Thursday, March 29, 2018

Gardner on International Comity Abstention

Maggie Gardner has posted on SSRN a draft of her article, Abstention at the Border, which will be published in the Virginia Law Review. Here’s the abstract:

The lower federal courts have been invoking “international comity abstention” to solve a wide array of problems in cross-border cases. In doing so, they are using a wide array of tests that vary not just across the circuits, but within them as well. That confusion will only grow, as both scholars and the Supreme Court have yet to clarify what exactly “international comity abstention” entails. Meanwhile, the breadth of “international comity abstention” stands in tension with the Supreme Court’s renewed embrace of the federal judiciary’s virtually unflagging obligation to exercise the jurisdiction given to the courts by Congress. Indeed, loose applications of “international comity abstention” risk undermining not only the interests of Congress, but the interests of the states as well.

This Article argues against “international comity abstention” both as a label and as a generic doctrine. As a label, it has led courts to conflate abstention with other comity doctrines that are not about abstention at all, increasing the risk of judicial error and jeopardizing federalism protections. And as a generic doctrine, it encourages judges to decline their jurisdiction too readily, in contrast to the Court’s emphasis on the principle of jurisdictional obligation. The solution, however, is not to deny all judicial discretion to decline jurisdiction. Even if such a complete bar on abstention were intended as an act of judicial humility, it may serve to empower the judiciary instead. Absolute rules, whether based on constitutional limits or strict textualism, can override or exclude the other branches’ views regarding the proper scope of transnational litigation in U.S. courts. Leaving some space for judicial discretion to decline jurisdiction also leaves some space for the other branches to continue that conversation.

In lieu of a single broad doctrine of “international comity abstention,” then, this Article proposes identifying more narrow bases for abstention in transnational litigation — bases that can be separately justified, candidly addressed, and analyzed through judicially manageable frameworks. In particular, the federal courts need a clear and consistent framework for when to stay cases in light of parallel litigation in foreign courts. A separate doctrine for deferring to foreign comprehensive remedial schemes may also be appropriate.

Evaluating the doctrinal design of abstention in transnational litigation also serves as a lens through which to revisit a long-standing debate: To the extent that the principle of jurisdictional obligation reflects separation-of-powers concerns, those concerns can be addressed without insisting that judges’ hands are tied. True judicial humility recognizes both Congress’s role in defining the federal courts’ jurisdiction and the impossibility of asking judges to read Congress’s mind. Leaving space for carefully cabined discretion in hard cases recognizes both the complexity of life and the continuing need for inter-branch dialogue.

 

 

 

 

March 29, 2018 in Federal Courts, Recent Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Southern University Law Center Seeking Visitors for 2018-19

Posting for Professor Christopher Odinet at Southern University Law Center: 

SULC Seeks Visiting Professors for 2018-2019

Job Description Summary:

The Southern University Law Center welcomes applications for the appointment of two to three visiting professors for the 2018-2019 academic year. We welcome applications from all individuals whose backgrounds and experiences will enhance the diversity of our faculty. Our primary curricular needs are as follows: 

Louisiana Civil Law Courses:

We are interested in candidates with experience teaching Sale & Lease, Obligations, and Security Devices. Individuals with a background in the civil law are preferred.

Business Law, Procedure, and Constitutional Law Courses:

We are also interested in candidates with experience teaching Contracts, Commercial Paper, Federal Civil Procedure, Federal Courts & Procedure, Business Entities, and Constitutional Law.

 

Qualifications:

  • D. degree
  • Experience and demonstrated success in law school teaching
  • Demonstrated ability in mentoring students
  • Commitment to the mission of the Southern University Law Center and its instructional methods and goals

Instructions to Applicants:

Candidates should submit the following to Professor Donald North, chair of the Faculty Appointments Committee, at dnorth@sulc.edu:

  • Resume/CV
  • Cover letter
  • Contact information for three professional references

Benefits: The Southern University Law Center offers a comprehensive benefits package to full-time faculty members that includes health, dental, vision, life insurance, and retirement. Salary will be commensurate with qualifications.

EMPLOYMENT NON-DISCRIMINATION POLICY: Southern University Law Center (SULC) is an Equal Opportunity Employer, committed to a diverse and inclusive work environment. SULC is committed to a policy against discrimination in employment based on sex, actual or perceived gender, age, race, color, religion, creed, national or ethnic origin, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, genetic information; or parental, marital, domestic partner, civil union, military, or veteran status.

March 28, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Call for Nominations for the 2019 AALS Women in Legal Education Ruth Bader Ginsburg Lifetime Achievement Award

The AALS Section on Women in Legal Education is pleased to open nominations for its 2019 Ruth Bader Ginsburg Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2013, the inaugural award honored Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in 2014 Catharine A. MacKinnon, in 2015 Herma Hill Kay, in 2016 Marina Angel, in 2017 Martha Albertson Fineman, and in 2018 Tamar Frankel. All of these remarkable women were recognized for their outstanding impact and contributions to the Section on Women in Legal Education, the legal academy, and the legal profession.

The purpose of the Ruth Bader Ginsburg Lifetime Achievement Award is to honor an individual who has had a distinguished career of teaching, service, and scholarship for at least 20 years. The recipient should be someone who has impacted women, the legal community, the academy, and the issues that affect women through mentoring, writing, speaking, activism, and by providing opportunities to others.

The Section is now seeking nominations for this most prestigious award. Only individuals who are eligible for Section membership may make a nomination, and only individuals—not institutions, organizations, or law schools—are eligible for the award. As established by the Section’s Bylaws, the AALS Section on Women in Legal Education Executive Committee will select the award recipient, and the award will be presented at the 2019 AALS Annual Meeting.

Please submit your nomination by filling out this electronic form by April 30, 2018. Please note that only nominations submitted via the electronic form by the deadline will be accepted.

March 28, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Some Thoughts on the Hughes Argument and Logical Subsets

Yesterday the Supreme Court heard oral argument in United States v. Hughes, a case involving how to identify the holding of a Supreme Court decision with no majority opinion. This issue traditionally (or at least for the last 40 years) has been analyzed using the rule from Marks v. United States, which states that the Court’s holding is “the position taken by those Members who concurred in the judgments on the narrowest grounds.” The particular fragmented decision at issue in Hughes is Freeman v. United States, in which the Court split 4-1-4 regarding when certain defendants are eligible to seek a sentence reduction based on a retroactive lowering of the sentencing guidelines.

Here is the transcript from yesterday’s argument. I was particularly interested in this observation by Justice Kagan [on pp.22-23 of the transcript], which occurs during a broader exchange in which Petitioner’s counsel is arguing against an approach to Marks that factors in the reasoning of dissenting Justices:

JUSTICE KAGAN: Well, Mr. Shumsky, I think -- I think your approach relies on dissents sometimes too, because take one of these logical subset cases. You have a concurrence that is a logical subset of the plurality. And you say, well, the concurrence controls. And that's true even as to times where the concurrence splits off with the plurality and joins with the dissent. So you're counting dissents too, I think.

Justice Kagan’s point highlights a concern I raise in my recent essay, Nonmajority Opinions and Biconditional Rules, 128 Yale L.J. F. 1 (2018). Some circuit judges interpreting Freeman have engaged in precisely this kind of reasoning regarding logical subsets, and Justice Kagan is exactly right that such an approach is really one that counts dissenting votes. Accordingly, in my view, to embrace this approach would be a departure from the prevailing understanding of Marks, and it would raise the same concerns that others have identified with allowing dissenting Justices to determine the binding content of Supreme Court decisions.

Continue reading

March 28, 2018 in Federal Courts, Recent Scholarship, Supreme Court Cases | Permalink | Comments (1)

SCOTUS Decision in Hall v. Hall: Appellate Jurisdiction and Consolidation

Yesterday the Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision in Hall v. Hall (covered earlier here). Chief Justice Roberts’ opinion begins:

Three Terms ago, we held that one of multiple cases consolidated for multidistrict litigation under 28 U. S. C. §1407 is immediately appealable upon an order disposing of that case, regardless of whether any of the others remain pending. Gelboim v. Bank of America Corp., 574 U. S. ___ (2015). We left open, however, the question whether the same is true with respect to cases consolidated under Rule 42(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Id., at ___, n. 4 (slip op., at 7, n. 4). This case presents that question.

And the answer to that question is yes:

Rule 42(a) did not purport to alter the settled understanding of the consequences of consolidation. That understanding makes clear that when one of several consolidated cases is finally decided, a disappointed litigant is free to seek review of that decision in the court of appeals.

 

 

March 28, 2018 in Federal Courts, Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Recent Decisions, Subject Matter Jurisdiction, Supreme Court Cases | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Conference on Evaluating Litigation Risk at UConn Law (April 27, 2018)

On April 27, 2018, the University of Connecticut School of Law and Insurance Law Center are hosting a conference entitled “Evaluating Litigation Risk in the 21st Century.” From the announcement:

Please join us for a first of its kind conference on measuring and managing litigation risk. Bringing together thought leaders in law, finance, insurance, and economics, from practice and academia, this conference will explore new approaches to evaluating litigation risk, including the latest tools available such as digital and data analytics, artificial intelligence, and game theory. We will examine the methods for evaluating risk currently in use, explore new approaches, and consider what limitations constrain our ability to evaluate and quantify litigation risk.

Register by April 23 at ilc.law.uconn.edu/litigationrisk18.

More details below:

Download Email Content for Publicity - LitRisk18

March 27, 2018 in Conferences/Symposia | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 26, 2018

Pfander on Nourse on Statutory Interpretation

Now on the Courts Law section of JOTWELL is Jim Pfander’s essay, Statutory Interpretation for Courts and Lawyers. Jim reviews Victoria Nourse’s book, Misreading Law, Misreading Democracy (2016).

 

 

 

March 26, 2018 in Recent Scholarship, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Marks, Hughes, and Biconditional Rules

The final version of my essay Nonmajority Opinions and Biconditional Rules, 128 Yale L.J. F. 1 (2018), is out. Here’s the abstract:

In Hughes v. United States, the Supreme Court will revisit a thorny question: how to determine the precedential effect of decisions with no majority opinion. For four decades, the clearest instruction from the Court has been the rule from Marks v. United States: the Court’s holding is “the position taken by those Members who concurred in the judgments on the narrowest grounds.” The Marks rule raises particular concerns, however, when it is applied to biconditional rules. Biconditionals are distinctive in that they set a standard that dictates both success and failure for a given issue. More formulaically, they combine an if-then proposition (If A, then B) with its inverse (If Not-A, then Not-B).

Appellate courts on both sides of the circuit split that prompted the grant of certiorari in Hughes have overlooked the special features of biconditional rules. If the Supreme Court makes the same mistake, it could adopt a misguided approach that would unjustifiably create binding law without a sufficient consensus among the Justices involved in the precedent-setting case. This Essay identifies these concerns and proposes ways to apply Marks coherently to non-majority opinions that endorse biconditional rules.

The Supreme Court hears oral argument in Hughes tomorrow (3/27).

 

March 26, 2018 in Adam Steinman, Federal Courts, Recent Scholarship, Supreme Court Cases | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, March 23, 2018

Ondersma on Human Rights and Mandatory Arbitration

Chrystin Ondersma has published Consumer Financial Protection and Human Rights, 50 Cornell Int’l L.J. 543 (2017). Here’s the abstract:

This summer the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau proposed a rule that would restrict the use of mandatory arbitration clauses in consumer financial credit contracts. With the administration and Congress seemingly eager to pull back on consumer financial regulations, it is crucial to examine the rights at stake. Many financial institutions have agreed to protect and promote human rights, so pressure from consumers, human rights organizations, and consumer protection advocates may succeed even though Congress has declined to promulgate the CFPB’s proposed rule. This Article argues that the existing binding, mandatory arbitration system in consumer credit contracts is inconsistent with human rights principles, including property rights, rights to be free from discrimination, and due process rights. This Article then evaluates the CFPB’s rule from a human rights standpoint, and explores the CFPB’s role in mitigating human rights concerns triggered by arbitration clauses in consumer credit contracts.

 

 

March 23, 2018 in International/Comparative Law, Recent Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Lammon on Cumulative Finality

Bryan Lammon has posted on SSRN a draft of his article, Cumulative Finality, which will be published in the Georgia Law Review. Here’s the abstract:

A proper notice of appeal is a necessary first step in most federal appeals. But federal litigants sometimes file their notice of appeal early, before district court proceedings have ended. When those proceedings finally end and no new notice is filed, the law of cumulative finality determines what effect-if any-the premature notice has. Sometimes the notice is effective and the appeal proceeds as normal. Sometimes it's not, and litigants lose their right to appeal.

At least, that's how the law of cumulative finality looks from a distance. Up close, the courts of appeals are hopelessly divided on matters of cumulative finality. They disagree what law governs cumulative finality issues-whether they're governed solely by Rule of Appellate Procedure 4(a)(2) or also by a common-law cumulative finality doctrine that preceded the rule-and under what conditions a premature notice of appeal is saved. Three distinct approaches to cumulative finality have emerged, resulting in a deep circuit split. To make matters worse, decisions within several of the circuits have applied different approaches, resulting in intra-circuit divides.

This Article offers a fix. Neither the text of the Rules of Appellate Procedure nor their history provide a clear cumulative finality rule. But looking to the practicalities of the issue suggests allowing a subsequent judgment to save any prematurely filed notice of appeal. Doing so imposes few costs while preserving litigants' right to appeal.

The current cumulative finality mess illuminates a larger issue with the appellate jurisdiction literature and its attendant reform efforts. The literature has long maligned the unnecessary complexity and uncertainty of the entire federal appellate jurisdiction regime and advocated reform. But most of that literature focuses on only one part of that regime-appeals before a final judgment. Equally important are issues with determining when district court proceedings have ended and parties thus have a right to appeal. Cumulative finality is only one piece in this other aspect of appellate jurisdiction. There are more. Successful reform might require establishing a new, clearer point at which parties have a right to appeal. So this other aspect of appellate jurisdiction needs similar attention if reform is to succeed.

 

 

March 23, 2018 in Federal Courts, Recent Scholarship, Subject Matter Jurisdiction | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Gluck, Hall & Curfman on Courts and the Opioid Epidemic

Abbe Gluck, Ashley Hall, and Gregory Curfman have posted on SSRN a draft of their article, Civil Litigation and the Opioid Epidemic: The Role of Courts in a National Health Crisis, which will be published in the Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics. Here’s the abstract:

The devastating impact of the national opioid epidemic has given rise to hundreds of lawsuits. The plaintiffs -- who range from states, to counties, to Indian tribes, and individuals -- have cast an exceedingly broad net for defendants. They have sued not only the opioid manufacturers and the doctors who prescribed the drugs, but also the companies that distribute them, the pharmacies that sell them, and even the hospital accreditation organization that encouraged doctors to stop undertreating pain -- which they were -- two decades ago. 

This is not the first major national public health litigation effort -- tobacco, fast food, and guns offer earlier blueprints -- but it has some unique features. First, unlike the litigation it most resembles -- tobacco -- the opioid narrative has a far more complicated chain of causation. Opioids, unlike tobacco, have an important therapeutic purpose; they are FDA approved as safe and effective; they are often prescribed by doctors for sound medical reasons; and then they wind their way from manufacturer, to distributor, to pharmacy, to patient. This complicates litigation because defendants can argue that intervening factors (including other defendants) make any single defendant's culpability hard to isolate. 

Second, more than 400 of the opioid cases have now been consolidated before a single federal judge in a so-called "multidistrict litigation." That judge has chided the federal and state governments for punting the problem to the courts; he has made clear he thinks everyone is to blame; and has vowed to get a settlement, with systemic change as part of it, by the end of 2018 -- a breathtaking pace for resolution that makes his courtroom the game changer.

None of this is to say that litigation is the ideal way to solve a public health problem. Concerns abound about attorneys fees', conflicts of interests, inadequate settlement and the possible overreach of the presiding judge. But litigation has already spurred change in both the industry and the practice of medicine. It has played a central role in the public response to the epidemic. This article details that story.

 

 

 

March 22, 2018 in Current Affairs, Federal Courts, MDLs, Recent Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Another March Madness Elimination: Stipulated Dismissal in Salt River

We covered earlier the Supreme Court’s cert grant in the Salt River case, which presents the question: “Whether orders denying state-action immunity to public entities are immediately appealable under the collateral-order doctrine.” This week, the parties entered into a Stipulation of Dismissal pursuant to Sup. Ct. R. 46, taking the case off the Court’s docket.

Disappointed appellate-jurisdiction junkies may perhaps find solace in the jurisdictional portion of yesterday’s Ayestas decision.

 

 

 

March 22, 2018 in Federal Courts, Recent Decisions, Subject Matter Jurisdiction, Supreme Court Cases | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Fallon on Judicial Candor

Richard Fallon has published A Theory of Judicial Candor, 117 Colum. L. Rev. 2265 (2017). Here’s the abstract:

This Essay seeks to reframe a longstanding debate by propounding a novel theory of judicial candor. Previous commentators on judicial candor have failed to draw a crucial distinction between obligations of candor, breaches of which constitute highly culpable failures, and ideals of candor that even the best judges fail to satisfy fully. This Essay argues for a theory of judicial candor that defines both minimal obligations and aspirational ideals and that explains the linkages between the two.

This Essay’s potentially larger contribution lies in its provision of a template for thinking about judicial candor. Different people begin with different understandings or intuitive conceptions. To arbitrate among rival perspectives, this Essay posits that discussion needs to begin with familiar patterns of linguistic usage, but insists that analysis cannot stop there. Against the background of linguistic and theoretical disagreement, intellectual progress requires examination of why we have reason to care about judicial candor in the various senses in which that term can be used. At the last stage, the selection of a conception of judicial candor must turn on normative considerations. Consistent with that credo, this Essay not only explains, but also justifies, its conclusions about what judicial candor minimally requires and about the further ideals that it embodies, even if fallible and time-pressed human judges understandably fall short of ideal candor in many cases.

 

 

 

March 21, 2018 in Recent Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

SCOTUS Decision in Ayestas v. Davis

Today the Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision in Ayestas v. Davis, which involves a capital habeas petitioner seeking funding for investigative services, as authorized by 18 U.S.C. § 3599. Justice Alito’s opinion concludes that the courts below applied the wrong legal standard in denying Ayestas’s motion for funding and remands for further proceedings to apply the correct legal standard.

First, however, the Court confronts the question of whether appellate courts—including the Supreme Court—have jurisdiction to review a district court’s denial of such a request for funding. Here’s how Justice Alito tees up the issue:

When the District Court denied petitioner’s funding request and his habeas petition, he took an appeal to the Fifth Circuit under 28 U. S. C. §§1291 and 2253, which grant the courts of appeals jurisdiction to review final “decisions” and “orders” of a district court. And when the Fifth Circuit affirmed, petitioner sought review in this Court under §1254, which gives us jurisdiction to review “[c]ases” in the courts of appeals. As respondent correctly notes, these provisions confer jurisdiction to review decisions made by a district court in a judicial capacity. But we have recognized that not all decisions made by a federal court are “judicial” in nature; some decisions are properly understood to be “administrative,” and in that case they are “not subject to our review.” Hohn v. United States, 524 U. S. 236, 245 (1998).

The need for federal judges to make many administrative decisions is obvious. The Federal Judiciary, while tiny in comparison to the Executive Branch, is nevertheless a large and complex institution, with an annual budget exceeding $7 billion and more than 32,000 employees. See Administrative Office of the U. S. Courts, The Judiciary FY 2018 Congressional Budget Summary Revised 9–10 (June 2017). Administering this operation requires many “decisions” in the ordinary sense of the term—decisions about such things as facilities, personnel, equipment, supplies, and rules of procedure. In re Application for Exemption from Electronic Pub. Access Fees by Jennifer Gollan and Shane Shifflett, 728 F. 3d 1033, 1037 (CA9 2013). It would be absurd to suggest that every “final decision” on any such matter is appealable under §1291 or reviewable in this Court under §1254. See Hohn, supra; 15A C. Wright, A. Miller, & E. Cooper, Federal Practice and Procedure §3903, pp. 134–135 (2d ed. 1992). Such administrative decisions are not the kind of decisions or orders—i.e., decisions or orders made in a judicial capacity—to which the relevant jurisdictional provisions apply.

The Court concludes that the district court’s funding decision “does not remotely resemble the sort of administrative decisions noted above.” It is therefore subject to appellate review under the usual jurisdictional provisions.

Justice Sotomayor authors a concurring opinion, joined by Justice Ginsburg, arguing that—under the proper legal standard—“there should be little doubt that Ayestas has satisfied §3599(f)” and is entitled to funding.

 

 

 

 

 

March 21, 2018 in Federal Courts, Recent Decisions, Subject Matter Jurisdiction, Supreme Court Cases | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Lemos & Young on State Public Law Litigation

Maggie Lemos & Ernie Young have posted on SSRN a draft of their article, State Public Law Litigation in an Age of Polarization. Here’s the abstract:

Public-law litigation by state governments plays an increasingly prominent role in American governance. Although public lawsuits by state governments designed to challenge the validity or shape the content of national policy are not new, such suits have increased in number and salience over the last few decades — especially since the tobacco litigation of the late 1990s. Under the Obama and Trump Administrations, such suits have taken on a particularly partisan cast; “red” states have challenged the Affordable Care Act and President Obama’s immigration orders, for example, and “blue” states have challenged President Trump’s travel bans and attempts to roll back prior environmental policies. As a result, longstanding concerns about state litigation as a form of national policymaking that circumvents ordinary lawmaking processes have been joined by new concerns that state litigation reflects and aggravates partisan polarization.

This Article explores the relationship between state litigation and the polarization of American politics. As we explain, our federal system can mitigate the effects of partisan polarization by taking some divisive issues off the national agenda, leaving them to be solved in state jurisdictions where consensus may be more attainable — both because polarization appears to be dampened at the state level, and because political preferences are unevenly distributed geographically. State litigation can both help and hinder this dynamic. The available evidence suggests that state attorneys general (who handle the lion’s share of state litigation) are themselves fairly polarized, as are certain categories of state litigation. We map out the different ways states can use litigation to shape national policy, linking each to concerns about polarization. We thus distinguish between “vertical” conflicts, in which states sue to preserve their autonomy to go their own way on divisive issues, and “horizontal” conflicts, in which different groups of states vie for control of national policy. The latter, we think, will tend to aggravate polarization. But we concede — and illustrate — that it will often be difficult to separate out the vertical and horizontal aspects of particular disputes, and that in some horizontal disputes the polarization costs of state litigation may be worth paying.

We argue, moreover, that state litigation cannot be understood in a vacuum, but must be assessed as part of a broader phenomenon in American law: our reliance on entrepreneurial litigation to develop and enforce public norms. In this context, state attorneys general often play roles similar to “private attorneys general” such as class action lawyers or public interest organizations. And states, with their built-in systems of democratic accountability and internal checks and balances, compare well with other entrepreneurial enforcement vehicles in a number of respects. Nevertheless, state litigation efforts may not always account well for divergent preferences and interests within the broad publics that the states represent, and this deficiency becomes particularly important in politically polarized times. Although our account of state litigation is, on the whole, a positive one, we caution that state attorneys general face a significant risk of backlash by other political actors, and by courts, if state litigation is (or is perceived to be) a bitterly partisan affair.

 

 

 

March 20, 2018 in Federal Courts, Recent Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Supreme Court decision in Cyan: SLUSA & state court jurisdiction over 1933 Securities Act class actions

Today the Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision in Cyan, Inc. v. Beaver County Employees Retirement Fund. In an opinion authored by Justice Kagan, the Court addresses the effect of the Securities Litigation Uniform Standards Act of 1998 (SLUSA) on class actions that allege violations of only the Securities Act of 1933 (which governs the original issuance of securities). The defendants argued that SLUSA deprives state courts of jurisdiction over such class actions. The Solicitor General proposed what Justice Kagan called a “halfway-house position,” whereby state courts have jurisdiction but defendants may remove such class actions to federal court.

The Court unanimously rejects both arguments. First, the Court holds that state courts retain jurisdiction over class actions that allege only 1933 Act violations: “SLUSA’s text, read most straightforwardly, leaves in place state courts’ jurisdiction over 1933 Act claims, including when brought in class actions.” Second, the Court holds that when such class actions are filed in state court, they may not be removed to federal court. SLUSA did not exempt such class actions from the general bar on removal currently codified at 15 U.S.C. § 77v(a).

 

 

 

March 20, 2018 in Class Actions, Federal Courts, Recent Decisions, State Courts, Subject Matter Jurisdiction, Supreme Court Cases | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 19, 2018

Levy on Panel Assignment in the Federal Circuits

Marin Levy has published Panel Assignment in the Federal Courts of Appeals, 103 Cornell L. Rev. 65 (2017). Here’s the abstract:

It is common knowledge that the federal courts of appeals typically hear cases in panels of three judges and that the composition of the panel can have significant consequences for case outcomes and for legal doctrine more generally. Yet neither legal scholars nor social scientists have focused on the question of how judges are selected for their panels. Instead, a substantial body of scholarship simply assumes that panel assignment is random.

This Article provides what, up until this point, has been a missing account of panel assignment. Drawing on a multiyear qualitative study of five circuit courts, including in-depth interviews with thirty-five judges and senior administrators, I show that strictly random selection is a myth, and an improbable one at that – in many instances, it would have been impossible as a practical matter for the courts studied here to create their panels by random draw. Although the courts generally tried to “mix up” the judges, the chief judges and clerks responsible for setting the calendar also took into account various other factors, from collegiality to efficiency-based considerations. Notably, those factors differed from one court to the next; no two courts approached the challenge of panel assignment in precisely the same way.

These findings pose an important challenge to the widespread assumption of panel randomness and reveal key normative questions that have been largely ignored in the literature. Although randomness is regarded as the default selection method across much of judicial administration, there is little exposition of why it is valuable. What, exactly, is desirable about having judges brought together randomly in the first place? What, if anything, is problematic about nonrandom methods of selection? This Article sets out to clarify both the costs and benefits of randomness, arguing that there can be valid reasons to depart from it. As such, it provides a framework for assessing different panel assignment practices and the myriad other court practices that rely, to some extent, on randomness.

 

 

 

March 19, 2018 in Federal Courts, Recent Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Procedural Moves in Stormy Daniels’ Lawsuit Against Donald Trump

There has been a lot of coverage of Donald Trump’s relationship with Stephanie Clifford (known by her stage name Stormy Daniels), and the $130,000 payment she received in connection with a nondisclosure agreement during the heat of the 2016 presidential campaign.

Earlier this month, Clifford filed a lawsuit against Trump and Essential Consultants, LLC, in California state court (Los Angeles County). Essential Consultants, which was a party to the nondisclosure agreement, is apparently a Delaware LLC, and Trump attorney Michael Cohen is its sole member. Clifford’s complaint seeks a declaration that the “Hush Agreement” is unenforceable.

Download State Court Complaint

Yesterday, Essential Consultants removed the case to federal court. The notice alleges that, for purposes of diversity jurisdiction, Clifford is a Texas citizen and Trump and Essential Consultants are New York citizens. It also alleges that “the value of the object of the litigation” exceeds $75,000. The federal case has been docketed as Clifford v. Trump, No. 2:18-cv-02217 (C.D. Cal.)

Download Notice of Removal

Donald Trump filed a separate document joining in Essential Consultants’ notice of removal. This appears to be his effort to comply with 28 U.S.C. § 1446(b)(2)(A), which provides: “When a civil action is removed solely under section 1441(a), all defendants who have been properly joined and served must join in or consent to the removal of the action.”

Download Trump Joinder in Notice of Removal

You can find more coverage of the removal to federal court here: 

 

 

 

March 17, 2018 in Current Affairs, Federal Courts, In the News, Subject Matter Jurisdiction | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Vanderbilt Law Review Symposium Issue on State Judiciaries

The Vanderbilt Law Review recently published a symposium issue entitled The Least Understood Branch: The Demands and Challenges of the State Judiciary. It includes a dozen articles on these broader themes: the effects of selection method on public officials; perceived legitimacy and the state judiciary; and the power of new data and technology. 

 

 

 

March 15, 2018 in Conferences/Symposia, State Courts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Lammon on Hall v. Hall

Bryan Lammon has posted on SSRN a draft of his essay, Hall v. Hall: A Lose-Lose Case for Appellate Jurisdiction, which is forthcoming in the Emory Law Journal Online. Here’s the abstract:

In Hall v. Hall, the Supreme Court will decide when parties in consolidated actions can appeal. But the Court has no great options in deciding the case. The Court can adopt a straightforward rule that rule would produce pragmatically unsound results. Or the Court can take a more flexible approach to appeals in this context, but doing so could inject further uncertainty and complexity into this area of the law. This problem is not unique to Hall; it exists when courts decide many issues of federal appellate jurisdiction. But Hall also illustrates the alternative way forward: although it's too late for Hall itself, the issue in Hall is an ideal one for rulemaking. More generally, rulemaking can avoid many of the problems federal courts run into when making rules of appellate jurisdiction.

 

 

March 14, 2018 in Federal Courts, Recent Scholarship, Supreme Court Cases | Permalink | Comments (0)