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Proskauer’s perspective on developments and trends in commercial litigation.

Category Archives: Appellate

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Venezuela Mines for a Reversal in Federal Appeals Court

Venezuela is taking its fight over a $1.4 billion arbitral award to the District of Columbia’s federal court of appeals. The award capped a bitter dispute between Venezuela and Crystallex International Corporation, a Canadian mining company. The fight began in 2002, when Crystallex acquired the rights to develop the Las Cristinas gold deposits in Venezuela. … Continue Reading

Standing in the Shoes of a Suspended Corporation under California Law

A California Court of Appeal recently provided a reminder that under Code of Civil Procedure § 368, assignment of a right to recover money or other personal property (“a thing in action”) is subject to any defense existing at or before notice of the assignment, including defenses regarding the assignor’s corporate status. Thus, an assignee … Continue Reading

First Department Finds Work-Product Protection Not Waived by Storage of Documents on Company Laptop

On June 6, 2017, the First Department had an opportunity to apply—and reaffirm—last month’s decision in Peerenboom v. Marvel Entm’t, LLC, where the Court held that use of a company email system for personal purposes “does not, standing alone, constitute a waiver of attorney work product protections” even if the user lacked reasonable assurance of … Continue Reading

Arbitration Clauses Extending to Non-Signatory Affiliates: Are They Enforceable?

A recent decision of the New Jersey Appellate Division considered the enforceability of arbitration agreements by non-signatories. In Foti v. Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc., the plaintiff filed a putative class action complaint against defendant alleging violations of New Jersey’s Truth-In-Consumer Contract, Warranty and Notice Act (“TCCWNA”), as well as the state’s Lemon Law (N.J.S.A. … Continue Reading

Recent Decisions Clarify (Un)Enforceability of Class Action Waivers in Employment Agreements

Companies looking to waive class action rights of employees may instead be waving goodbye to provisions in their employment contracts. Two recent decisions in California—one administrative and one in the 9th Circuit—recently found that class action waivers in employment contracts were unenforceable as a matter of law and public policy, resulting in the removal of … Continue Reading

Case Halted: California Court Denies Class Certification in Ford Defective Steering Case

On December 22, 2016, a federal District Court Judge in the Northern District of California denied certification of three proposed classes of statewide consumers who purchased or leased certain Ford Fusion or Ford Focus vehicles. The plaintiffs allege that their vehicles contain defective Electronic Power Assisted Steering (“EPAS”) systems prone to sudden and premature failure … Continue Reading

Kazakhstan Ordered to Pay $506 Million for Crude Expropriation of Oil and Gas Investments

In a case that highlights both that governments are not above the rule of law and that it is difficult to swiftly enforce arbitral awards, a Swedish appeals court, on December 12, 2016, upheld a $506 million award against Kazakhstan. The award stems from Kazakhstan’s 2008 seizure of the oil and gas investments of two … Continue Reading

California UCL Standing Requirement — On This You Can Rely

The California Court of Appeal recently confirmed, in case there was any doubt, that plaintiffs must allege (and ultimately prove) actual reliance to adequately state a fraudulent prong Unfair Competition Law claim (Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code 17200). In Goonewardene v. ADP, LLC, the plaintiff brought a variety of claims related to her alleged wrongful termination, both against … Continue Reading

Key Lessons From the Recent Precedential Order by Federal Circuit – Jurisdiction, Mandamus, and Privilege

On November 17, 2016, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit published a precedential order denying a petition for a writ of mandamus to overturn a district court’s determination. In In re: Rearden LLC, Rearden MOVA LLC, MO2, LLC, MOVA, LLC, the defendants in the underlying case had petitioned for a writ … Continue Reading

NY Court of Appeals Finds Personal Jurisdiction Based on Use of NY Correspondent Bank Accounts

A sharply divided New York Court of Appeals recently held that defendants who allegedly made intentional and repeated use of New York correspondent bank accounts for money laundering thereby purposefully transacted business related to the plaintiffs’ claims, and thus were subject to the personal jurisdiction of the New York courts. According to the three-judge dissent, … Continue Reading

Second Circuit Finds Use of “Who’s on First” Routine Not to Be Fair Use

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, in a unanimous 3-0 ruling, decided that a Broadway play’s verbatim performance of a full minute from the iconic Abbott and Costello routine, “Who’s on First,” in a scene between an introverted, small-town boy and his demonic sock puppet, was not transformative or otherwise fair use … Continue Reading

It’s Not an Illusion! DISH Not Required to Give Credit When Channels Go Dark

Expanded Basic. Choice. Choice Plus. Cable and satellite TV customers pay monthly fees for bundled channel packages of different sizes. The packages are becoming “skinnier,” allowing you to customize your service from a set of modules (i.e., the Family package, the Sports package, various language packages, etc.). But each module is still a pre-set bundle … Continue Reading

The Eighth Circuit Extinguishes Claims of Continuing Conduct in Propane Tank Conspiracy

Before plaintiffs could light the pilot on antitrust claims against two propane tank distributors, a split Eighth Circuit panel cut the gas. In doing so, the majority espoused a narrow view of the applicability of the continuing violations theory in antitrust litigation. In 2014, following an FTC administrative complaint, class plaintiffs brought suit against defendant … Continue Reading

A Sovereign Thumb on the Scale – Appeals Court Defers to China’s Interpretation of its Own Laws to Dismiss Antitrust Suit

The Second Circuit recently set aside a $147 million verdict against two Chinese companies accused of conspiring to fix the price and supply of vitamin C sold to U.S. buyers. In re Vitamin C Antitrust Litigation. The panel held that the complaint should have been dismissed after the Chinese government submitted an amicus curiae brief … Continue Reading

Slapped Down: California Supreme Court Rules Anti-SLAPP Law Applies to Mixed Causes of Action

In Baral v. Schnitt, the California Supreme Court addressed a question that has divided California appellate courts for more than a decade: whether a special motion to strike under California’s anti-SLAPP statute (C.C.P. 425.16) can be granted with respect to a “mixed cause of action” that combines allegations concerning both protected conduct, i.e., the rights … Continue Reading

Of “Lunch Stands and Merry-Go-Rounds”: Ninth Circuit Rejects FTC Authority Over Broadband Providers

In late August 2016, a Ninth Circuit panel unanimously held that the FTC has no power to challenge “throttling” of unlimited data plan customers by mobile broadband providers as an “unfair or deceptive act.” The panel found that a core source of FTC authority (Section 5 of the FTC Act) does not apply to any “common … Continue Reading

CA Corps Not Obligated to Make Records Available for Inspection in California

The California Court of Appeal recently ruled that an inspection demand under California Corporations Code section 1601 requires a corporation to make its books and records available for inspection at an office where they normally are kept, rather than at an office in California. Innes v. Diablo Controls, Inc.. Section 1601, likely familiar to most … Continue Reading

SCOTUS Puts an End to Ecuador’s Appeal of $96 Million Arbitration Award in Favor of Chevron

A long-running dispute between Chevron and Ecuador appears to have reached its end after the Supreme Court declined to take up Ecuador’s question of whether United States courts had jurisdiction to confirm a $96 million arbitration award in favor of Chevron. The case arose out of a decades-long contractual dispute between Ecuador and Texaco Petroleum. In … Continue Reading

Is a Third Party Entitled to its E-Discovery and Attorney Costs for Responding to a Subpoena?

Although e-discovery has been part of complex commercial litigation for over a decade, there have been only a few federal appellate court rulings about e-discovery topics. On April 7, 2016, in In re Am. Nurses Ass’n, the Fourth Circuit became the latest appellate court to issue such a ruling. The Court upheld a district court’s … Continue Reading

New Word Limits for Federal Appellate Briefs: How Low is Too Low?

Several amendments to the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure are scheduled to take effect on December 1, and one of those amendments is causing consternation among appellate practitioners: a 1000-word reduction in the word limit for principal briefs, along with a 500-word reduction for reply briefs. Since 1998, the Rules have allotted parties 14,000 words for … Continue Reading

New York’s Highest Court Refuses to Expand the Common Interest Doctrine to Merging Parties

Last Thursday, the New York Court of Appeals issued a stark reminder to transactional lawyers: no matter how much “common interest” two parties may have with respect to a transaction, the common interest doctrine may not protect their communications. In Ambac Assurance Corp. v. Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., New York’s highest court held, in a … Continue Reading

Standardized E-Filing: The Appealing New Feature of California Appellate Courts

Consistent filing and service procedures will become less of an oxymoron in California – especially for those legal practitioners who appear in the state’s appellate courts. E-filing is currently not mandatory in most cases in appellate courts, but soon will be uniformly required, except for pro-se litigants. The State’s trial courts, California Superior Courts, can … Continue Reading
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