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The Sauter Estate filed a complaint in the Southern District of New York against Citigroup, Banamex and Banamex U.S.A., seeking information pertaining to Sauter’s accounts. The Estate's amended complaint added Grupo as a defendant and added a claim for Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act Infractions, 18 U.S.C. 1961-1968. After defendants moved to dismiss, the Estate filed a notice of voluntary withdrawal under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(a)(1)(A)(i). The defendants unsuccessfully moved to vacate that notice and to dismiss with prejudice and requested sanctions under 28 U.S.C. 1927 and the court’s “inherent powers to impose sanctions as a deterrent against continued vexatious litigation." The court noted that the Federal Rules provide safeguards in case the plaintiff commences a second action, including ordering plaintiff to pay all of defendants’ costs and fees in the dismissed action, Fed. R. Civ. P. 41(a)(1)(B)(d). The Estate subsequently filed a complaint in the Delaware District Court, naming only Citigroup. Citigroup moved for costs, including attorneys’ fees, under Rule 41(d). The district court granted the motion for costs but concluded that because the plain language of Rule 41(d) does not provide for an award of attorneys’ fees. The Third Circuit affirmed. Attorneys’ fees may only be awarded as “costs” under Rule 41(d) when the substantive statute under which the lawsuit was filed defines costs to include attorneys’ fees; no such statute is involved here. View "Garza v. Citigroup Inc" on Justia Law

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The Sauter Estate filed a complaint in the Southern District of New York against Citigroup, Banamex and Banamex U.S.A., seeking information pertaining to Sauter’s accounts. The Estate's amended complaint added Grupo as a defendant and added a claim for Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act Infractions, 18 U.S.C. 1961-1968. After defendants moved to dismiss, the Estate filed a notice of voluntary withdrawal under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(a)(1)(A)(i). The defendants unsuccessfully moved to vacate that notice and to dismiss with prejudice and requested sanctions under 28 U.S.C. 1927 and the court’s “inherent powers to impose sanctions as a deterrent against continued vexatious litigation." The court noted that the Federal Rules provide safeguards in case the plaintiff commences a second action, including ordering plaintiff to pay all of defendants’ costs and fees in the dismissed action, Fed. R. Civ. P. 41(a)(1)(B)(d). The Estate subsequently filed a complaint in the Delaware District Court, naming only Citigroup. Citigroup moved for costs, including attorneys’ fees, under Rule 41(d). The district court granted the motion for costs but concluded that because the plain language of Rule 41(d) does not provide for an award of attorneys’ fees. The Third Circuit affirmed. Attorneys’ fees may only be awarded as “costs” under Rule 41(d) when the substantive statute under which the lawsuit was filed defines costs to include attorneys’ fees; no such statute is involved here. View "Garza v. Citigroup Inc" on Justia Law

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In this interlocutory appeal, the Supreme court reversed the circuit court’s disqualification of counsel for Appellant. The circuit court dismissed counsel on the basis that counsel had a conflict and was disqualified from representing Appellant. On appeal, Appellant argued, among other things, that the circuit court erred in disqualifying Appellant’s counsel based solely on opposing counsel’s statement that the attorney would be called as a witness. The Supreme Court remanded the matter for further proceedings, holding that the circuit court’s decision to impose “the drastic measure” of disqualifying counsel constituted an abuse of discretion because there was no motion to disqualify counsel or any consideration of the factors set forth in Weigel v. Farmers Insurance Co., 158 S.W.3d 147, 150-51 (Ark. 2004). View "Helena County Club v. Brocato" on Justia Law

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The DC Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of plaintiffs' motion to compel payment of attorneys' fees that they say should have been but were not paid as a result of PBGC doing too little to identify and make payments to class members. The court's de novo interpretation of the wrap-up agreement gave it no reason to question the district court's conclusion that PBGC fully performed notwithstanding class counsel's unsupported assertions to the contrary. The court also held that PBGC did not prevent class counsel's performance of the wrap-up agreement. In this case, the parties intended that the wrap-up would be complete within ten years. This ten year period was unambiguous and has expired. View "Collins v. PBGC" on Justia Law

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The DC Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of plaintiffs' motion to compel payment of attorneys' fees that they say should have been but were not paid as a result of PBGC doing too little to identify and make payments to class members. The court's de novo interpretation of the wrap-up agreement gave it no reason to question the district court's conclusion that PBGC fully performed notwithstanding class counsel's unsupported assertions to the contrary. The court also held that PBGC did not prevent class counsel's performance of the wrap-up agreement. In this case, the parties intended that the wrap-up would be complete within ten years. This ten year period was unambiguous and has expired. View "Collins v. PBGC" on Justia Law

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Petitioners California Self-Insurers’ Security Fund (the Fund) and Nixon Peabody LLP (Nixon Peabody or the firm) sought a writ of mandate to direct the trial court to vacate its order disqualifying Nixon Peabody from representing the Fund in the underlying case. Petitioners argued the trial court mistakenly believed it was compelled by law to disqualify the firm; the court instead should have made further factual findings and exercised its discretion. Real parties in interest contended disqualification was mandatory and therefore no discretion needed to be exercised. The Court of Appeal concluded that automatic disqualification was not required under these facts. View "CA Self-Insurers' Sec. Fund v. Super. Ct." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court concluded that former York County Probate Judge Robert M.A. Nadeau violated Rule 2.11(A) of the Maine Code of Judicial Conduct when he participated in the resolution of a case after acknowledging that he would be required to recuse for bias if an evidentiary hearing were necessary. The court accepted the Committee on Judicial Responsibility and Disability’s recommendation and ordered that Judge Nadeau be publicly reprimanded for violating Rule 2.11(A), noting that, while a sanction was warranted for Judge Nadeau’s misconduct, the need to deter others from similar misconduct was tempered by the fact that Judge Nadeau was no longer a judicial officer and was serving a suspension from the practice of law. View "In re Robert M.A. Nadeau" on Justia Law

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The 260-unit San Francisco condominium property is subject to the Davis-Stirling Common Interests Development Act, Civ. Code, 4000. Artus, a J.D., Ph.D., owns three condominiums. The homeowner’s association (HOA) is governed by a board, previously elected by cumulative voting: a member would receive a number of votes equal to the total number of directors to be elected and could cast all her ballots for one candidate. Artus was elected to the board three times. The HOA voted by a substantial majority to eliminate cumulative voting. Artus sued, citing the Act, and obtained preliminary injunctive relief, preventing a board election under the new, direct vote rule. In the meantime, the HOA held another election and again approved direct voting by a substantial margin. Finding that the second election addressed “whatever valid objections [Artus] may have had” and the HOA had made good faith efforts to comply with the law, the court denied relief after trial. The court of appeal affirmed, rejecting Artus’ claim for statutory fees and costs. Neither the Davis-Stirling Act nor the legislative history of the fee provision at issue evidences any intent to depart from well-established principles that fees and costs are ordinarily not granted for interim success. View "Artus v. Gramercy Towers Condominium Association" on Justia Law

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The issue this case presented for the Vermont Supreme Court's review centered on whether a court could terminate parents’ parental rights following a hearing in which, over an objection, the State was represented by the same lawyer who had previously represented the children in the same matter. Mother and father separately appealed the court’s order terminating their parental rights with respect to three of their daughters. The Supreme Court did not address many of their challenges to the trial court’s findings and conclusions because the Court concluded a conflict of interest by the State’s counsel compromised the proceedings. Accordingly, the case was reversed and remanded for a new hearing. View "In re L.H., L.H. and L.H., Juveniles" on Justia Law

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Halus owned land in a San Leandro industrial zone, where it designed and manufactured wind turbines. It proposed to install a 100-foot-tall wind turbine to generate energy and conduct research and development; it sought a variance from zoning restrictions on height. San Leandro conducted an analysis under the California Environmental Quality Act (Pub. Resources Code 21000) (CEQA). The turbine would have been within the San Francisco Bay Estuary, a major refuge for many species, including threatened or endangered species, and 500 feet from a residential development. The city proposed a mitigated negative declaration (MND) allowing the project to go forward with mitigation measures. In response to comments and objections, San Leandro released a revised MND adding mitigation or monitoring recommended by the Department of Fish and Game, without requiring an Environmental Impact Report (EIR). HOA filed suit. The court held that San Leandro failed to comply with CEQA. San Leandro set aside its approval. The project did not proceed. The court granted HOA attorneys’ fees, Code of Civil Procedure 1021.5. The court of appeal affirmed, finding that the action resulted in the enforcement of an important right affecting the public interest, a significant benefit was conferred on the general public or a large class of persons, and the necessity and financial burden of private enforcement made the award appropriate. View "Heron Bay Homeowners Association v. City of San Leandro" on Justia Law