J. Noreika allows the U.S. to be substituted for Congressman Adam Schiff in defamation claims concerning comments made about Hunter Biden's laptop computer as required under the Westfall act due to the fact that Adam Schiff was acting is his role as a federal employee at the relevant time. Meanwhile, plaintiff must exhaust administrative remedies before bringing the tort claim against the U.S.
Court: USDC Delaware, Judge: Noreika, Filed On: March 23, 2023, Case #: 1:23cv247, Categories: Defamation, Jurisdiction
J. Groves finds the lower court properly granted permanent custody of the mother's child to family services. The mother failed to complete substance abuse treatment programs, showed no improvement in parenting skills after she attended classes as part of her case plan, and did not have steady housing. Affirmed.
Court: Ohio Court Of Appeals, Judge: Grove, Filed On: March 23, 2023, Case #: 2023-Ohio-936, Categories: Evidence, Family Law
J. Do finds that the trial court erred in adding language to the jury instructions for theft that lowered the state's burden of proof. The modification included the phrase, "unauthorized use of utilities," which impermissibly allowed the jury to convict without considering defendant's mental state. The mentally ill defendant believed the home was his, so he did not have the intent to steal and the instruction transformed the crime into one of strict liability. The instruction was also too argumentative and prejudicial. Reversed in part.
Court: California Courts Of Appeal, Judge: Do, Filed On: March 23, 2023, Case #: D079825, Categories: Burglary, Theft
J. Trotter finds that the lower court improperly ruled against the appellant in this lawsuit concerning an alleged post-foreclosure deficiency. The foreclosure sale was not valid, as the appellee failed to comply with certain notice requirements and the deed of trust. Reversed.
Court: Texas Courts of Appeals, Judge: Trotter, Filed On: March 23, 2023, Case #: 11-21-00291-CV, Categories: Civil Procedure, Real Estate, Banking / Lending
J. Engelmayer grants the lender's motion to compel arbitration of claims that it charged usurious interest rates to a business seeking cash advances to keep its business afloat during the pandemic. The terms of the parties' contract clearly requires any dispute relating to the agreement be resolved in arbitration. However, the lender is not entitled to attorneys fees for defending this suit.
Court: USDC Southern District of New York, Judge: Engelmayer, Filed On: March 23, 2023, Case #: 1:22cv10529, Categories: Arbitration, Contract, Racketeering
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J. Benavides finds that the lower court properly granted summary judgment on the appellees' breach of contract clam against the appellant company, in this lawsuit involving a real estate sale. The appellants argue that an advisory partnership was a necessary party to the case, but they failed to preserve the issue for review. Summary judgment was not proper against the individual appellant, however, as the appellees do not show that he could be "individually liable for breach of contract." Affirmed in part.
Court: Texas Courts of Appeals, Judge: Benavides, Filed On: March 23, 2023, Case #: 13-21-00342-CV, Categories: Real Estate, Contract
J. Goldstein finds that the lower court improperly dismissed this negligence lawsuit for want of prosecution. The appellants' counsel failed to appear for trial, based on the trial court's statement at a hearing that their case "probably" would not be reached. Counsel's explanation for the absence was reasonable, and the case should have been reinstated. Accordingly, the matter will be remanded for reinstatement. Reversed.
Court: Texas Courts of Appeals, Judge: Goldstein, Filed On: March 23, 2023, Case #: 05-21-01145-CV, Categories: Civil Procedure, Tort, Negligence
J. Bailey finds that the lower court improperly granted no-evidence summary judgment in favor of the oil and gas operator in this personal injury lawsuit. There was evidence that a field superintendent "exercised at least some control" over the way that the crew was working on a problem. There is also evidence that he knew of the risk associated with a certain rope, which allegedly broke and resulted in the worker's injuries. Reversed.
Court: Texas Courts of Appeals, Judge: Bailey, Filed On: March 23, 2023, Case #: 11-21-00064-CV, Categories: Evidence, Tort, Negligence
J. Panella finds that the lower court improperly disqualified defendant's attorney during his attempted homicide case after she leaked bodycam footage to the media. The record does not show disqualification was needed to protect the commonwealth's fair trial rights. Reversed.
Court: Pennsylvania Superior Court, Judge: Panella, Filed On: March 23, 2023, Case #: J-A28035-22, Categories: Fair Trial, Sentencing, Negligent Homicide
J. Pryor finds that the district court properly convicted defendant of cocaine possession following a bust during which officials discovered more than 400 kilograms of the drug. The district court correctly gave a corrective instruction during testimony from a witness who misunderstood the legal term "conspiracy" and correctly instructed the jury on the elements of conspiracy. There was sufficient evidence to show that defendant knew the boat he was on was transporting cocaine as cargo. Affirmed.
Court: 11th Circuit, Judge: Pryor, Filed On: March 23, 2023, Case #: 20-14315, Categories: Drug Offender, Jury Instructions
J. Montalvo remands to state court a slip and fall case filed by a customer against Denny's. This case should have never been removed to federal court because Denny's removal was beyond the one-year limit.
Court: USDC Western District of Texas , Judge: Montalvo, Filed On: March 23, 2023, Case #: 3:22cv365, Categories: Damages, Negligence, Jurisdiction
[Consolidated.] J. Conley finds that an insurer was not the owner of a vehicle at the time of its involvement in a fatal collision and thus did not need to be insured as such. Title documents and possession had already been transferred to the power of attorney, absolving the insurer of responsibility.
Court: Kentucky Supreme Court, Judge: Conley, Filed On: March 23, 2023, Case #: 2021-SC-0163-DG, Categories: Insurance
J. Settle dismisses the mine owner's claim that the state government office engaged in tortious interference of her mining operations in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. The mine owner's claim does not have federal jurisdiction because of the superior court's decision in an appeal of the original order to cease mining operations, which made the state government office's behavior lawful.
Court: USDC Western District of Washington, Judge: Settle, Filed On: March 23, 2023, Case #: 3:22cv5209, Categories: Civil Rights, Government, Jurisdiction
J. Wollman finds a lower court properly sentenced a defendant who pleaded guilty to possessing with intent to distribute 50 grams or more of meth. The defendant argued that the lower court erred in denying his motion to suppress evidence. However, authorities obtained a warrant for the defendant's arrest, and then located him inside of a motel room where they discovered meth, heroin, and evidence of drug dealing. Affirmed.
Court: 8th Circuit, Judge: Wollman, Filed On: March 23, 2023, Case #: 22-1408, Categories: Drug Offender, Evidence, Sentencing
J. Tiscione awards $145,000 in damages to a cook on his wage claims against a Thai and Japanese restaurant. The restaurant failed to pay him overtime and spread-of-hours pay, and did not provide adequate wage notice.
Court: USDC Eastern District of New York, Judge: Tiscione, Filed On: March 23, 2023, Case #: 2:19cv630, Categories: Damages, Labor
J. McAdam finds that the juvenile court termination of a mother's parental rights, which freed a child for adoption, was supported by substantial evidence that child's time with her was traumatic and the child had developed a strong bond with her caregivers. The exclusion of recordings that the mother made of her interactions with the child was correct because the child was a ward of the court and the mother could not consent to the recordings on the child's behalf. Affirmed.
Court: California Courts Of Appeal, Judge: McAdam, Filed On: March 23, 2023, Case #: C096775, Categories: Evidence, Family Law, Due Process
J. Berg grants an insurer summary judgment in claims brought after the insured was denied long-term disability benefits following a car accident because she had not been disabled by a physical condition in a way that prevented her from continuing to work as a human resources manager.
Court: USDC Eastern District of Michigan, Judge: Berg, Filed On: March 23, 2023, Case #: 2:21cv12819, Categories: Insurance
J. May finds that defendant was properly convicted of dealing drugs because evidence indicates defendant possessed the drugs at issue with intent to sell them. Affirmed.
Court: Indiana Court Of Appeals, Judge: May, Filed On: March 23, 2023, Case #: 19A-CR-2623, Categories: Drug Offender, Evidence, Intent
Per curiam, the appellate division finds that attorney William Quirk may be reinstated following his September 2022suspension since Quirk demonstrated he complied with the suspension order and possessed the character to practice law.
Court: New York Appellate Divisions, Judge: Per curiam, Filed On: March 23, 2023, Case #: PM-64-23, Categories: Attorney Discipline
J. Donnelly denies, in part, a group of pharmacies' motion to dismiss a pharmacist's labor and false claims action. The pharmacist adequately pleads the corporate defendants are a single integrated enterprise and that he is not a salaried employee for purposes under the Fair Labor Standards Act and New York Labor Law.
Court: USDC Eastern District of New York, Judge: Donnelly, Filed On: March 23, 2023, Case #: 1:21cv6000, Categories: Employment, False Claims, Labor
J. Leichty finds for plaintiff company in claims seeking coverage for flood damage because losses were subject to a $30 million, not a $10 million, limit.
Court: USDC Northern District of Indiana, Judge: Leichty, Filed On: March 23, 2023, Case #: 3:21cv227, Categories: Insurance, Damages
J. Thurston denies a tribe’s renewed motion for a preliminary injunction in their challenges concerning the Trinity River Division of the Central Valley Project. Even if the tribe showed a likelihood of success on the merits, it has failed to show a balance of harms weighs in favor of an injunction.
Court: USDC Eastern District of California, Judge: Thurston, Filed On: March 23, 2023, Case #: 1:20cv1814, Categories: Administrative Law, Water, Restraining Order
J. Barker allows plaintiff to continue claims contending defendant failed to make proper contributions to the employee benefit fund because evidence remains in dispute as to whether the two companies were connected in a way to require such contributions.
Court: USDC Southern District of Indiana, Judge: Barker, Filed On: March 23, 2023, Case #: 1:19cv3877, Categories: Erisa
J. Earp allows an employer to continue claims contending an employee breached the nondisclosure provision of the parties' contract because the employer sufficiently pleaded the employee used confidential information.
Court: North Carolina Business Court, Judge: Earp, Filed On: March 22, 2023, Case #: 2023-NCBC-23, Categories: Contract
J. Johnson finds the trial court properly convicted defendant for murder, with two prior felony convictions. Officer testimony and surveillance video establishes a complex event and crime scene, including uncooperative witnesses, an altercation the victim had with a man who defendant’s friend, an eyewitness, claimed to not know, as well as physical evidence of shell casings, a firearm clip and an unusual bicycle on a rooftop. Defendant failed to establish at trial that his friend’s testimony was crucial to his defense before it was stricken, and his right to testify on his own behalf was not infringed. The evidence supports conviction and there was no abuse of discretion. Affirmed.
Court: Texas Courts of Appeals, Judge: Johnson, Filed On: March 22, 2023, Case #: 09-21-00370-CR, Categories: Evidence, Murder, Due Process
J. Griggsby partially grants summary judgment to Maryland’s correctional services department, which fired an employee in an act of alleged national origin discrimination and retaliation. The allegations are not time-barred, but they do not establish a prima facie case, so they are dismissed.
Court: USDC Maryland, Judge: Griggsby, Filed On: March 22, 2023, Case #: 1:20cv3745, Categories: Civil Procedure, Employment Discrimination, Employment Retaliation
J. Phillips finds that the lower court improperly in part ruled in a property dispute between a native tribe and the United States. The district court found that a title to the subarea of Banco Bonito within the Valles Caldera National Preserve was established by the tribe sometime in the 1400s, but the court incorrectly determined that the tribe lost it sometime after 1650 by not maintaining its use to the "exclusion of other Indian groups." There is no rule in the relevant laws that sets a condition that a tribe must use the land to the exclusion of other Indian groups after an aboriginal title has been established. The only way to lose that kind of title is by extinguishing it or abandoning it, neither of which has taken place, so the tribe still holds the title over Banco Bonito. Reversed in part.
Court: 10th Circuit, Judge: Phillips, Filed On: March 22, 2023, Case #: 20-2145, Categories: Property, Native Americans
J. Lauck grants the commission's motion for default judgment finding that the firm manipulated the electric energy market through a scheme to garner an excessive amount of certain credit payments to transmission customers. The firm is ordered to pay $16.8 million in penalties and disgorge $3.4 million.
Court: USDC Eastern District of Virginia, Judge: Lauck, Filed On: March 22, 2023, Case #: 3:15cv452, Categories: Energy, Fraud, Damages
J. Kelly finds a lower court properly sentenced a defendant to 71 months in prison after she pleaded guilty to one count of possession with intent to distribute meth. The defendant argued that her sentence is unreasonable and that she is entitled to a three- level downward adjustment. However, she signed an enforceable plea agreement.
Court: 8th Circuit, Judge: Kelly, Filed On: March 22, 2023, Case #: 22-1186, Categories: Drug Offender, Sentencing, Plea
J. Stegner finds that the trial court properly quieted title to a subdivision lot in favor of an HOA. The subdivision's developer had established an easement to use the lot to access his RV lot, but he ceded all claims through a subsequent settlement agreement with the HOA. Also, the HOA is not entitled to attorney fees because the gravaman of the litigation was a non-frivolous quiet title claim and not a commercial transaction. Affirmed.
Court: Idaho Supreme Court, Judge: Stegner, Filed On: March 22, 2023, Case #: 48922, Categories: Property, Attorney Fees