Articles Posted in Civil Procedure

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Dr. Solman performed arthroscopic surgery on Grussing’s knee in June 2014. At her July 9 appointment, Grussing reported swelling in her knee to a physician's assistant, who recommended physical therapy. Dr. Solman did not examine Grussing. Grussing returned to Dr. Solman’s office on July 18, again reporting pain and swelling. Dr. Solman aspirated Grussing’s knee, observed that the synovial fluid looked normal, and did not test the fluid for infection. Grussing continued to experience pain and swelling. In October, a different physician aspirated Grussing’s knee and sent the fluid for analysis. The knee was chronically infected. Grussing underwent a total knee replacement. The primary issue in Grussing’s malpractice suit was whether Dr. Solman breached the standard of care when he decided not to test the synovial fluid aspirated during her July 18, appointment. Grussing opened her case with Dr. Solman’s deposition testimony; he acknowledged that fluid that does not appear cloudy can test positive for bacterial infection. The defense’s expert, Dr. Matava testified that there was no way to confirm that Grussing’s knee was infected on July 18. The Eighth Circuit affirmed a defense verdict, rejecting arguments that the district court erroneously limited Grussing’s cross-examination of Matava during an attempt to elicit testimony that fluid that is not cloudy can test positive for bacterial infection and that it failed to correct defense counsel’s misstatement of law during closing argument. The correct burden of proof was properly emphasized throughout trial. View "Grussing v. Orthopedic and Sports Medicine, Inc." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed a class action against Harne defendants under 42 U.S.C. 1983, alleging that the State's failure to share annual payments under a Settlement Agreement, where Minnesota released and forever discharged tobacco companies from claims that they violated state consumer protection statutes in exchange for substantial period payments, constituted a taking in violation of the Fifth Amendment. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of defendants' motion to dismiss, holding that res judicata barred the claim. In this case, plaintiff's takings claim in federal court was identical to the federal takings claims asserted in Harne v. State, No. A14-1985, 2015 WL 4523895; Harne involved the same parties; under Minnesota law, the dismissal of the claims in Harne as time-barred was a final judgment on the merits; and plaintiff and Harne actually litigated their federal claims in Harne. View "Foster v. Minnesota" on Justia Law

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The City of Kennett, Missouri, sued the Environmental Protection Agency, challenging the EPA’s approval of a total maximum daily load for Buffalo Ditch. Buffalo Ditch was a stream that ran southwest into Arkansas from the City. The City’s Wastewater Treatment Plant was a point source of pollutants into it. Parts of Buffalo Ditch had been on Missouri’s EPA-approved list of impaired waters since 1994, due to low levels of dissolved oxygen (DO), which supported aquatic life. The final total maximum daily load” (TMDL) set wasteload allocations for pollutants from the Treatment Plant. These wasteload allocations were more stringent than the limited in the City’s National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. The City’s permit was to expire in 2015; in its “Implementation Plan” for point sources, the TMDL stated if it was determined the current water quality criterion for dissolved oxygen was appropriate, the wasteload allocations from the TMDL would be implemented. If not appropriate, and a new dissolved oxygen criterion was promulgated, then new wasteload allocations would be calculated and implemented. Despite this intention, the DO criterion and the TMDL did not change. The City sued, alleging: (1) the EPA exceeded its authority in approving the TMDL; (2) the EPA acted arbitrarily and capriciously; (3) the EPA failed to provide the required notice and comment. The Eighth Circuit determined the City waived a claim by failing to mention or argue for summary judgment on that claim, and by failing to respond to the EPA's motion for summary judgment on the claim. With respect to its remaining claims and the issue of standing, the City established injury in fact as it would incur costs in complying with any new limits on pollution discharge from its waste water plant. Similarly, because the injury was impending, the City also established redressability, and it had standing to bring this action. Further, the Court determined the case was ripe, and the district court erred in granting the EPA summary judgment based on a lack of standing and ripeness. The EPA argued the City waived its remaining claims by failing to raise them in the administrative process; because it would be beneficial to permit the district court to address this issue in the first instance, the matter was remanded for further proceedings on this question and, if necessary, the merits of those issues. View "City of Kennett v. Env. Prot. Agency" on Justia Law