Monday, November 05, 2007

SCOTUS Denies Cert in Three Civil Procedure Cases

Today the U.S. Supreme Court denied review in three cases raising civil procedure issues:

Kirkland v. Tamplin:

Summary of Ruling Below--
Plaintiff may not prosecute identical actions against same defendants in different courts at same time, and thus trial court properly granted defendants' motion to dismiss because plaintiff had filed complaint in different county, making same allegations against same defendants, 74 minutes before he filed present action; trial court did not abuse its discretion when it denied plaintiff's motions to recuse trial judges, because, upon reviewing record, there is no evidence of prejudice, bias, or improper conduct on part of judges.

Questions Presented--
(1) Did courts below violate petitioner's due process and equal protection rights in their rulings on what constitutes simultaneous filing of two civil complaints? (2) Did courts below violate petitioner's due process and equal protection rights in their rulings on recusals of trial level judges?

Cavins v. Nat'l Union Fire Ins. Co.

Summary of Ruling Below--Notice of appeal whose caption states "Bill G. Cavins, et al.," and that states twice in body of filing that appellants are Bill Cavins and Colorado Casualty, does not make it objectively clear that two other, unnamed parties were also intended to be named as appellants, and thus, absent other documents, filed before deadline for noting appeal, indicating that such additional parties sought to appeal, court has no jurisdiction over appeal purportedly filed by such parties.

Question Presented--Did court of appeals err in holding that petitioners were not properly parties to appeal underlying this petition for writ of certiorari even though Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure allow counsel representing more than one party to use generic designations, such as "et al.," in caption or body of timely filed notice of appeal?

Pittman v. Dolton Police Dep't:

Summary of Ruling Below--Order granting civil rights defendants' motion to enforce oral settlement agreement, under which plaintiff agreed to accept $10,000 to dismiss lawsuit alleging unlawful search and seizure by police, is affirmed.

Questions Presented--(1) Does federal district court have inherent subject matter jurisdiction to hear defendant's motion to enforce settlement agreements? (2) Did federal district court abuse its discretion when it enforced settlement agreement without subject matter jurisdiction and dismissed case with prejudice? (3) Does federal district court have ancillary jurisdiction to enforce settlement agreement without other independent grounds for federal court jurisdiction to enforce settlement agreement?


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