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In 2013, plaintiff-respondent Gerardo Medina purchased a used car from defendant-appellant South Coast Car Company, Inc. The sales contract was eventually assigned to Veros Credit, LLC, and plaintiff sued on nine causes of action stemming from that contract. The parties settled the suit on the eve of trial. Relevant to this appeal, defendants also agreed that they would not "dispute [Medina's] underlying entitlement to attorneys' fees based upon the claims brought in the [underlying a]ction"; that Medina "shall be deemed the prevailing party on all causes of action for purposes of the motion" for attorney fees; that defendants "reserve the right to dispute the reasonableness of the attorneys' fees, costs, and prejudgment interest claimed to have been incurred" by Medina; and that defendants "maintain all defenses as to the limitations on the amount of attorneys' fees, costs, and prejudgment interest." On appeal (and despite the Settlement), defendants contend the court erred when it awarded Medina attorney fees, costs and prejudgment interest. Specifically, defendants contended that, although Medina was the prevailing party as provided under the settlement, Veros was not liable to pay any portion of his fees and costs because it was merely the "holder" of the sales contract and thus, its liability was limited to the amounts paid by Medina, or about $8,600, and that Medina, in any event, was not entitled to any such award because he previously had rejected SCCC's offer to rescind the sales contract. The Court of Appeal disagreed with defendants’ contentions, finding the record showed defendants recognized in connection with their summary judgment/adjudication motion that their settlement offer went to the " 'determination of the legal basis' " for an award of attorney fees: it would have made little sense for the parties to enter into the Settlement and not resolve what was and the overarching issue in the case, in light of the parties' extensive litigation of this issue up to the time of the settlement. View "Medina v. South Coast Car Company" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed a judgment entered by the district court against Hylas Yachts, LLC and in favor of Plaintiffs in the amount of $663,774 plus interest and costs in this case alleging numerous defects in a brand-new yacht that Hylas custom built and sold to Plaintiffs. The court held (1) the trial court did not abuse its discretion in allowing Plaintiffs to offer their evidence of damages for the jury’s evaluation; (2) the district court was not required to dismiss the case or give an adverse-inference instruction concerning spoliation of evidence; (3) the district court did not err in dismissing Hylas’s indemnification claim against the boom supplier; (4) there was no error in the jury instructions; (5) the jury’s verdict was not inconsistent; and (6) Plaintiffs were not entitled as a matter of law to multiple damages and attorneys’ fees under Massachusetts state law. View "Sharp v. Hylas Yachts, LLC" on Justia Law

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A voicemail can, and will, be considered a communication under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), 15 U.S.C. 1692, if the voicemail reveals that the call was from a debt collection company and provides instructions and information to return the call. Meaningful disclosure is provided as long as the caller reveals the nature of the debt collection company's business, which can be satisfied by disclosing that the call is on behalf of a debt collection company, and the name of the debt collection company. In this case, the Eleventh Circuit reversed in part and affirmed in part the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's claims against Credit Control, alleging that Credit Control violated the FDCPA not only by failing to provide the required disclosures for initial communications with consumers, but also by failing to provide meaningful disclosure. View "Hart v. Credit Control, LLC" on Justia Law

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Cox Cable subscribers cannot access premium cable services unless they also rent a set-top box from Cox. A class of plaintiffs in Oklahoma City sued Cox under antitrust laws, alleging Cox had illegally tied cable services to set-top-box rentals in violation of section 1 of the Sherman Act, which prohibits illegal restraints of trade. Though a jury found that Plaintiffs had proved the necessary elements to establish a tying arrangement, the district court disagreed. In granting Cox’s Fed. R. Civ. P. 50(b) motion, the court determined that Plaintiffs had offered insufficient evidence for a jury to find that Cox’s tying arrangement "foreclosed a substantial volume of commerce in Oklahoma City to other sellers or potential sellers of set-top boxes in the market for set- top boxes." After careful consideration, the Tenth Circuit ultimately agreed with the district court and affirmed. View "Healy v. Cox Communications" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit against defendants, alleging willful violations of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003 (FACTA), 15 U.S.C. 1681c(g). Section 1681c(g) seeks to reduce the risk of identity theft by, among other things, prohibiting merchants from including more than the final five digits of a customer’s credit card number on a printed receipt. The Second Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's second amended complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The court held that the parties' factual disagreement as to whether printing the first six digits constituted a material risk of harm was a question of fact even at the Rule 12(b)(1) motion‐to‐dismiss stage, and so the court reviewed the district court's finding for clear error. On the basis of the record and plaintiffs' affirmative burden to establish subject matter jurisdiction by a preponderance of the evidence, and informed by the findings of other district courts as to this specific issue, the court concluded that the district court's findings were not clearly erroneous. The court held, however, that a complaint must be dismissed without prejudice where the dismissal was due to the court's lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Therefore, the court remanded so that the district court may amend the judgment and enter the dismissal without prejudice. View "Katz v. The Donna Karan Company, LLC" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s order dismissing with prejudice Plaintiff’s complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. Plaintiff, which operated commercial grain warehouses and elevators and owned trading businesses through Nebraska, filed a complaint alleging that several defendants engaged in a pattern of behavior with the intent to deprive it of information, an opportunity to be heard, and due process of law. The district court concluded that Defendants were entitled to immunity under Nebraska’s Consumer Protection Act and the Noerr-Pennington doctrine and that Plaintiff’s claims of conspiracy and aiding and abetting required an underlying tort to be actionable. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) Plaintiff failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted because Defendants were entitled to immunity under the Noerr-Pennington doctrine and Plaintiff alleged only underlying statutory violations; and (2) any amendment to Plaintiff’s petition would be futile. View "Salem Grain Co. v. Consolidated Grain & Barge Co." on Justia Law

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Action Auto Sales, Inc. ("AAS"), petitioned the Alabama Supreme Court for a writ of mandamus to direct the Clarke Circuit Court to vacate orders denying AAS' objection to L.M. Stewart and Cathy Cargile's notice of intent to serve subpoenas on nonparties Merchants Bank and accountant Eddie Nicholes and denying AAS's motion for a protective order. The underlying dispute arose out of Stewart and Cargile's purchase of an automobile, still encumbered by a security interest by AAS. AAS, a financing company, made loans to Pine City Motors, LLC; Pine City sold the vehicle to Steward and Cargile. Steward and Cargile alleged that after they took possession of the car, Pine City failed to satisfy its debt to AAS, and AAS or Pine City retained physical possession of the certificate of title for the vehicle. Thereafter, AAS sued Pine City, Stewart, and Cargile, requesting damages and a judgment directing Stewart and Cargile to return the vehicle to AAS. Stewart and Cargile filed a counterclaim against AAS and a cross-claim against Pine City. Pointing to various Alabama statutes, Stewart and Cargile asserted that their rights in the vehicle are superior to AAS's and that AAS or Pine City improperly retained possession of the certificate of title for the vehicle. Stewart and Cargile also demanded compensatory and punitive damages, asserting theories of negligence and wantonness and conspiracy between AAS and Pine City. The Supreme Court found Stewart and Cargile were not entitled to the discovery of the nonparties, and the trial court erred in not granting the motion for a protective order. The Court therefore granted AAS' petition and issued the writ. View "Ex parte Action Auto Sales, Inc." on Justia Law

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The City of Selma ("the City") filed a petition for a writ of mandamus requesting the Alabama Supreme Court direct the Dallas Circuit Court to enter a summary judgment in its favor, based on State-agent immunity, as to claims Gregory Pettaway filed against it. Pettaway financed the purchase of a 2006 Nissan Armada sport-utility vehicle. Subsequently, Santander Consumer USA, Inc. ("Santander"), took over the loan. Santander contracted with Par North America, Inc. ("Par"), to handle repossessions for it and that Par used Central Alabama Recovery Systems ("CARS") to carry out the actual repossessions. Early on November morning in 2010, two men from CARS came to Pettaway's residence and told him that they were there to repossess the vehicle. By the time Pettaway got dressed and walked outside, the men had already hooked the Armada up to the tow truck and lifted it. Pettaway objected and telephoned the Selma Police Department; Officer Jonathan Fank responded to the call. After Officer Fank told Pettaway that the repossession was a civil matter and that he could not do anything because the vehicle was already hooked up to the tow truck, Pettaway again called the Selma Police Department to ask that Officer Fank's supervisor come to the scene. Pettaway filed a complaint against Santander, Par, CARS, and the City, alleging conversion, negligence, wantonness, and trespass claims. Although he stated conversion, negligence, wantonness, and trespass claims, Pettaway admitted that his only complaint against the City was that the officers told the repossession men to take the vehicle. The City admitted that officers were called to the scene at Pettaway's request to keep the peace but denied the remaining allegations as to the actions of its officers, raising the affirmative defense of immunity. The City argued the trial court erred in denying its motion for a summary judgment: at the time of the incident that formed the basis for Pettaway's complaint, Officers Fank and Calhoun were performing discretionary functions within the line and scope of their law-enforcement duties and that, therefore, they would be entitled to State-agent immunity. The Supreme Court concluded the City established that it has a clear legal right to a summary judgment in its favor based on State-agent immunity. View "Ex parte The City of Selma." on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit reversed the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's complaint alleging that Gurstel violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), 15 U.S.C. 1692k(d), while collecting a consumer debt. The court held that plaintiff's brief did in fact challenge the district court's statute-of-limitations holding, and the district court should have focused on plaintiff's allegation and determined whether he plausibly alleged that Gurstel violated the FDCPA on that date. The court also held that plaintiff plausibly pleaded that Gurstel threatened to go to trial, but did not intend to proceed to trial when requesting the continuance, in violation of section 1692e(5), and the district court erred by dismissing plaintiff's claim that Gurstel's letter and discovery requests violated section 1692f(1). Accordingly, the court remanded for further proceedings. View "Demarais v. Gurstel Chargo, P.A." on Justia Law

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In 2011, Roppo suffered serious injuries in an auto accident with Block, who was insured by Travelers. Travelers and the attorneys it retained for Block disclosed only the limits of Block’s automobile liability policy; they did not disclose the existence of his additional umbrella policy. Roppo eventually learned of the umbrella policy and then settled the case. She brought a proposed class action, challenging the company’s alleged practice of not disclosing the existence of umbrella policies. The case was removed to federal court under the Class Action Fairness Act, 28 U.S.C. 1332(d). The district court denied Roppo’s motion to remand to state court but allowed her to file a second amended complaint, which added Block’s defense attorneys as defendants. Her third amended complaint added a cause of action under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, 18 U.S.C. 1962(c). The Seventh Circuit affirmed dismissal with prejudice the complaint’s 11 counts, finding that the district court had jurisdiction and that her complaint did not sufficiently state claims of fraudulent misrepresentation, negligent misrepresentation, and negligence under Illinois law, or violations of the Illinois Insurance Code and the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act. View "Roppo v. Travelers Commercial Insurance Co." on Justia Law