Articles Posted in Civil Procedure

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of ex-wife's motion to dismiss an action brought by ex-husband, alleging violations of the anti-alienation provisions of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), that arose from payments he made to her for almost three decades. The court held that a prior state court judgment was entitled to res judicata effect where ex-husband had an opportunity to litigate the question of whether the state court had jurisdiction to address his violations of ERISA claims. View "Schwartz v. Bogen" on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Procedure, ERISA

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of Medtronic's motion to remand an employment contract dispute back to state court. Applying Minnesota law, the court held that plaintiff waived his right to remove the case to federal court because the employment contract he signed contained an enforceable forum selection clause. In this case, Medtronic alleged that plaintiff failed to repay the company pursuant to the Repayment Agreement. The court held that the Employee Agreement contained a clear and unequivocal forum selection clause that unambiguously encompassed the Repayment Agreement. View "Medtronic Sofamor Danek, Inc. v. Gannon" on Justia Law

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The Estate appealed the district court's order denying its motion for reconsideration of an adverse grant of summary judgment. SPV cross-appealed the denial of its 28 U.S.C. 1927 and Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(g)(3) sanctions against the Estate's attorneys. The Eighth Circuit affirmed in part, holding that the district court did not abuse its discretion in considering the Estate's motion for reconsideration because the Estate sought to use its motion for reconsideration for the impermissible purpose of introducing new arguments it could have raised earlier and failed to support those arguments with any evidence even after receiving additional time for discovery. The court also held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying 28 U.S.C. 1927 sanctions. The court reversed in part, holding that the district court erred by denying the Estate's request for sanctions under Rule 26(g)(1) with respect to Attorney Kroll. However, the district court did not abuse its discretion denying sanctions against Attorney Donahoe. View "SPV-LS, LLC v. The Estate of Nancy Bergman" on Justia Law

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American Family filed suit seeking a declaratory judgment against Vein Centers, its insured, disputing American Family's duty to defend and indemnify Vein Centers in a class action. St. Louis was the class representative in the underlying action against Vein Centers and later joined as a defendant in the declaratory judgment action. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for American Family, holding that the district court did not err in concluding that American Family satisfied its burden of establishing the minimum amount in controversy and summary judgment was proper because St. Louis Heart failed to provide any evidence that adequate notice of the policy exclusion was not provided to Vein Centers. View "American Family Mutual Insurance Co. v. St. Louis Heart Center, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit reversed the district court's grant of default judgment against Pulmosan because the company was not properly served. The court held that, under basic principles of agency law, the death of an agent terminates his authority to act on behalf of the principal. In this case, the death of Pulmosan's registered agent prevented him from receiving service of process on behalf of Pulmosan; his death terminated any agency relationship he may have had with his apartment building's doorman to receive service; and the possible habitation of the agent's widow at her husband's former residence did not validate service based on her former status as a corporate officer. Therefore, the attempted service of process was invalid, the district court lacked jurisdiction over Pulmosan, and its subsequent judgment was void. View "Bell v. Pulmosan Safety Equipment Corp." on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Procedure

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's judgment for Petco in a negligence and premises liability action filed by plaintiff against the company. The court held that the district court did not abuse its discretion by excluding plaintiff's expert evidence notwithstanding that Petco did not attempt to meet and confer with him before seeking sanctions. The court also held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in excluding the statements of plaintiff's treating physician to show causation. In this case, plaintiff failed to make any timely expert witness disclosures to Petco and never provided a summary of his treating physicians' expected testimony. View "Vanderberg v. Petco Animal Supplies Stores" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's order limiting the scope of plaintiff's general causation phase discovery in this products liability suit alleging that plaintiff's husband's use of Enbrel caused his myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) which resulted in his death. The court held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in limiting the scope of plaintiff's general causation discovery; the district court's basis for weighing proportionality was based on common sense and the search conducted by plaintiff's counsel during the discovery hearing; the district court did not rely on misrepresented facts by Amgen in issuing its discovery orders; any error in failing to provide plaintiff an opportunity to cross-examine Amgen's expert was harmless; the district court was under no obligation to order Amgen to provide plaintiff with materials the FDA requests—but does not require—from pharmaceutical companies when the agency evaluates safety risks; and plaintiff's assertion that the district court's order limiting the scope of her discovery prejudiced her case was rejected. The court also held that the district court did not abuse its discretion by imposing sanctions under Rule 11 and by imposing sanctions under 28 U.S.C. 1927. Finally, the district court properly exercised its inherent power to sanction plaintiff's counsel, and here was no abuse of discretion View "Vallejo v. Amgen, Inc." on Justia Law

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Under the removal statute, 28 U.S.C. 1447(c), if at any time before final judgment it appears that the district court lacks subject matter jurisdiction, the case shall be remanded. The Eighth Circuit vacated the district court's dismissal of a putative class action alleging that Nomax violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), by transmitting twelve advertisements to the Heart Center by fax without including a proper opt-in notice on each advertisement. The court held that Heart Center lacked Article III standing, but that the proper disposition was remand to state court under section 1447(c). Accordingly, the court remanded with instructions to return the case to state court. View "St. Louis Heart Center, Inc. v. Nomax, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit vacated the district court's judgment on the pleadings and remanded with directions to return the case to state court. The court held that removal of the suit from Arkansas state court to federal court was untimely under 28 U.S.C. 1446(b)(3), and thus the district court lacked jurisdiction to rule on the merits. In this case, the second notice of removal filed September 26, 2016, was well outside the thirty-day time limit established by section 1446(b)(3). View "Davis Neurology PA v. DoctorDirectory.com LLC" on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Procedure

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Plaintiffs filed suit against their loan servicer, Rushmore, in state court for breach of contract, unjust enrichment, and injunctive relief. After removal to federal court, plaintiffs amended their complaint to add a claim that Rushmore violated the Minnesota statutory requirements for handling foreclosures pursuant to Minn. Stat. 582.043, and added U.S. Bank as a party. The Minnesota Supreme court answered a certified question and held that the lis pendens deadline contained in section 582.043, subd. 7(b) cannot be extended upon a showing of excusable neglect pursuant to Minn. R. Civ. P. 6.02. The Eighth Circuit held that the Minnesota Supreme Court's decision resolved this appeal, because plaintiffs failed to file the lis pendens within their redemption period as required by section 582.043, subd. 7(b). Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for defendants. View "Litterer v. Rushmore Loan Management Services, LLC" on Justia Law