Justia U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in Civil Procedure
by
After DLM licensed its private jet booking website to Fly Victor in exchange for Fly Victor's agreement to invest in increasing traffic to the site and to share booking revenues with DLM, DLM filed suit against Fly Victor alleging that its directors and officers violated the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) by defrauding DLM of the site revenues and laundering these ill-gotten gains through closely held firms.The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of the case based on lack of personal jurisdiction and because the revenue sharing agreement's selection clauses mandated litigation of the dispute in an English court. The court explained that, for a statutory basis for personal jurisdiction, DLM relies only on a RICO provision that allows for service of process in any United States judicial district. However, the court concluded that this statute cannot provide personal jurisdiction because DLM did not serve any party within the United States. Rather, DLM only attempted service on defendants in a London office building. Furthermore, the court concluded that the forum selection clauses are enforceable, plainly apply to DLM's claims, and require dismissal in favor of an English forum. View "Don't Look Media LLC v. Fly Victor Limited" on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Procedure
by
The Eleventh Circuit vacated the district court's order denying defendant's motion to modify a protective order. Defendant, who was sued for her alleged involvement in money laundering and market manipulation schemes, sought to modify a joint, stipulated protective order so that she could use certain confidential materials obtained from the Funds to defend herself against a possible Swiss prosecution for her role in the schemes. Before defendant could file her motion to modify, the Funds voluntarily dismissed their case under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(a)(1)(A)(i). The court concluded that the Funds' voluntary dismissal stripped the district court of jurisdiction to consider defendant's post-dismissal motion to modify. View "Absolute Activist Value Master Fund Limited v. Devine" on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Procedure
by
Plaintiff filed suit against the Douglas County Sheriff, in his official capacity, under 42 U.S.C. 1983, alleging that the Sheriff operates the jail with a policy that allows "cross-gender supervision of inmates without reasonable safeguards in place." Plaintiff alleged that a sheriff's deputy fondled her, kissed her, and watched her shower, all without her consent, when she was an inmate in the county jail. Plaintiff reasoned that the sheriff's deputy, who is male, could do these things because of the cross-gender supervision policy.The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of the Sheriff's motion to dismiss, concluding that the district court correctly held that the Sheriff was entitled to Eleventh Amendment immunity under Purcell ex rel. Estate of Morgan v. Toombs County, 400 F.3d 1313 (11th Cir. 2005). The court declined to overrule Purcell and Manders v. Lee, 338 F.3d 1304 (11th Cir. 2003) (en banc), based on the court's prior precedent rule. Furthermore, the court has categorically rejected any exception to that rule based on a perceived defect in the prior panel's reasoning or analysis as it relates to the law in existence at that time. View "Andrews v. Biggers" on Justia Law

by
In this appeal, the Eleventh Circuit considered a question of first impression: whether the district court has authority to remand a case based on a procedural defect in removal when (1) a motion to remand for lack of subject matter jurisdiction is filed within 30 days of the notice of removal, but (2) a procedural defect is not raised until after the 30-day statutory time limit.The court concluded that 28 U.S.C. 1447(c) allows a district court to remand based on lack of subject matter jurisdiction or upon a timely motion to remand on the basis of a procedural defect. In this case, the district court's remand order is based on neither of those grounds. Rather, plaintiff untimely raised a procedural defect in removal, thus forfeiting that objection. Consequently, the district court had no authority to remand the case on that basis. The court vacated the order remanding the case to state court. View "Shipley v. Helping Hands Therapy" on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Procedure
by
This appeal consolidates seven separate cases that three related corporate entities, MSP, originally filed in Florida state court against seventeen insurance companies. The district court granted MSP's motions to remand but declined to order the insurance companies to pay MSP's attorney's fees and costs.The Eleventh Circuit concluded that it does not have jurisdiction over the cross-appeals brought by Travelers, Northland, and Owners insurance companies. In this case, the remand orders fall within the scope of 28 U.S.C. 1447(c) and are unreviewable. Therefore, the court dismissed the cross-appeals for lack of jurisdiction. The court also concluded that the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying MSP's motions for attorney's fees and costs. The court held that it is not an abuse of discretion for a district judge to decline to award attorney's fees and costs under section 1447(c) simply because that judge or other district court judges within the same district have previously remanded in similar cases. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's orders. View "MSP Recovery Claims, Series LLC v. The Hanover Insurance Co." on Justia Law

by
Appellants Lee, Bennett, and the law firm challenge the district court's orders requiring the firm to pay $15,000 into the court's registry and directing that $7,000 of those funds be paid to the Criminal Justice Act (CJA) fund to cover the fees and expenses of defendants' court-appointed counsel. In this case, shortly after defendants were arraigned, the district court disqualified the attorneys and the law firm from representing any of the defendants based upon an actual or potential conflict of interest. The law firm had already collected a total of $21,000 from defendants.The Eleventh Circuit dismissed for lack of jurisdiction appellants' challenge to the district court's determination that funds were available to defendants. The court explained that this argument does not fit within the narrow exception that permits the court to review a district court's compliance with 18 U.S.C. 3006A's procedures. The court affirmed in all other respects. The court concluded that there was no error in the district court sua sponte raising the question of whether a portion of the fees paid to appellants were available for payment from or on behalf of defendants; the district court performed a thoroughly appropriate inquiry before entering its order directing the payment of $15,000 into the court's registry; and appellants were able to seek further review in the district court when they filed objections to the magistrate judge's order. Even if the court assumed that the district court failed to afford appellants adequate notice and opportunity to be heard before directing them to pay money into the court's registry, the error was harmless. Finally, the district court committed no procedural error based on the timing of its order directing appellants to pay funds into the court's registry. View "United States v. Pacheo-Romero" on Justia Law

by
Plaintiff filed suit against Intuitive for injuries following a surgical procedure, seeking money damages. After a two-day Daubert hearing, the district court agreed with Intuitive's position and excluded the testimony of plaintiff's expert.The Eleventh Circuit reversed, concluding that the district court erred in its application of the Daubert test and thus improperly entered summary judgment in favor of Intuitive. The court concluded that the district court abused its discretion in finding that perceived deficiencies in the expert's testimony rendered him unqualified to provide expert testimony in this case. In light of Quiet Tech. DC-8, Inc. v. Hurel-Dubois UK Ltd., 326 F.3d 1333, 1342 (11th Cir. 2003), the court concluded that the expert is qualified to perform a differential etiology on a patient who suffered a thermal injury during a hysterectomy performed with a da Vinci robot not because of his familiarity with the robot, but because of his familiarity with differential etiologies in the context of gynecological procedures. As such, the district court applied the incorrect legal standard, and thus abused its discretion.Even if the court were to ignore the district court's manifestly erroneous ruling that conflated the reliability and qualifications prongs, the court would still be obliged to reverse, as the district court imposed an admissibility standard on expert qualifications that was "too high." The court concluded that the district court improperly based its evidentiary determinations on the weight and persuasiveness of the evidence, and that Federal Rule of Evidence 702 does not impose any such requirements. Therefore, the expert was qualified to testify regarding the standard of care in hysterectomy procedures and the cause of plaintiff's injuries. On remand, the court directed that the case be assigned to a different judge. View "Moore v. Intuitive Surgical, Inc." on Justia Law

by
This panel originally held that binding circuit precedent required that it conclude that nominal damages claims alone could not save appellants' otherwise moot constitutional challenges. On March 8, 2021, the Supreme Court reversed the panel's opinion.On remand from the Supreme Court, which held that an award of nominal damages by itself can redress a past injury, the panel reversed the district court's dismissal of appellants' First Amended Complaint and remanded for further proceedings. View "Uzuegbunam v. Preczewski" on Justia Law

by
A majority of the active judges of the Eleventh Circuit voted to rehear this case en banc.This petition for writ of mandamus arises under the Crime Victims' Rights Act (CVRA), 18 U.S.C. 3771. Petitioner, one of more than 30 woman who were victimized by notorious sex trafficker and child abuser Jeffrey Epstein, sought mandamus relief, alleging that when federal prosecutors secretly negotiated and entered into a non-prosecution agreement with Epstein in 2007, they violated her rights under the CVRA. Specifically, petitioner alleged that federal prosecutors violated her rights to confer with the government's lawyers and to be treated fairly by them.The en banc court held that the CVRA does not provide a private right of action authorizing crime victims to seek judicial enforcement of CVRA rights outside the confines of a preexisting proceeding. The court explained that, while the CVRA permits a crime victim like Ms. Wild to move for relief within the context of a preexisting proceeding—and, more generally, to pursue administrative remedies—it does not authorize a victim to seek judicial enforcement of her CVRA rights in a freestanding civil action. In this case, because the government never filed charges against Epstein, there was no preexisting proceeding in which Ms. Wild could have moved for relief under the CVRA, and the Act does not sanction her stand-alone suit. View "In re: Courtney Wild" on Justia Law

by
After a jury found that the manufacturer breached its duty to sell its products to certain customers exclusively through the distributor, the manufacturer appealed the denial of a directed verdict as to the status of two customers under the contract. The distributor cross-appealed a ruling that invalidated the contract's liquidated-damages clause and a ruling that prevented it from pursuing lost-profit damages.The Eleventh Circuit concluded that, under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 6, the closure of the clerk's office renders the office inaccessible and tolls the filing deadline, which makes the motion timely. Therefore, the district court did not err in denying the manufacturer's Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 50 motions. The court also concluded that the district court did not err when it ruled that the liquidated-damages clause was unenforceable because $2 million a breach was grossly disproportionate to the foreseeable actual damages, and the disproportionality amounts to an unenforceable penalty. The court further concluded that the district court did not abuse its discretion by excluding lost-profit damages because Circuitronix failed to disclose its computation of those damages. View "Circuitronix, LLC v. Kinwong Electronic (Hong Kong) Co., Ltd." on Justia Law