Supreme Court Tightens Personal Jurisdiction Requirements

Determining whether a nonresident defendant is subject to a forum state’s jurisdiction became clearer on June 19, 2017, when the United States Supreme Court announced its decision in Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court of California, San Francisco County, 582 U.S. ____ (2017), case no. 16-466. Continue reading “Supreme Court Tightens Personal Jurisdiction Requirements”

Supreme Court Swats Down the “Voluntary-Dismissal Tactic”

Let’s say you’re a plaintiff in a federal action and you’re seeking class certification.  The district court denies your motion.  You then seek the court of appeals’ permission to appeal that interlocutory order under Rule 23(f) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, but that court says no.  What to do? Continue reading “Supreme Court Swats Down the “Voluntary-Dismissal Tactic””

The Stealthy Traffic Camera and the Class Action That Wasn’t

Mobile speed units.  Those mindless menaces squinting at everything that rolls down the road.  Most drivers approach them with caution, but others, either oblivious to their presence or bent on one-upping the machine, speed by, only to have their stomachs sink when a ticket arrives in the mail. Continue reading “The Stealthy Traffic Camera and the Class Action That Wasn’t”

Supreme Court Reinforces the Primacy of the Federal Arbitration Act, Even Over a “Divine God-Given Right”

Kentucky law speaks of the right to jury trial in theological terms.  The Kentucky Constitution provides that “[t]he ancient mode of trial by jury shall be held sacred, and the right thereof remain inviolate, subject to such modifications as may be authorized by this Constitution.”  Expounding on that, the Kentucky Supreme Court noted in an opinion that “the drafters of our Constitution deemed the right to a jury trial to be inviolate, a right that cannot be taken away; and, indeed, a right that is sacred, thus denoting that right and that right alone as a divine God-given right.”  And no, that opinion did not issue in 1815; it issued 200 years later.  Continue reading “Supreme Court Reinforces the Primacy of the Federal Arbitration Act, Even Over a “Divine God-Given Right””

Federal Circuit Court of Appeals Puts the Class in Class Actions

The Federal Circuit Court of Appeals is best known for adjudicating patent disputes.  But that’s not the extent of its portfolio.  It also has exclusive appellate jurisdiction over decisions of the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, which, in turn, reviews decisions of the Board of Veterans’ Appeals.  Those tribunals adjudicate benefits claims by military veterans. Continue reading “Federal Circuit Court of Appeals Puts the Class in Class Actions”

Sixth Circuit Rules that the Class Action Fairness Act Means What it Says

A statute, distilled to its essence, is thought conveyed through words.  And when those words are understandable and coherently arranged, there’s nothing for courts to do when adjudicating disputes involving them, other than to apply them as written.

Simple, isn’t it?

In theory, yes.  But theories don’t wear judge’s robes. Continue reading “Sixth Circuit Rules that the Class Action Fairness Act Means What it Says”

Question: When Is a $3 Million Attorney Fee Award Painful?

Answer:  When your fee request was $25 million higher.

And so it was in In Re: Volkswagen “Clean Diesel” Marketing, Sales Practices, and Products Liability Litigation, pending in federal court in San Francisco.  The case arose, in the court’s words, from VW’s “deliberate use of a defeat device – software designed to cheat emissions tests and deceive federal and state regulators – in nearly 600,000 Volkswagens- and Audi-branded turbocharged direct injection diesel engine vehicles sold in the United States.”  Continue reading “Question: When Is a $3 Million Attorney Fee Award Painful?”