Monday, November 11, 2019
D.C. federal court dismisses New York defendants from Trump's tax return lawsuit for lack of personal jurisdiction
This past summer, Donald Trump filed a lawsuit against New York Attorney General Letitia James, Commissioner of the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance Michael Schmidt, and the House Ways and Means Committee seeking to block the disclosure of his New York state tax returns. The suit was filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
Today Judge Carl Nichols dismissed the two New York defendants for lack of personal jurisdiction. His ruling is based on D.C.’s long-arm statute, although he alludes to potential constitutional concerns in a footnote. Here is the opinion:
Friday, November 8, 2019
Today Judge Klausner of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California certified both a damages class and an injunctive relief class in Morgan v. United States Soccer Federation. The plaintiffs are members of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team, alleging violations of the Equal Pay Act and Title VII based on discrepancies in pay between them and the Men’s National Team.
Here is today’s order:
Adam Zimmerman (Loyola LA) has posted Surges and Delays in Mass Adjudication to SSRN.
Federal courts and agencies have both transformed themselves in response to new surges of claims in mass adjudication. But each system has done so in different ways. Courts frequently devise new case management techniques to appoint magistrate judges and organize private lawyers, facilitate the exchange of information, and collectively resolve disputes. By contrast, federal agencies often rely on centralized programs—using new rules, guidance, staffing, and most recently, artificial intelligence to address unpredictable surges and chronic delays.
But new experiments in agencies and courts suggest they do not have to pursue one approach at the expense of the other. To that end, some administrative judges have embraced novel case handling techniques, employing special masters and aggregate procedures. Courts have also used policy guidance and data analysis. These experiments suggest courts and agencies can learn and borrow from each other’s experiences.
How much each does so raises larger questions about adjudicative power. As federal courts have embraced informal case handling, they also have acquired more power to respond to new problems. By contrast, centralized plans often subordinate administrative judges to others in the policymaking wings of agencies and the halls of Congress. These trends may reflect differences between independent Article III courts and administrative judges who are reviewed by officers responsible for formulating policy. But combining approaches actually may strengthen how agencies make policy and the judiciary’s adherence to the rule of law—allowing agencies to flexibly adapt to new problems, while offering courts opportunities to adopt coherent and informed strategies in mass adjudication.
Monday, November 4, 2019
Mullenix on Choi, Erickson & Pritchard on Attorneys Fees in Securities Fraud Class Action "Mega-Settlements"
Now on the Courts Law section of JOTWELL is Linda Mullenix’s essay, Is Greed Good? Mega-Fees in Securities Fraud Class Action Mega-Settlements. Linda reviews a recent paper by Stephen Choi, Jessica Erickson, and Adam Pritchard, Working Hard or Making Work? Plaintiffs’ Attorneys Fees in Securities Fraud Class Actions.
Wednesday, October 23, 2019
Today the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit heard oral argument in Trump v. Vance, which involves Donald Trump’s attempt to enjoin a New York subpoena seeking documents—including Trump’s financial and tax records—from his accounting firm.
Here’s a link to the audio of today’s argument.
And here is the district court’s opinion below (reported at 395 F. Supp. 3d 283).
Thursday, October 17, 2019
Now on the Courts Law section of JOTWELL is Pam Bookman’s essay, New Courts, New Perspectives. Pam reviews two recent articles: Matthew Erie, The New Legal Hubs: The Emergent Landscape of International Commercial Dispute Resolution, Va. J. Int’l L. (forthcoming 2020); and Will Moon, Delaware’s New Competition, Nw. U. L. Rev. (forthcoming 2020).
Friday, October 11, 2019
Sergio Campos has published The Uncertain Path of Class Action Law, 40 Cardozo L. Rev. 2223 (2019). Here’s the abstract:
For the past ten terms the Supreme Court has increased its focus on the law of class actions. In doing so, the Court has revised the law to better accord with a view of the class action as an exception to an idealized picture of litigation. This “exceptional” view of the class action has had a profound impact not only on class action law, but on procedural and substantive law in general. However, in the October 2015 term the Court decided three class action cases that support an alternative, “functional” view of the class action, one that does not view the class action as exceptional, but as one of many equally permissible tools to serve the objectives of substantive law. This alternative view has the potential to have a similarly significant impact on the law, but it is not certain whether the Court will further develop this alternative, especially given its most recent class action decisions. This Article discusses the development of the “exceptional” view of the class action, the awakening of a “functional” alternative view, and the uncertain path ahead.
Monday, October 7, 2019
Today the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued a unanimous decision in In re del Valle Ruiz. The case involves discovery applications under 28 U.S.C. § 1782, which provides: “The district court of the district in which a person resides or is found may order him to give his testimony or statement or to produce a document or other thing for use in a proceeding in a foreign or international tribunal.”
Judge Hall’s opinion, joined by Judges Parker and Droney, begins:
Banco Santander S.A. (“Santander”) acquired Banco Popular Español, S.A. (“BPE”) after a government‐forced sale. Petitioners, a group of Mexican nationals and two investment and asset‐management firms, initiated or sought to intervene in various foreign proceedings contesting the legality of the acquisition.
Petitioners then filed in the Southern District of New York two applications under 28 U.S.C. § 1782 seeking discovery from Santander and its New York‐based affiliate, Santander Investment Securities Inc. (“SIS”), concerning the financial status of BPE. The district court (Ramos, J.) denied the applications for the most part, concluding that it lacked personal jurisdiction over Santander. The court granted discovery against SIS and in doing so rejected Santander’s argument that § 1782 does not allow for extraterritorial discovery. These consolidated appeals follow.
We are first asked to delineate the contours of § 1782’s requirement that a person or entity “resides or is found” within the district in which discovery is sought. We hold that this language extends § 1782’s reach to the limits of personal jurisdiction consistent with due process. We nonetheless conclude that Santander’s contacts with the Southern District of New York were insufficient to subject it to the district court’s personal jurisdiction.
We are next tasked with deciding whether § 1782 may be used to reach documents located outside of the United States. We hold that there is no per se bar to the extraterritorial application of § 1782, and the district court may exercise its discretion as to whether to allow such discovery. We conclude that the district court acted well within its discretion here in allowing discovery from SIS.
Friday, October 4, 2019
The Friday Before First Monday: SCOTUS Cert Grant in Louisiana Abortion Case Presents Questions About Standing
Today the Supreme Court granted petitions for certiorari arising from a challenge to Louisiana’s abortion regulations. The cases are June Medical Services LLC v. Gee (18-1323), and Gee v. June Medical Services, LLC (18-1460).
The first petition asks whether the Louisiana law is unconstitutional, especially in light of the Court’s decision in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, 136 S. Ct. 2292 (2016). The second petition is about standing, presenting the following questions:
1. Can abortion providers be presumed to have third-party standing to challenge health and safety regulations on behalf of their patients absent a “close” relationship with their patients and a “hindrance” to their patients’ ability to sue on their own behalf?
2. Are objections to prudential standing waivable (per the Fourth, Fifth, Seventh, Ninth, Tenth, and Federal Circuits) or non-waivable (per the D.C., Second, and Sixth Circuits)?
Ann Juliano has published The Games We Play, 63 St. Louis U. L.J. 453 (2019). The article begins:
We Civil Procedure professors like to shake our heads and grimly note the unique difficulties we face in teaching Procedure to first year students. We use phrases like “alien and incomprehensible,” “abstract and alienating,” and “not the most spellbinding course in the first-year curriculum.” Students approach the “pamphlet” of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (“the Rules”) with trepidation and a weary sigh. To fight against this predisposition and to demonstrate to students that they have read, interpreted, and employed “rules” for many years, I now begin the semester by playing board games. By spending some time in the first class with Monopoly, Jenga, and several other games, I hope to accomplish many of the objectives suggested in the pedagogical research. More specifically, by playing card games or Apples to Apples, I am able to raise important points about rules and how we interpret them while setting a less formal, collegial tone for the semester.
Tuesday, October 1, 2019
The Hastings Law Journal has published an issue dedicated to Geoff Hazard, featuring articles and tributes by David Faigman, Ben Barton & Deborah Rhode, Antonio Gidi, Neil Andrews, Loïc Cadiet, Ed Cooper, Judge William Fletcher, William Hodes, Peter Jarvis, Mary Kay Kane, Susan Koniak, Evan Lee, John Leubsdorf, Rick Marcus, Koichi Miki, Judge Anthony Scirica, Cathie Struve, Michele Taruffo, and Mike Traynor.
Monday, September 30, 2019
Friday, September 27, 2019
Mila Sohoni has posted on SSRN a draft of her article, The Lost History of the 'Universal' Injunction, which is forthcoming in the Harvard Law Review. Here’s the abstract:
The issuance of injunctions that reach beyond just the plaintiffs has recently become the subject of a mounting wave of censorious commentary, including by members of Congress, a Supreme Court justice, the Solicitor General, the Attorney General, and the President. Critics of these “universal” injunctions have claimed that such injunctions are a recent invention and that they exceed the power conferred by Article III to decide cases “in … equity.” This Article rebuts the proposition that the universal injunction is a recent invention and that it violates Article III or the traditional limits of equity as practiced by the federal courts. As far back as 1913, the Supreme Court itself enjoined federal officers from enforcing a federal statute not just against the plaintiff, but against anyone, until the Court had decided the case. If the Supreme Court can issue a universal injunction against enforcement of a federal law, then — as an Article III matter — so can a lower federal court. Moreover, lower federal courts have been issuing injunctions that reach beyond the plaintiffs as to state laws in cases that date back more than a century, and the Supreme Court has repeatedly approved of these injunctions. If Article III allows such injunctions as to state laws, it also allows such injunctions as to federal laws. Mapping these and other pieces of the lost history of the universal injunction, this Article demonstrates that the Article III objection to the universal injunction should be retired, and that the unfolding efforts to outright strip the federal courts of the tool of the universal injunction — whether by statutory fiat or by a judicial re-definition of Article III — should halt.
Thursday, September 26, 2019
Yesterday the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit heard oral argument in Molock v. Whole Foods Market, Inc., which addresses the extent to which the Supreme Court’s 2017 Bristol-Myers decision on personal jurisdiction applies to class actions.
Here is the oral argument recording.
Here’s coverage from Perry Cooper, Whole Foods Appeals Court Tries to Avoid Jurisdictional Issue (Bloomberg).
And here’s what can happen in the Whole Foods parking lot.
Wednesday, September 25, 2019
John Coyle has published Interpreting Forum Selection Clauses, 104 Iowa L. Rev. 1791 (2019). Here’s the abstract:
Over the past half century, courts in the United States have developed canons of construction that they use exclusively to construe forum selection clauses. These canons play an important role in determining the meaning of these clauses and, by extension, whether litigation arising out of a particular contract must proceed in a given place. To date, however, these canons have attracted surprisingly little attention in the academic literature.
This Article aspires to fill that gap. It provides the first comprehensive taxonomy of the canons that U.S. courts use to construe forum selection clauses. These interpretive rules fall into four groups: (1) the canons relating to exclusivity, (2) the canons relating to scope, (3) the canons relating to non-signatories, and (4) the canons relating to federal court. When a judge is presented with ambiguous language in a forum selection clause, she will frequently turn to one of these interpretive rules of thumb to resolve the ambiguity.
In principle, each of these canons produces outcomes that are broadly consistent with the preferences of most contracting parties. In practice, this is not always the case. Drawing upon interviews and e-mail exchanges with 86 attorneys, the Article shows that several of these canons produce outcomes that are arguably inconsistent with majoritarian preferences. In such cases, the Article argues that these canons should be cast aside. In their place, the courts should adopt new interpretive default rules that more closely track the preferences of most contracting parties.
The Article’s final contribution to the literature relates to contract drafting. If a forum selection clause is unambiguous, there will be no need for the courts to invoke the canons. The Article concludes by urging contracting parties incorporate certain words and phrases into their contracts ex ante so as to avoid incurring the costs associated with litigating their meaning ex post.
Monday, September 23, 2019
Wednesday, September 18, 2019
Kathleen Noonan, Jonathan Lipson & Bill Simon have published Reforming Institutions: The Judicial Function in Bankruptcy and Public Law Litigation, 94 Ind. L.J. 545 (2019). Here’s the abstract:
Public law litigation (PLL) is among the most important and controversial types of dispute that courts face. These civil class actions seek to reform public agencies such as police departments, prison systems, and child welfare agencies that have failed to meet basic statutory or constitutional obligations. They are controversial because critics assume that judicial intervention is categorically undemocratic or beyond judicial expertise.
This Article reveals flaws in these criticisms by comparing the judicial function in PLL to that in corporate bankruptcy, where the value and legitimacy of judicial intervention are better understood and more accepted. Our comparison shows that judicial intervention in both spheres responds to coordination problems that make individual stakeholder action ineffective, and it explains how courts in both spheres can require and channel major organizational change without administering the organizations themselves or inefficiently constricting the discretion of managers. The comparison takes on greater urgency in light of the Trump administration’s vow to “deconstruct the administrative state,” a promise which, if kept, will likely increase demand for PLL.
Monday, September 16, 2019
As covered earlier, Thomson Reuters is releasing a series of podcasts during 2019 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Charles Alan Wright & Arthur Miller’s Federal Practice & Procedure treatise.
The first three episodes have now been posted:
- Episode 1: Building the Wright & Miller Treatise (Arthur Miller & Jean Maess)
- Episode 2: The Evolution & Future of Class Actions (Arthur Miller & Mary Kay Kane)
- Episode 3: The Evolution & Future of Personal Jurisdiction & Pleadings (Arthur Miller, Ben Spencer & Adam Steinman)
Friday, September 13, 2019
Today, the Second Circuit issued its decision in Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington v. Trump, a lawsuit against President Trump alleging violations of the Emoluments Clauses of the U.S. Constitution. Judge Leval’s majority opinion begins:
Plaintiffs—Eric Goode, a restaurateur and hotelier, and Restaurant Opportunities Center United (“ROC”), a non‐partisan, member‐based organization of restaurants and restaurant workers—appeal from the judgment of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (Daniels, J.) dismissing their complaint against Defendant Donald J. Trump, the President of the United States, for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The complaint seeks declaratory and injunctive relief for the President’s alleged violations of the Domestic and Foreign Emoluments Clauses of the United States Constitution. The President moved to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1), arguing that Plaintiffs did not have standing to sue. The district court granted the motion, concluding that Plaintiffs lack Article III standing, they fall outside the zone of interests of the Emoluments Clauses, their claims do not present a ripe case or controversy within the meaning of Article III, and their suit is barred by the political question doctrine. For the reasons below, we vacate the judgment and remand for further proceedings.
Judge Walker authored a dissenting opinion.
Thursday, September 12, 2019
The Supreme Court’s order stays the district court’s preliminary injunction against the Trump administration’s recent restrictions on asylum eligibility. The order states:
The district court’s July 24, 2019 order granting a preliminary injunction and September 9, 2019 order restoring the nationwide scope of the injunction are stayed in full pending disposition of the Government’s appeal in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and disposition of the Government’s petition for a writ of certiorari, if such writ is sought.
Justice Sotomayor wrote a dissent, joined by Justice Ginsburg. She concludes:
In sum, granting a stay pending appeal should be an “extraordinary” act. Williams, 442 U. S., at 1311. Unfortunately, it appears the Government has treated this exceptional mechanism as a new normal. Historically, the Government has made this kind of request rarely; now it does so reflexively. See, e.g., Vladeck, The Solicitor General and the Shadow Docket, 133 Harv. L. Rev. (forthcoming Nov. 2019). Not long ago, the Court resisted the shortcut the Government now invites. See Trump v. East Bay Sanctuary Covenant, 586 U. S. ___ (2018). I regret that my colleagues have not exercised the same restraint here. I respectfully dissent.