Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Civil Procedure Cases to be Argued Next Week before the Supreme Court

Several cases related to federal civil practice and procedure will be argued before the U.S. Supreme Court next Monday and Tuesday:

- Wachovia Bank v. Schmidt (04-1186): Former Wachovia Bank customer Schmidt sued the bank in South Carolina state court after the IRS determined that the investment strategy Wachovia had recommended was illegal. Wachovia, a North Carolina based company, removed the case to federal court based on diversity. Wachovia appealed an adverse decision on the merits to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. The Fourth Circuit dismissed the case altogether, holding that the S.C. federal court never had subject matter jurisdiction because Wachovia has branches in South Carolina, and therefore there was no diversity of citizenship between the parties.

- Buckeye Check Cashing v. Cardegna (04-1264): Cardegna received a loan from Buckeye Check Cashing but later alleged that they charged a rate in excess of the level permitted by Florida law. Ignoring an arbitration clause in the loan agreement, Cardegna initiated a class action lawsuit. Buckeye moved to compel arbitration under the clause but Cardegna responded that because the contract was void ab initio, the arbitration clause never became effective. The issue here is whether courts should be able to make this determination or whether an arbitrator should make this initial call.

- Will v. Hallock (04-1332): Hallock's claim under the Federal Tort Claims Act against the United States was subsequently dismissed after determining that the claim fell within one of the exceptions to the United States' waiver of sovereign immunity under the FTCA. Hallock then brought the same claim against the individual federal officers involved in the alleged wrongful seizure of her property. The officers argue that the FTCA's judgment bar provision, which prevents a plaintiff from suing multiple times on the same FTCA claim, should bar the suit against them.

Full summaries of these cases can be viewed by visiting Cornell's LII website.


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