.C. 1608(a)(3), and thus the district court lacked personal jurisdiction over Sudan. The court remanded to the district court with instructions to allow Kumar the opportunity to perfect service of process. View "Kumar v. Republic of Sudan" on Justia Law

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Wayne Oliver filed suit in state court against CMC, alleging asbestos exposure claims. CMC filed a third-party complaint against several entities, including GE. GE removed to the district court and the district court granted Oliver's motion to sever his claims and to remand to state court and concomitantly retained jurisdiction over CMC's third-party claims, which the district court stayed. The Fourth Circuit dismissed CMC's appeal for lack of appellate jurisdiction, including jurisdiction under the collateral order doctrine. View "Campbell-McCormick, Inc. v. Oliver" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against Wauquiez Boats, alleging claims for breach of maritime contract and for products liability under the general maritime law. The district court dismissed the complaint under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) for failing adequately to demonstrate admiralty and maritime jurisdiction. However, plaintiff had filed an amended complaint under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15 roughly an hour before the district court filed its order dismissing the case. The Fourth Circuit reasoned that, because the amended complaint remained the operative complaint in the district court and was unaddressed by Wauquiez Boats or the court, the district court's order dismissing the original complaint and denying sanctions was not a final decision under 28 U.S.C. 1291. Accordingly, the court dismissed plaintiff's appeal and Wauquiez Boats' cross-appeal requesting sanctions, for lack of appellate jurisdiction. View "Fawzy v. Wauquiez Boats SNC" on Justia Law

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This case arose out of an underlying action to enforce the health benefits provisions of two court-approved settlement agreements. The Fourth Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction. The court held that a motion for preliminary injunction filed before the act to be enjoined has occurred, and subsequently intended to restore the status quo once it has been disturbed, was not moot. The court also held that the district court had jurisdiction over plaintiffs' claim pursuant to Section 502(a)(1)(B) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). On the merits, the court held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in finding that plaintiffs failed to demonstrate a likelihood of success on the merits; that they were likely to suffer irreparable harm without a preliminary injunction; and that the balance of the equities and the public interest favor an injunction. View "Di Biase v. SPX Corp." on Justia Law

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After a dispute arose regarding DynCorp's billing practices, Northrop Grumman filed suit against DynCorp in Virginia state court seeking to compel DynCorp to provide documentation to substantiate DynCorp's invoices. The Fourth Circuit affirmed the district court's order remanding the case to state court, holding that Northrop Grumman filed an untimely notice of removal after demonstrating a clear intent to pursue the case to completion in the state court. View "Northrop Grumman Technical Services, Inc. v. DynCorp International LLC" on Justia Law

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When Joseph Morris died of mesothelioma, his family and personal representative filed suit against Foster Wheeler and others in Maryland state court. After removal to federal court, the district court granted plaintiffs' motion to remand to state court because Foster Wheeler did not make a sufficient showing that it had a colorable federal defense and that, in any event, the conduct for which it was sued was not causally connected to official authority. The Fourth Circuit reversed and held that the district court applied the wrong standard for determining removability under 28 U.S.C. 1442(a)(1), and that Foster Wheeler met the statute's requirements. The court remanded for the district court to determine in the first instance whether Foster Wheeler's removal was timely noticed. View "Sawyer v. Foster Wheeler LLC" on Justia Law

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A California nonprofit mutual benefit corporation, Abella, sought relief from the enforcement of a final class action judgment against MI Windows entered in this multidistrict litigation. The district court rejected Abella's arguments that the district court lacked authority to enjoin its prosecution of the state action against MI Windows and that Abella should not be bound by the class action judgment because of the excusable neglect of its counsel in overlooking the opt-out deadline. The Fourth Circuit affirmed and held that the district court's injunction was justified by the "relitigation exception" of the Anti-Injunction Act, 28 U.S.C. 2283, and that the district court did not abuse its discretion in concluding that the neglect of Abella's counsel was not excusable. View "Abella Owners’ Ass'n v. MI Windows & Doors, Inc." on Justia Law