Articles Posted in Civil Procedure

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The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's order holding the record custodian for various collective entities in contempt for his failure to comply with an order to respond to twelve grand jury subpoenas. The panel held that Braswell v. United States, 487 U.S. 99, 104 (1988), remained good law. The panel further held that the Fifth Amendment provides no protection to a collective entity's records custodians—and that the size of the collective entity and the extent to which a jury would assume that the individual seeking to assert the privilege produced the documents are not relevant. Therefore, the custodian's challenge to the contempt order failed. View "In re Twelve Grand Jury Suboenas" on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Procedure

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FDA trans fat regulations governing the contents of the Nutrition Facts Panel did not preempt California's unfair competition laws proscribing false or misleading advertising elsewhere on a food product's label. The Ninth Circuit reversed the district court's dismissal of a putative consumer class action alleging that The Kroger Company sold Kroger Bread Crumbs that included misleading labels in violation of California law. The panel held that plaintiff had standing to challenge the legitimacy of defendant's product advertising on the face of the label that it contained "0g Trans Fat per serving." The panel took the occasion to reinforce and apply it's holding in Reid v. Johnson & Johnson,780 F.3d 952, 960 (9th Cir. 2015), that a requirement to state certain facts in the nutrition label was not a license to make that statement elsewhere on the product. The panel also held that plaintiff's labeling claims were not preempted because the FDA regulations did not authorize the contested statements. View "Hawkins v. The Kroger Co." on Justia Law

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Insitu designs and manufactures unmanned aerial systems (drones) and Fidelitad is a value-added reseller of Insitu's drones. Fidelitad filed suit in Washington state against Insitu, alleging that Insitu improperly delayed shipment of its orders, wrongfully terminated a purported distributorship agreement, and then moved into the Latin American market, appropriating Fidelitad's prior groundwork. Insitu removed to the district court under 28 U.S.C. 1442(a)(1). The Ninth Circuit reversed the district court's denial of Fidelitad's motion to remand and grant of summary judgment to Insitu. The panel held that the motion to remand should have been granted because, even construed in the light most favorable to Insitu, the notice of removal did not establish that Insitu was acting under the direction of a federal officer in its relevant dealings with Fidelitad. Furthermore, the defect was not cured prior to entry of judgment and no party has suggested a basis for subject matter jurisdiction other than section 1442(a)(1). Accordingly, the panel remanded with instructions to remand to state court. View "Fidelitad, Inc. v. Insitu, Inc." on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Procedure

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A defendant who travels to Nevada and commits an intentional tort there can be sued in that state, absent circumstances that would make such a suit unreasonable. The Ninth Circuit reversed the district court's dismissal of an action alleging that John Schmidt made defamatory statements about Freestream Aircraft (Bermuda) Limited at an aviation industry conference in Nevada. The panel held, under the minimum contacts test and the applicable authority, that there was specific jurisdiction in Nevada. In this case, Nevada's exercise of personal jurisdiction over defendants comported with constitutional due process because all three prongs of the minimum contacts test for specific jurisdiction were satisfied. View "Freestream Aircraft (Bermuda) Ltd. v. Aero Law Group" on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Procedure

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A defendant that timely asserts that the district court lacks personal jurisdiction and litigates the issue to an adverse decision from the district court does not waive the personal jurisdiction defense by vigorously litigating defenses to the merits, including by asserting counterclaims against other parties. The Ninth Circuit reversed the district court's judgment compelling arbitration of contract claims and held that the Bank was entitled to litigate its defenses and counterclaims in a related matter between similar parties without waiving the issue of personal jurisdiction, because the Bank had timely asserted the personal jurisdiction defense and received an adverse ruling (that jurisdiction was proper) from the district court. The panel remanded for dismissal based on lack of personal jurisdiction. View "InfoSpan, Inc. v. Emirates NBD Bank PSJC" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit vacated the district court's grant of summary judgment for defendant and denial of plaintiff's motion to remand in an action alleging violation of a City of San Jose minimum wage ordinance. The district court concluded that plaintiff failed to first exhaust his claim through a required grievance process. The panel held that, whether plaintiff's claims were exhausted or not, the district court was without jurisdiction to hear this case. The panel recognized the strong preemptive force of section 301 of the Labor Management Relations Act (LMRA), but held that plaintiff's suit amounted to an interpretive challenge to the San Jose ordinance, not one that required substantial analysis of his union's collective-bargaining agreement. Therefore, the panel remanded for removal to state court and further proceedings. View "McCray v. Marriott Hotel Services, Inc." on Justia Law

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G&G appealed the district court's order granting summary judgment to defendant, a citizen of Italy, in G&G's suit asserting various state law claims. G&G alleged that Rustic stole a large, valuable oil painting from her former husband and G&G's predecessor-in-interest. The district court held that G&G's claims were barred by California's borrowing statute, Cal. Civ. Proc. Code 361. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's order with respect to the conversion claim, holding that the district court properly determined that this claim accrued sometime in 2000 and was time-barred under both the Italian and California statutes of limitations. The panel vacated and remanded the district court's order with respect to the replevin and unjust enrichment claims, holding that there was no indication that the district court determined when those claims accrued. Finally, the panel vacated and remanded the district court's order with respect to the claim for declaratory relief, holding that the disputed facts on this claim defeated summary judgment in favor of defendant. View "G and G Productions LLC v. Rusic" on Justia Law

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Where such delivery of summonses to attorneys of companies provides actual notice to a foreign organization, it satisfies Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 4(c)(3)(D). The Ninth Circuit denied a petition for a writ of mandamus brought by companies owned and controlled by the Chinese government, seeking to vacate the denial of their motion to quash service of criminal summonses the government had delivered to attorneys for the companies. The panel held that the evidence established that the companies had actual notice of the summonses and thus the district court did not err, let alone clearly err, in denying their motion to quash service. View "In re Pangang Group Co." on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's action based on a forum-selection clause in share purchase agreements that required disputes related to the parties' agreement be adjudicated in California state court, rather than Washington state court. The panel held that plaintiffs failed to carry their heavy burden of showing the sort of exceptional circumstances that would justify disregarding a forum-selection clause. Applying federal contract law to interpret the scope of the forum-selection clause, the panel held that the forum-selection clause here applied to any disputes arising out of or related to the Share Purchase Agreements and plaintiffs' claims that defendant violated the Washington State Securities Act constituted such a dispute. The panel rejected plaintiffs' claims to the contrary and held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in dismissing the complaint. View "Sun v. Advanced China Healthcare, Inc." on Justia Law

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Under Federal Rule of Evidence 201, a court may take judicial notice of matters of public record without converting a motion to dismiss into a motion for summary judgment, but a court cannot take judicial notice of disputed facts contained in such public records. The incorporation-by-reference doctrine prevents plaintiffs from selecting only portions of documents that support their claims, while omitting portions of those very documents that weaken or doom their claims. The Ninth Circuit addressed and clarified when and how the district court should consider materials extraneous to the pleadings at the motion to dismiss stage via judicial notice and the incorporation-by-reference doctrine. In this case, plaintiffs appealed the district court's dismissal of an action under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. The panel held that the district court erred in part by judicially noticing some facts, but properly took notice of the date of Orexigen's international patent application for Contrave. Therefore, the panel reversed and remanded for clarification on Exhibit D, reversed the district court's judicial notice of Exhibit E, and affirmed the judicial notice of Exhibit V. The panel also that the district court abused its discretion by incorporating certain documents into the complaint and properly incorporated others. The panel reversed the district court's incorporation-by-reference of Exhibits B, C, F, H, R, S, and U, and affirmed the incorporation of Exhibits A, I K, L, N, O, P, and T. The panel affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded as to the remaining claims. View "Khoja v. Orexigen Therapeutics, Inc." on Justia Law