FindLaw Opinion Summaries - Civil Procedure

Daily civil procedure case summaries, brought to you by FindLaw.com.

Freedom Path, Inc. v. Internal Revenue Service

(United States Fifth Circuit) - Held that an organization lacked standing to bring a facial challenge to an Internal Revenue Service test for determining certain tax liabilities. The conservative issue-advocacy organization contended that the test was unconstitutionally vague.
Posted: January 16, 2019, 8:00 am

Keep Chicago Livable v. City of Chicago

(United States Seventh Circuit) - Remanded for further findings as to whether a citizen group and six individuals had legal standing to challenge the constitutionality of Chicago's recently enacted Shared Housing Ordinance, which regulates home-sharing activities, including services offered by companies like Airbnb.
Posted: January 14, 2019, 8:00 am

Thompson v. Dallas City Attorney's Office

(United States Fifth Circuit) - Held that res judicata barred an employment discrimination lawsuit. The plaintiff could not litigate in federal court after her other claims were dismissed in state court. Affirmed a dismissal.
Posted: January 11, 2019, 8:00 am

Orange County Water District v. The Arnold Engineering Co.

(California Court of Appeal) - Remanded a discovery-related dispute. The issue involved costs of proof under California Code of Civil Procedure section 2033.420 based on a party's failure to admit requests for admission. Reversed with instructions, in this lawsuit involving liability for groundwater contamination.
Posted: January 10, 2019, 8:00 am

Vantage Health Plan, Inc. v. Willis-Knighton Medical Center

(United States Fifth Circuit) - In a healthcare antitrust case, affirmed a protective order that said certain confidential business documents belonging to a non-party health insurer should be unsealed (but redacted) if and when they are filed on the public docket. The non-party sought stronger confidentiality protections.
Posted: January 9, 2019, 8:00 am

Lee v. Northeast Illinois Regional Commuter Railroad Corp.

(United States Seventh Circuit) - Affirmed the dismissal of a race discrimination lawsuit brought by employees of a commuter railroad. Held that they failed to remedy deficiencies in their complaint despite having opportunities to amend.
Posted: January 8, 2019, 8:00 am

Berkeley Cement, Inc. v. Regents of the University of California

(California Court of Appeal) - Held that mediation costs fall within the category of costs that may be awarded in the trial court’s discretion. Affirmed an award to the prevailing party in this construction dispute.
Posted: January 7, 2019, 8:00 am

Yu v. Liberty Surplus Insurance Corp.

(California Court of Appeal) - Affirmed an order voiding a default judgment on procedural grounds. Held that the complaint did not provide adequate notice to sustain a default because it failed to specify the amount of damages that the plaintiff was seeking, and instead merely prayed for "damages according to proof," in this lawsuit related to the construction of a hotel.
Posted: January 4, 2019, 8:00 am

In re Buccaneer Resources LLC

(United States Fifth Circuit) - Held that a fired chief executive officer could sue the company's secured creditor in state court. Affirmed that his tortious interference claim belonged in state court rather than in the company's bankruptcy proceeding.
Posted: January 4, 2019, 8:00 am

Licudine v. Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

(California Court of Appeal) - Affirmed an order denying prejudgment interest. Held that the plaintiff was not entitled to interest under California Code of Civil Procedure section 998 because her settlement offer was not made in good faith, in this medical malpractice case.
Posted: January 3, 2019, 8:00 am

State of Illinois v. City of Chicago

(United States Seventh Circuit) - Held that a local Fraternal Order of Police lodge could not intervene in the State of Illinois' lawsuit against the Chicago Police Department over its use-of-force policies and practices. Affirmed that the lodge delayed too long before seeking to intervene, so its motion was untimely.
Posted: January 2, 2019, 8:00 am

Simon v. Republic of Hungary

(United States DC Circuit) - Held that 14 Holocaust survivors could proceed with their lawsuit against the Republic of Hungary seeking compensation for the seizure and expropriation of their property during the Holocaust. Reversed the district court, which had dismissed their complaint based on principles of international comity and on grounds of forum non conveniens.
Posted: December 28, 2018, 8:00 am

Drulias v. 1st Century Bancshares, Inc.

(California Court of Appeal) - Affirmed that a proposed shareholder class action could not proceed in a California court. The proper jurisdiction was Delaware because the defendant corporation had adopted a bylaw designating Delaware as the exclusive litigation forum for intra-corporate disputes. The forum selection bylaw was enforceable even though it had been adopted without stockholder consent.
Posted: December 21, 2018, 8:00 am

Gassner v. Stasa

(California Court of Appeal) - Held that a trial court's order awarding costs is appealable when it is made after a voluntary dismissal without prejudice; noted that there is a split of authority on this question.
Posted: December 17, 2018, 8:00 am

Betzner v. Boeing Co.

(United States Seventh Circuit) - Held that a manufacturer of military aircraft that was sued in state court in an asbestos-related personal injury action was entitled to remove the case under the federal officer removal statute, 28 U.S.C. section 1442(a), based on the assertion of a government contractor defense. Reversed the district court.
Posted: December 14, 2018, 8:00 am

Texas v. Travis County, Texas

(United States Fifth Circuit) - Affirmed the dismissal on procedural grounds of the State of Texas' lawsuit against the City of Austin and other defendants relating to sanctuary city policies. The suit sought a declaratory judgment upholding the validity of a recently passed Texas statute requiring local governments to cooperate in immigration enforcement matters. Held that the district court lacked subject matter jurisdiction over this type of declaratory judgment action.
Posted: December 12, 2018, 8:00 am

Cho v. City of New York

(United States Second Circuit) - Revived four plaintiffs' claims that city officials coerced them into signing settlement agreements waiving various constitutional rights in order to avoid eviction under a nuisance abatement ordinance. Held that the district court erred in concluding that subject matter jurisdiction was lacking under the Rooker-Feldman doctrine. Vacated a dismissal and remanded.
Posted: December 11, 2018, 8:00 am

Cumpian v. Alcoa World Alumina, LLC

(United States Fifth Circuit) - Held that a personal injury lawsuit should have been remanded to state court because of the absence of diversity jurisdiction. The district court erred in determining that the parties were completely diverse. Vacated a summary judgment ruling, in a lawsuit brought by a contractor's employee who was injured in an industrial accident at a factory.
Posted: December 6, 2018, 8:00 am

Finance Holding Co., LLC v. The American Institute of Certified Tax Coaches, Inc.

(California Court of Appeal) - Held that a document production order served on a third party (a judgment debtor's employer) was overbroad. Remanded for the trial court to narrow the document production order.
Posted: November 29, 2018, 8:00 am

David L. v. Superior Court (Mariana C.)

(California Court of Appeal) - Held that California could not constitutionally exercise personal jurisdiction in a paternity and child support action over a Connecticut-resident father because he lacked the requisite minimum contacts. Issued a writ of mandate.
Posted: November 26, 2018, 8:00 am

Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. v. Superior Court (Larco Productions, Inc.)

(California Court of Appeal) - Held that the trial court should have dismissed a proposed class action for failure to bring the case to trial within five years, rather than hurriedly setting it for trial when it was not ready for that stage. Granted the defendant's writ petition and ordered the trial court to dismiss the case.
Posted: November 20, 2018, 8:00 am

DeCoster v. Waushara County Highway Dept.

(United States Seventh Circuit) - Held that claim preclusion barred a landowner from bringing suit in federal court under the Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Act to collect attorney fees that he said the county owed him in connection with litigation over highway improvements. He had to present his claim in a previous state court proceeding.
Posted: November 15, 2018, 8:00 am

Huerta v. Kava Holdings, Inc.

(California Court of Appeal) - Held that a fired restaurant server who brought an unsuccessful employment lawsuit was not required to reimburse his employer $50,000 in costs and expert witness fees, even though he had rejected the employer's pretrial Code of Civil Procedure section 998 settlement offer. Reversed the lower court's order, and in doing so discussed recent legislative changes affecting awards of costs and attorney and expert witness fees under the Fair Employment and Housing Act.
Posted: November 14, 2018, 8:00 am

1550 Laurel Owner's Association, Inc. v. Appellate Division of Superior Court (Munshi)

(California Court of Appeal) - Held that an anti-SLAPP motion cannot be brought in a limited civil case. Granted an association's petition for writ of mandate, in its dispute with an individual over his alleged breach of a settlement agreement.
Posted: November 7, 2018, 8:00 am

Dvorak v. Granite Creek GP Flexcap I

(United States Seventh Circuit) - Affirmed the dismissal of an investor's lawsuit on procedural grounds. Although the rules of civil procedure gave him a privilege to voluntarily dismiss his suit without prejudice once, he had previously done so on two occasions.
Posted: November 6, 2018, 8:00 am

SCF Waxler Marine, LLC v. Aris T M/V

(United States Fifth Circuit) - In a revised decision, dismissed an interlocutory appeal for lack of appellate jurisdiction, in a case involving excess insurers' liability for damage resulting from a vessel collision on the Mississippi River. Held that the interlocutory order did not determine the rights and liabilities of the parties.
Posted: October 30, 2018, 8:00 am

Ashford v. Aeroframe Services, LLC

(United States Fifth Circuit) - Held that there was no basis for federal diversity jurisdiction. One of the defendants removed an employment-related lawsuit to federal court, arguing that the only non-diverse defendant was effectively a plaintiff in the case. Disagreeing in a 2-1 decision, the Fifth Circuit discussed broad theories of federal removal jurisdiction, vacating and remanding with instructions to remand to state court.
Posted: October 26, 2018, 8:00 am

Hernandez v. Results Staffing, Inc.

(United States Fifth Circuit) - Affirmed that an employment staffing agency was entitled to relief from a judgment finding it liable for violating a former employee's rights under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, in a case where the parties contested the proper application of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b).
Posted: October 24, 2018, 8:00 am

US v. Conner

(United States Fifth Circuit) - On reconsideration, held that a taxpayer had 60, not 30, days to file his notice of appeal from an order finding him in contempt of court for failure to fully comply with an Internal Revenue Service summons. Withdrew a prior order dismissing his appeal.
Posted: October 22, 2018, 8:00 am

Pagnini v. Union Bank, N.A.

(California Court of Appeal) - Held that the plaintiff was entitled to be relieved from his counsel's mistaken failure to timely respond to a dismissal motion, under a section of California's Code of Civil Procedure addressing mandatory relief from judgment. Reversed the dismissal of the plaintiff's wrongful foreclosure action.
Posted: October 17, 2018, 8:00 am

State Bank and Trust Co. v. C and G Liftboats, LLC

(United States Fifth Circuit) - Dismissed an appeal in a case where a bank sought to foreclose on four ship mortgages and seize three vessels. Held that appellate jurisdiction was lacking because the district court had not finally determined the rights or obligations of the parties.
Posted: October 16, 2018, 8:00 am

Teamsters Local 404 Health Services and Insurance Plan v. King Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

(United States Second Circuit) - Held that it was proper to remand to New York state court a case in which a labor union health plan sought disclosure of a patent dispute settlement agreement between pharmaceutical companies and the generic manufacturer of the EpiPen. Affirmed the district court's remand order, in this special proceeding under New York law seeking pre‐action disclosure.
Posted: October 16, 2018, 8:00 am

Ramirez v. Young

(United States Seventh Circuit) - Held that a non-English speaking prisoner who brought a lawsuit over alleged constitutional wrongs was excused from the requirement to exhaust his administrative remedies because no prison official ever informed him of the existence of a grievance process in a language he could understand. The prisoner, who spoke Spanish, argued that his failure to exhaust administrative remedies should be excused. Finding merit in his argument, the Seventh Circuit reversed the dismissal of his lawsuit and remanded for further proceedings.
Posted: October 9, 2018, 8:00 am

Cheveldave v. Tri Palms Unified Owners Association

(California Court of Appeal) - Held that the trial court erred by granting a homeowner association's anti-SLAPP motion to block a lawsuit filed by individual homeowners, who challenged whether the homeowner association had legal standing to enter into a bankruptcy-related settlement agreement concerning the community's golf course. Reversed the order granting the anti-SLAPP motion.
Posted: October 3, 2018, 8:00 am

Fidelitad, Inc. v. Insitu, Inc.

(United States Ninth Circuit) - Held that the proper forum for a reseller's claims against a manufacturer of aerial military and civilian drones was state court. The manufacturer had removed the case to federal court under a removal provision that pertains to civil actions against federal officers or persons acting under them. On appeal, the Ninth Circuit concluded that this removal provision was inapplicable here, and reversed with instructions to remand the case to state court.
Posted: September 25, 2018, 8:00 am

Sindhi v. Raina

(United States Fifth Circuit) - Affirmed a default judgment entered against an individual residing in India who was being sued by his former employer for allegedly stealing computer source code and using it to create a competing business, in a case where the individual contested personal jurisdiction but failed to follow certain local rules.
Posted: September 25, 2018, 8:00 am

Hammer v. US Department of Health and Human Services

(United States Seventh Circuit) - Held that the district court erred in abstaining from a dispute between the federal government and a defunct health insurance company's liquidator concerning certain monies owed in connection with the Affordable Care Act. Reversed and remanded for further proceedings, concluding also that the district court construed its removal jurisdiction too narrowly.
Posted: September 25, 2018, 8:00 am

Moss Bros. Toy, Inc. v. Ruiz

(California Court of Appeal) - Affirmed an order granting an individual's anti-SLAPP motion to strike a complaint his former employer had filed against him, in a case involving whether the individual had breached an arbitration agreement.
Posted: September 20, 2018, 8:00 am

Freestream Aircraft (Bermuda) Ltd. v. Aero Law Group

(United States Ninth Circuit) - Held that Nevada could constitutionally exercise personal jurisdiction over defendants who allegedly defamed an aircraft company at an aviation industry conference in Las Vegas. The defendants contended that the suit must be dismissed because they lacked minimum contacts with Nevada. Disagreeing, the Ninth Circuit reversed dismissal of the complaint. The panel also clarified what it described as the circuit's confusing case law as to the proper analytical approach to specific jurisdiction.
Posted: September 18, 2018, 8:00 am

Plixer International, Inc. v. Scrutinizer GMBH

(United States First Circuit) - Held that the exercise of specific personal jurisdiction over a German company in a trademark infringement action did not violate due process. The German company, which operated an English-language website, argued that it lacked the requisite minimum contacts with the United States. Disagreeing, the First Circuit affirmed the district court's ruling that the exercise of personal jurisdiction was constitutional.
Posted: September 13, 2018, 8:00 am

In re G.C.

(California Court of Appeal) - Dismissed an appeal for lack of jurisdiction. The appellant contended that the juvenile court must expressly declare whether her Vehicle Code offenses were felonies or misdemeanors. However, the California Sixth Appellate District concluded that she failed to file a proper notice of appeal, expressing disagreement with the Fourth Appellate District's resolution of a similar issue in In re Ramon M., 178 Cal. App. 4th 665 (2009).
Posted: September 12, 2018, 8:00 am

Long v. SEPTA

(United States Third Circuit) - Held that job applicants had legal standing to pursue claims that a prospective employer violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act by failing to send them copies of their background checks. The employer argued that the job applicants lacked standing because they alleged a bare procedural violation of the statute but no concrete injury in fact. Disagreeing, the Third Circuit reversed the district court in relevant part and remanded.
Posted: September 10, 2018, 8:00 am

Rynearson v. Ferguson

(United States Ninth Circuit) - Held that a constitutional challenge to Washington's cyberstalking law should not have been dismissed on grounds of abstention. Due to certain online postings, the plaintiff was the subject of a state court stalking protection order. He responded by filing an action in federal court seeking a declaration that Washington's cyberstalking law is unconstitutional. Reversing and remanding, the Ninth Circuit held that the district court erred in applying the doctrine to abstain from hearing the case.
Posted: September 7, 2018, 8:00 am

Brown v. Sage

(United States Third Circuit) - Held that a federal prisoner could proceed in forma pauperis (IFP) with a lawsuit alleging that prison employees violated his constitutional rights. The district court had denied the prisoner's IFP request, applying the so-called three strikes rule of the Prison Litigation Reform Act. Reversing, the Third Circuit held that the prisoner had not accrued three strikes. The panel used its own precedent to evaluate whether his prior lawsuits were frivolous, malicious, or failed to state a claim, rather than that of the circuit from which the potential strikes emanated.
Posted: September 7, 2018, 8:00 am

InfoSpan, Inc. v. Emirates NBD Bank PJSC

(United States Ninth Circuit) - Held that there was no basis for personal jurisdiction over a United Arab Emirates bank in a commercial dispute with a technology firm. The firm argued that the bank had waived its personal-jurisdiction defense through its litigation conduct. Disagreeing, the Ninth Circuit reversed and remanded with directions to dismiss the case because the bank lacked sufficient minimum contacts with the U.S.
Posted: September 7, 2018, 8:00 am

Martinez v. Landry's Restaurants, Inc.

(California Court of Appeal) - Affirmed the dismissal of a wage-hour lawsuit because the plaintiff-employees failed to bring the case to trial within five years, as extended. The plaintiffs argued that the trial court made reversible errors in calculating the California Code of Civil Procedure's mandatory five-year period for bringing cases to trial. Unconvinced, the California Second Appellate District affirmed dismissal of the suit.
Posted: August 28, 2018, 8:00 am

Williams v The Pep Boys

(California Court of Appeal) - Reversed in part and remanded. Plaintiffs, the surviving children of decedent J.D. Williams who died of mesothelioma allegedly caused by exposure to asbestos in brakes purchased from defendant. A San Francisco trial court found for defendants as to claims barred by statute of limitations and that damage awards on remaining claims were offset by settlements before trial. The California First District Appellate court affirmed the statute of limitations and the offset of damages, but reversed the decision not to award damages for home health services and the award of expert fees under a section 998.
Posted: August 23, 2018, 8:00 am

Vooys v. Bentley

(United States Third Circuit) - Dismissed a petition for certiorari review of a decision of the Virgin Islands Supreme Court due to lack of appellate jurisdiction. The defendant asked the Third Circuit to exercise its authority to review the Virgin Islands high court's decision in a breach-of-contract case. In an en banc ruling, the Third Circuit held that it lacked jurisdiction to hear the appeal because Congress has terminated its jurisdiction over certiorari petitions filed after December 28, 2012, regardless of when the case was originally filed.
Posted: August 21, 2018, 8:00 am

Murray v. City of Philadelphia

(United States Third Circuit) - Dismissed an appeal filed in a civil rights case by the estate of a man who was shot and killed by police officers. As the administrator of the estate, the man's mother filed suit alleging that the officers had used excessive force. When the jury returned a verdict in favor of the officers, she appealed pro se. Dismissing her appeal on grounds that she had filed it without counsel, the Third Circuit held that a non-attorney who is not a beneficiary of an estate may not conduct a case pro se on behalf of the estate.
Posted: August 21, 2018, 8:00 am

Paysys International, Inc. v. Atos IT Services Ltd.

(United States Second Circuit) - Held that a plaintiff was entitled to withdraw its motion to voluntarily dismiss a case. The district court had said the plaintiff must pay the defendant's attorney fees pursuant to a contractual fee-shifting provision if it wanted to voluntarily dismiss the case. On appeal, the Second Circuit agreed with the plaintiff that it was entitled to withdraw its motion and continue litigating the case rather than acquiesce to the court's terms for voluntary dismissal under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(a)(2).
Posted: August 20, 2018, 8:00 am