Articles Posted in Civil Procedure

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The Eleventh Circuit vacated the district court's dismissal of an action brought by Fastcase against Lawriter under the Declaratory Judgment Act. The court held that the district court erred in dismissing Fastcase's complaint for lack of federal-question jurisdiction. In this case, the district court had jurisdiction over the suit despite the fact that Lawriter had not registered a copyright in the Georgia Regulations. The court also held that the district court erred by concluding that it lacked diversity jurisdiction where Fastcase's potential liability was not too speculative to satisfy the amount-in-controversy requirement and the amount-in-controversy requirement was satisfied. Accordingly, the court remanded for further proceedings. View "Fastcase, Inc. v. Lawriter, LLC" on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Procedure

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At issue in this case was whether the False Claims Act (FCA) allows a qui tam plaintiff to intervene in criminal forfeiture proceedings when the government chooses to prosecute fraud rather than to intervene in the qui tam plaintiff's action. The Eleventh Circuit held that, even if the FCA could be read to allow intervention, the statutes governing criminal forfeiture specifically barred it, with exceptions that did not apply in this case. The court held that the criminal forfeiture statutes controlled and agreed with the district court's denial of the interested party's motion to intervene. The court held that, because denial was proper, the court no longer had jurisdiction over the appeal. Accordingly, the court dismissed the appeal based on lack of jurisdiction. View "United States v. Couch" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed suit against state officials in state court, seeking injunctive and declaratory relief entitling them to an enhanced status in the retirement system for Alabama state employees. The state officials removed the action to federal court. The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of immunity from suit to defendants, holding that the officials have either waived or forfeited any immunity from suit and that the court lacked jurisdiction to consider their immunity from liability on interlocutory appeal. View "Green v. Graham" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed suit in Florida state court alleging that defendants, including Union Carbide, negligently failed to warn users of the health hazards of asbestos and defectively designed their products. Union Carbide removed the case to federal court where the district court dismissed Union Carbide based on lack of personal jurisdiction. The Eleventh Circuit affirmed, holding that Union Carbide was not subject to specific jurisdiction because plaintiffs could not show that their claims arose out of Union Carbide's contacts with Florida. Furthermore, Union Carbide was not subject to general jurisdiction because there was no evidence that Union Carbide was at home in Florida. View "Waite v. AII Acquisition Corp." on Justia Law

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The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of the case with prejudice for failure to state a claim, but on an alternative ground. The court held that counsel for homeowners filed a multi-count, incomprehensible complaint that flouted the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and this Circuit's well-established precedent. The court found that plaintiffs obstructed the due administration of justice in the district court by attempting to prosecute an incomprehensible pleading to judgment. Furthermore, plaintiffs were doing the same here by urging this court to uphold the sufficiency of their amended complaint. The court instructed counsel to show cause why the court should not order him to pay defendants double costs and their expenses, including the attorney's fees they incurred in defending these appeals. View "Jackson v. Specialized Loan Servicing LLC" on Justia Law

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In this consolidated appeal, plaintiff alleged that the district court abused its discretion by dismissing his two lawsuits based on the doctrine of judicial estoppel as a result of his failure to disclose them in his bankruptcy proceeding. Applying a two-part test to guide district courts in applying judicial estoppel, the court held that plaintiff took an inconsistent position under oath in a separate proceeding and the inconsistent positions were calculated to make a mockery of the judicial system. In this case, plaintiff not only failed to include the two lawsuits in his initial bankruptcy filings but he also failed to include them in any of the six separate amendments that he made to his schedules and filings during the bankruptcy proceeding. Plaintiff only disclosed the lawsuits after defendants had relied on plaintiff's failure to disclose as grounds for dismissal. View "Weakley v. Eagle Logistics" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff entered into a joint stipulation with NHMA purporting to voluntarily dismiss a 42 U.S.C. 1981 claim pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(a)(1) and then moved the district court to enter final judgment on her remaining employment-related claims. The district court denied the motion because it no longer had jurisdiction over the action after plaintiff voluntarily dismissed her lone remaining claim. The Eleventh Circuit reversed, holding that the parties' joint stipulation of dismissal was invalid where Rule 41(a)(1) permitted voluntary dismissals only of entire actions, not claims. Therefore, the court held that the invalid joint stipulation did not divest the district court of jurisdiction over the case. View "Pamela M. Perry, M.D. v. The Schumacher Group of Louisiana" on Justia Law

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The Eleventh Circuit vacated the district court's grant of summary judgment to AIG in an action filed by AGLIC claiming that AIG, acting as a primary insurer, improperly allocated settlement payments between two insurance policies on behalf of their mutual insured, Imperial. The court held that, because the interests of St. Paul and AGLIC were coextensive, there was an absence of complete diversity of citizenship, and the district court lacked the power to entertain the matter in the first place. Therefore, the court remanded with instructions to dismiss. View "National Union Fire Insurance Co. of Pittsburgh v. American Guarantee & Liability Insurance Co." on Justia Law

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Defendant appealed the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the United States for unpaid federal income taxes, late penalties, and interest accrued. The Eleventh Circuit initially affirmed but then later granted rehearing en banc and overruled Mays v. United States, 763 F.2d 1295 (11th Cir. 1985). On remand to the original panel, the parties raised arguments that no longer resemble the arguments they had made to the district court. Therefore, the court vacated the judgment of the district court and remanded to the district court to consider the new arguments in the first instance. View "United States v. Stein" on Justia Law

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The Eleventh Circuit held that this action claiming that the City violated the Establishment Clause when it approved the construction of a religious center near plaintiffs' homes was moot and no longer justiciable. In this case, a state court barred the construction of the center after the lawsuit was commenced. View "Gaglilardi v. City of Boca Raton Florida" on Justia Law