Articles Posted in Civil Procedure

by
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

by
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

by
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

by
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

by
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

by
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

by
The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's judgment for Wells Fargo in a third lawsuit arising between the parties involving the foreclosure of plaintiff's property. Plaintiff alleged that the bank violated Minn. Stat. 582.043 when it continued with foreclosure proceedings after he had submitted an application for a loan modification, and Wells Fargo brought a counterclaim against him for breach of a prior settlement agreement. The court held that plaintiff's claim was barred by res judicata because he could have brought the claim during the 2013 foreclosure litigation and he had an opportunity to litigate the claim fairly and fully if he had timely raised it. The court also held that the district court did not err in granting judgment on the pleadings for Wells Fargo on the bank's counterclaim where plaintiff was not discharged from his obligation to perform under the settlement agreement. Finally, the district court did not abuse its discretion by denying leave to amend on futility grounds. View "Lansing v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A." on Justia Law

by
Charter school parents sought to intervene in the St. Louis public school desegregation litigation to enforce a 1999 Desegregation Settlement Agreement. The Eighth Circuit reversed the district court's denial of the charter parents' motion to intervene, holding that the charter parents had standing. In this case, their pleading alleged that the charter schools will suffer a loss of funding and a decline in funding if plaintiffs prevailed and tens of millions of dollars could be transferred from the charter schools. Therefore, such an injury was neither conjectural nor hypothetical, and was sufficiently imminent to constitute an injury in fact. The court also held that the charter parents have established the elements of traceability and redressability. The court remanded for the district court to determine in the first instance whether the charter parents meet the requirements under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 24 for intervention as of right or for permissive intervention. View "Ross v. Special Administrative Board of the Transitional School District of the City of St. Louis" on Justia Law

by
This appeal arose from the DOL's investigation of possible violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act by La Piedad. The Eighth Circuit reversed the district court's grant of the DOL's motion to hold La Piedad in civil contempt for failing to produce documents identifying other businesses owned by La Piedad's shareholders. The court held that the DOL failed to meet its burden to introduce evidence that would support a subpoena to produce documents not in La Piedad's possession, custody, or control. View "Hugler v. La Piedad Corp." on Justia Law

by
Brazil spent over three decades working for the Arkansas Department of Human Services. A 2010 disagreement with her supervisor eventually led her to seek a transfer to another division. When she did not receive a transfer, she sued the Department and several officials for alleged civil rights violations. None of her claims survived summary judgment. Brazil’s work environment did not improve. Brazil believes that she received lower performance evaluations in retaliation for the lawsuit. Brazil’s supervisors reassigned her from performing traditional administrative-assistant tasks to working in a document-scanning room, which required heavy lifting, long periods of sitting, and repetitious activities. Though her official title remained the same, Brazil regarded the assignment as a demotion because it required manual labor and diminished her opportunities for promotion. Brazil filed suit alleging retaliation and racial discrimination. A year into the litigation, Brazil changed positions. In her current job, Brazil reports to different supervisors and performs only administrative-assistant duties. The district court dismissed all of Brazil’s claims, except those against her former supervisors, which it rejected on summary judgment. The Eighth Circuit concluded that her claims were moot, vacated, and instructed the district court to dismiss the claims. View "Brazil v. Arkansas Department of Human Services" on Justia Law