Justia U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Business Law
Johnson v. Charps Welding & Fabricating, Inc.
Trustees of three employee benefit funds filed suit against Charps and others, alleging that defendants breached collective bargaining agreements by not contributing to the employee benefit funds for work performed by the affiliates, in violation of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). The district court granted summary judgment to defendants, awarding them attorney's fees and costs. The Eighth Circuit held that defendants did not owe contributions for the affiliates' work where the trustees have not shown a genuine issue that the defendant companies formed a relationship of alter ego, joint venture, or joint enterprise. Furthermore, the collective bargaining agreements did not require defendants to contribute for the work of Charps' affiliates. The court also held that the trustees did not meet their burden in opposing summary judgment on their claim that the district court failed to address Charps' liability for contributions based on its own employees' work, and the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying, as duplicative, the trustees' motion to compel production of the spreadsheets. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment in 18-3007, but reversed and remanded in 19-1206. On remand, the district court should award costs that are taxable under 28 U.S.C. 1821 and 1920. In regard to the nontaxable costs, the district court may determine whether they may be awarded as attorney's fees. View "Johnson v. Charps Welding & Fabricating, Inc." on Justia Law
Ambassador Press, Inc. v. Durst Image Technology U.S., LLC
Ambassador Press filed suit against Durst Image for fraud, alleging that the printing press that was purchased from Durst Image did not have the speed or durability Durst Image represented at the time of the purchase. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of Durst Image's motion to dismiss, holding that the district court correctly determined that Ambassador Press did not plausibly allege common law fraud. The court also held that the district court properly determined that reliance was not pleaded with particularity and properly granted the motion to dismiss. View "Ambassador Press, Inc. v. Durst Image Technology U.S., LLC" on Justia Law
Ronnoco Coffee, LLC. v. Westfeldt Brothers, Inc.
A corporation that acquires substantially all the assets of an unrelated competitor at a secured creditor's private foreclosure sale, in an agreement that declines to assume the competitor's liabilities, is not liable as the competitor’s successor for unpaid pre-acquisition inventory purchases from a third party. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment dismissing Westfeldt's counterclaims for successor liability, unfair trade practices, conversion, and unjust enrichment, primarily on the ground that Westfeldt failed to submit evidence that the foreclosure and asset sale were anything but bona fide business transactions. The court held that buying USR assets from Great Western at a foreclosure sale in an agreement that disclaimed assumption of USR liabilities protected Ronnoco from claims that the asset purchase was tainted by commercially inadequate consideration. In this case, Westfeldt offered no evidence that it was prejudiced by the asset sale. Furthermore, there was no evidence that, absent the alleged fraud by Ronnoco, USR would have been able to pay off its entire debt to Great Western and then make payment to Westfeldt. Finally, the district court properly rejected Westfeldt's remaining claims. View "Ronnoco Coffee, LLC. v. Westfeldt Brothers, Inc." on Justia Law
Janvrin v. Continental Resources, Inc.
Continental appealed from a jury determination that it had tortiously interfered with the business relationship of plaintiff and CTAP. The Eighth Circuit affirmed and held that the evidence was sufficient to support a conclusion that Continental acted with intent to interfere in the plaintiff-CTAP business relationship, either by desiring to bring the interference about or knowing that the interference was substantially certain to occur; sufficient evidence existed to permit the jury to find that Continental’s interference was improper and that Continental was the legal cause of plaintiff's injury; substantial evidence supported the jury's award of punitive damages; and the district court did not err by denying Continental's motion for a new trial. The court also held that the district court did not abuse its discretion when instructing the jury on improper interference. View "Janvrin v. Continental Resources, Inc." on Justia Law
Landmark Infrastructure Holding Co. v. R.E.D. Investments, LLC
Lamar maintained and operated a billboard on land that it leased from R.E.D. After R.E.D. and Landmark executed an agreement under which Landmark agreed to pay R.E.D. in exchange for, among other things, the right to receive rent from Lamar, Landmark sued R.E.D. for breach of contract and sued R.E.D. and Defendant Van Stavern for fraudulent and negligent misrepresentation. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's judgment and held that the district court did not err by excluding the testimony of defendants' expert witness where the expert's opinions were not relevant because they were not supported by facts in the record. Furthermore, the district court did not err by denying defendants' request for reconsideration, because the discovery deadlines had passed and defendants failed to offer a substantial justification for their delay. Finally, the court held that the damages award were not duplicative and affirmed the attorneys' fee award. View "Landmark Infrastructure Holding Co. v. R.E.D. Investments, LLC" on Justia Law
Chase v. First Federal Bank of Kansas City
The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiffs' putative class action against First Federal and former directors of Inter-State. Plaintiffs alleged that Inter-State's merger with First Federal was inequitable because Inter-State had $25 million more than First Federal in excess capital. Plaintiffs claimed that the surplus should have been distributed to Inter-State's members instead of becoming part of the merged entity, and that the decision to merge should have been decided by a vote of Intra-State's members. The court held that the district court correctly concluded, based on long-standing Supreme Court precedent, that Inter-State's members did not have an ownership interest in its surplus. Even assuming a provision in Inter-State's charter was unique and that this was a case of first impression, the court held that Inter-State's members would not have an ownership interest in the $25 million surplus based on the provision's plain language. Therefore, without an ownership interest, plaintiffs have not stated a claim against defendants and the district court properly dismissed their claims expressly premised on an ownership interest in the surplus. View "Chase v. First Federal Bank of Kansas City" on Justia Law
Enterprise Financial Group Inc. v. Podhorn
The absence of a judgment in the state court litigation does not mean that plaintiff lacks Article III standing to bring this suit. Enterprise filed suit against several defendants, alleging a claim under the Missouri Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act. The district court dismissed the complaint without prejudice based on the ground that there was no case or controversy because Enterprise lacked Article III standing. The Eighth Circuit reversed and held that Enterprise has alleged facts sufficient to demonstrate the elements of standing. In this case, Enterprise has sufficiently alleged a present injury in fact, fairly traceable to defendants, as the transferees of the funds. Therefore, the court remanded for further proceedings. View "Enterprise Financial Group Inc. v. Podhorn" on Justia Law
FCS Advisors, LLC v. Missouri
The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of an action brought by an investor, alleging that Missouri fraudulently induced a loan between the investor and EngagePoint and illegally discriminated against EngagePoint. The court held that the investor failed to plead fraud with particularity. The court also held that the investor's unlawful discrimination claims failed because it has failed to identify any impaired contractual relationship under which it had rights, and 42 U.S.C. 1981 does not allow the investor to sue on EngagePoint's behalf. Similarly, the investor failed to state a discrimination claim under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. View "FCS Advisors, LLC v. Missouri" on Justia Law
Schmidt v. Newland & Associates PLLC
The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiffs' claims for fraud and breach of fiduciary duty against defendants as barred by the applicable Arkansas statute of limitations. In this case, plaintiffs possessed enough information in 2004 to put them on notice of any allegedly fraudulent conduct had they exercised any due diligence. Therefore, plaintiffs' tolling argument was without merit and their claims were barred by the three-year statute of limitations. View "Schmidt v. Newland & Associates PLLC" on Justia Law
Federal Trade Commission v. Sanford Health
The FTC and the State of North Dakota moved to enjoin Sanford Bismarck's acquisition of Mid Dakota, alleging that the merger violated section 7 of the Clayton Act. The district court determined that plaintiffs would likely succeed in showing the acquisition would substantially lessen competition in four types of physician services in the Bismarck-Mandan area. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of a preliminary injunction, holding that the district court did not improperly shift the ultimate burden of persuasion to defendants and properly followed the analytical framework in U.S. v. Baker Hughes, Inc., 908 F.ed 981 (D.C. Cir. 1990); the district court did not clearly err in defining the relevant market; and the district court's finding on merger-specific efficiencies was not clear error. View "Federal Trade Commission v. Sanford Health" on Justia Law