Paul W. Mollica

Paul W. Mollica Blogs

Blog Authors

Latest from Paul W. Mollica

In Harbor Healthcare System, L.P. v. United States, No. 19-20624 (5th Cir. July 26, 2021), a per curiam panel of the Fifth Circuit takes aim at the government’s “callous disregard” of the plaintiff’s attorney-client privilege, reversing the district court’s dismissal of the plaintiff’s action for pre-indictment return of its privileged documents. Harbor was the subject of two qui tam actions. In the course of these cases, the Civil Division of the Department of Justice…
In Rowland v. Southern Health Partners, Inc., No. 20-5944 (6th Cir. July 21, 2021), the panel splits over the meaning of its prior case law, holding that a voluntary dismissal without prejudice under Rule 41(a)(2) of claims that might be refiled after a successful appeal does not present a final, appealable judgment under 28 U.S.C. § 1291. Plaintiff Rowland “appeals from two district court orders disposing of her state and federal claims arising from…
In City of Fishers, Indiana v. DIRECTTV, No.20-3478 (7th Cir. July 21, 2021), the Seventh Circuit holds that a suit involving “state taxation of commercial activity” belonged in state court, and should not have been removed to federal court, under the seldom-invoked “comity abstention” doctrine. This action was brought under Indiana’s Indiana Video Service Franchises (VSF) Act of 2006. The law requires anyone offering “video service” to “enter into a franchise agreement with the…
In Kensu v. Corizon, Inc., No. 21-1083 (6th Cir.July 20, 2021), the Sixth Circuit holds that the district court did not abuse its discretion by dismissing a complaint that it found was “woefully short on specifics,” “frequently connect[ed] back to conditions or complaints already litigated,” and “lack[ed] the substance needed for Defendants to answer and assert any pertinent affirmative defenses.” Plaintiff Kensu, a prison inmate, had several actions pending against defendant Michigan Department of…
In Spirit Lake Tribe  v. Jaeger, No. 20-2142 (8th Cir. July 16, 2021), the Eighth Circuit holds that a fee petition for work performed on a preliminary injunction must be submitted within 14 days of the interlocutory order, rather than waiting until the final judgment, contrary to the Advisory Committee Note’s commentary. “The plaintiffs sued the North Dakota Secretary of State in January 2016, alleging that the State’s voter identification requirements violated the Constitution…
In Franco v. Mabe Trucking Co., No. 19-30316 (5th Cir. July 8, 2021), the Fifth Circuit joins other circuits that have held that 28 U.S.C. § 1631 can cure defective personal as well as subject-matter jurisdiction. But the panel split on the interaction between § 1631 and Louisiana’s “prescription” (limitations) law. A vehicular accident on near the Louisiana-Texas border led to the filing of a diversity-jurisdiction action in the U.S. District Court for the…
In RLR Investments, LLC v. City of Pigeon Forge, Tenn., No. 20-6375 (6th Cir. July 13, 2021), a 2-1 panel holds that Exxon Mobil Corp. v. Saudi Basic Indus. Corp., 544 U.S. 280 (2005) (Exxon), did not abrogate the circuit’s prior caselaw applying the Rooker-Feldman doctrine to state-court interlocutory orders. The Rooker-Feldman doctrine is a principle of the federal jurisdiction that bars lower federal courts from reviewing state-court judgments. This case originated with a…
In United States v. Brocato, No. 20-40624 (5th Cir. July 9, 2021) (per curiam), the panel affirms denial of a recusal motion, despite “that certain statements of the district court judge were ill-advised and certain actions of her staff were improper.” Defendants, a married couple who ran a lawn service business together, were convicted of tax fraud and filing false tax returns by a jury. At trial, Judith Brocato testified on direct examination that…
In Alexander v. Saul, No. 19-3370 (2d Cir. July 8, 2021), the Second Circuit affirms a district court decision holding that plaintiff’s post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder, and opioid use disorder was not “excusable neglect” to justify an extension of time to file a notice of appeal, in a case where plaintiff failed to keep her lawyer apprised of her current contact information. Under Fed. R. App. P. 4(a)(5), a district court “may extend…
In Copen v. United States, No. 21-2655 (6th Cir. July 6, 2021), a 2-1 panel holds that the requirement under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), 28 U.S.C. §§ 2671–80, that a tort victim first present “the amount of the claim . . . to the federal agency” (id. § 2675(b)) is mandatory, but not jurisdictional. “Sovereign immunity generally bars claims against the United States without its consent,” but “Congress, through the FTCA, waived…