Articles Posted in U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals

by
Plaintiffs filed a class-action lawsuit in state court, alleging that the defendants had conducted non-judicial foreclosure sales that did not comply with Utah law. After removal, the district court dismissed the complaint for failure to state a claim, concluding that whether federal law “incorporates Utah or Texas law, Recon[Trust] had not operated beyond the law by acting as a foreclosure trustee in Utah.” On the limited record presented on appeal, the Tenth Circuit concluded that the district court erred in determining it had jurisdiction to hear this case. View "Dutcher, et al v. Matheson, et al" on Justia Law

by
Investors in Thornburg Mortgage, Inc. brought a class action against the mortgage originator alleging violations of the Securities Act based on omissions and misrepresentations in the stock offering documents. The district court dismissed on the grounds that it found no omissions or misrepresentations in the offering documents, and if there were, they were not material. Plaintiffs broadly challenged all of the district court's holdings. Finding no error in the district court's ruling, the Tenth Circuit affirmed. View "Slater v. AG Edwards & Sons, Inc." on Justia Law

by
Defendant-Appellant XTO Energy, Inc. appealed a district court's certification of a class of Kansas royalty owners who sought recovery for its alleged underpayment of royalties. Specifically, the class claimed XTO violated Kansas law by improperly deducting costs for placing gas into a "marketable condition." After careful consideration, the Tenth Circuit concluded that the class did not meet Rule 23(a)'s commonality, typicality and adequacy requirements or Rule 23(b)(3)'s predominance requirement. Furthermore, the Court found the class' argument in favor of certification through collateral or judicial estoppel unavailing. The class certification order was vacated and the matter remanded for further proceedings. View "Wallace B. Roderick Revocable Trust v. XTO Energy" on Justia Law

by
Plaintiffs Ronica Tabor and Dacia Gray worked as inside salespeople for Hilti, Inc and Hilti of North America, Inc. After being denied promotions to Account Managers (outside sales), they each filed individual claims for gender discrimination under Title VII and moved to certify a class of all female inside salespersons at Hilti who were denied similar promotions. The district court refused to certify the class and granted summary judgment in favor of Hilti on all claims. Upon review, the Tenth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment as to Tabor's claim for retaliation, and Gray's claim for failure to promote. The Court also affirmed the refusal to certify a class. However, the Tenth Circuit reversed the district court with respect to Tabor's individual claims for failure to promote and disparate impact, and remanded Gray's individual disparate impact claim because the district court did not address that claim in its opinion. View "Tabor, et al v. Hilti, Inc., et al" on Justia Law

by
Plaintiffs Gayen Hancock, David Cross, Montez Mutzig, and James Bollinger sought to represent a class of customers dissatisfied with "U-verse," a digital telecommunications service offered by Defendants AT&T and several of its subsidiaries. The Oklahoma federal district court dismissed their claims based on forum selection and arbitration clauses in the U-verse terms of service. Plaintiffs appealed the dismissal of their claims. Finding no error in the district court's interpretation of the terms of service, and finding no abuse of the court's discretion, the Tenth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of Plaintiffs' claims. View "Hancock v. American Telephone & Telegraph Company, Inc." on Justia Law

by
This case arose out of the Boeing Company’s 2005 sale, to Spirit AeroSystems, Inc. of facilities in Wichita, Kansas, and Tulsa and McAlester, Oklahoma. Boeing terminated the Division's entire workforce of more than 10,000. The next day, Spirit rehired 8,354 employees, who had been selected by Boeing’s managers. Although older employees predominated in the workforce both before and after the sale, a lower percentage of older workers than younger ones were rehired. The plaintiffs sued, seeking to be declared a class of about 700 former Boeing employees who were not hired by Spirit. The Employees alleged, among other things, that Boeing, Onex, and Spirit violated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). In two separate orders, the district court granted summary judgment on the Employees’ Title VII and ADA claims, and their ERISA and ADEA claims. The court denied the Employees’ motion for reconsideration. Upon review of the Employees' claims on appeal, the Tenth Circuit found no error in the district court's judgment and affirmed the grant of summary judgment. View "Apsley v. Boeing Co." on Justia Law

by
The plaintiffs filed this action against Cox Enterprises, Inc., on behalf of themselves as well as a putative class consisting of all persons in the United States who subscribe to Cox for so-called premium cable and who paid Cox a monthly rental fee for the accompanying set-up box. In order to receive full access to Cox’s premium cable services the plaintiffs had to rent the set-up box from Cox. The plaintiffs alleged that this constituted an illegal tie-in in violation of the Sherman Act. The case came before the Tenth Circuit on the district court's denial of their request for class certification. Upon review of the materials filed with the Court and the applicable law, the Tenth Circuit concluded the case was not appropriate for immediate review, and denied plaintiffs' request. View "Gelder, et al v. CoxCom Inc., et al" on Justia Law

by
Plaintiff-Appellee Larry Frederick brought a putative class action suit against Hartford Underwriters Insurance Company (Hartford) in Colorado state court; Hartford removed the case to federal court. Looking to the face of Plaintiff’s complaint, the district court concluded that the amount in controversy did not exceed $5,000,000 (which was required for federal jurisdiction under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA)). Accordingly, the district court remanded the case to state court. In reaching its decision, the district court acknowledged that the Tenth Circuit had not defined the burden a defendant must carry to prevent a remand in a CAFA suit. Faced with this question, the Tenth Circuit held that a defendant in these circumstances is entitled to present his own estimate of the amount at stake and must show by a preponderance of the evidence that the amount in controversy exceeds the amount in 28 U.S.C. 1332(d)(2) (currently $5,000,000). The Court emphasized that the preponderance standard applies to punitive damages as well, and that such damages cannot be assumed when calculating the amount in controversy. Accordingly, the Court reversed the district court and remanded the case for further proceedings. View "Frederick v. Hartford" on Justia Law

by
Plaintiff-Appellant Arrienne Mae Winzler brought state law claims against Defendant-Appellee Toyota Motor Sales USA, Inc. (Toyota) on behalf of a proposed nationwide class of 2006 Toyota Corolla and Toyota Corolla Matrix owners and lessees. She alleged that the cars harbored defective "Engine Control Modules" ("ECMs"), making them prone to stall without warning. As relief, she asked for an order requiring Toyota to notify all relevant owners of the defect and then to create and coordinate an equitable fund to pay for repairs. Before addressing whether Plaintiff's class should be certified, the district court held her complaint failed to state a claim and dismissed it under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). As Plaintiff began her appeal, Toyota announced a nationwide recall of 2005-2008 Toyota Corolla and Corolla Matrix cars to fix their ECMs. Arguing that these statutory and regulatory processes were exactly the relief sought in Plaintiff's complaint, Toyota asked the Tenth Circuit to find that its recall rendered Plaintiff's case moot. "Because prudential mootness is arguably the narrowest of the many bases Toyota has suggested for dismissal, and because it is sufficient to that task, [the Court has] no need to discuss any of Toyota's other arguments for the same result." The Court vacated the district court's judgment and remanded the case with instructions to dismiss the case as moot. View "Winzler v. Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc" on Justia Law

by
Pro se prisoner Plaintiff-Appellant Calvin Barnett filed a complaint under 42 U.S.C. 1983 charging certain corporate owners and employees of the Davis Correctional Facility (DCF), a private prison in Holdenville, Oklahoma, of violating his constitutional rights. Plaintiff alleged that the prison knew of danger to two inmates, Defendant and his cell mate, "apparently as a result of conflict and likely violence between them." Plaintiff contended he told Defendants that he feared for his life, but they did nothing to protect the two from one another. This failure lead to the cell mate's death; Plaintiff was transferred from DCF and charged with first degree murder. In response to Defendants' motion to dismiss, the district court dismissed Plaintiff's complaint as time barred under the applicable statute of limitations. Plaintiff appealed. Upon review, the Tenth Circuit found that the district court was correct in dismissing the case: "[w]hen a complaint shows on its face that the applicable statute of limitations has expired, dismissal for failure to state a claim is appropriate." The Court affirmed the district court's judgment. View "Barnett v. Correction Corp. of America, et al" on Justia Law