December 10, 2017

Archives for August 24, 2012

Finalists Selected to Fill Eleventh Judicial District Court Judgeship

On Friday, August 24, 2012, the Eleventh Judicial District Nominating Commission has nominated three candidates for a district court judgeship created by the retirement of the Honorable Julie G. Marshall on January 8, 2013.

The nominees for the bench are Brenda Jackson of Canon City, Patrick Murphy of Salida, and Lynette Wenner of Cotopaxi. All were selected by the commission on August 23.

Under the Colorado Constitution, Governor Hickenlooper has until September 8 to appoint one of the nominees as District Court Judge for the Eleventh Judicial District, which covers Chaffee, Custer, Fremont, and Park counties.

Comments regarding any of the nominees may be sent via e-mail to the governor at judicial.appointments@state.co.us.

Tenth Circuit: Unpublished Opinions, 8/23/12

On Thursday, August 23, 2012, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued no published opinions and seven unpublished opinions.

United States v. Castaneda

Murray v. United States

Huaqiang Leo v. United States District Court of Kansas

Varela-Cardoza v. Holder, Jr.

Lopez v. Holder, Jr.

Bryan v. Peters

Park v. TD Ameritrade Trust Comp, Inc.

No case summaries are provided for unpublished opinions. However, published opinions are summarized and provided by Legal Connection.

Tenth Circuit: Dismissal of Declaratory Judgment Action Affirmed Due to Lack of Federal-Question Jurisdiction

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals published its opinion in Devon Energy Production Co. v. Mosiac Potash Carlsbad, Inc. on Wednesday, August 22, 2012.

Plaintiff-Appellant Devon Energy Production Company, (“Devon”), an oil and gas production company, appealed the judgment of the United States District Court for the District of New Mexico, which dismissed Devon’s declaratory-judgment action against Defendant-Appellee Mosaic Potash Carlsbad, Inc. (“Mosaic”), a potash mining company, for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Devon sought a declaratory judgment that federal law preempted Mosaic’s anticipated state-law claims emanating from Devon’s unauthorized drilling in a federally managed area of New Mexico, and that the only remedies available to Mosaic were derived from the federal administrative and judicial remedies of the Administrative Procedure Act (“APA”) and certain regulatory provisions of the U.S. Department of the Interior. The district court concluded there was no federal-question jurisdiction to support Devon’s action and dismissed its complaint, and subsequently denied Devon’s motion to alter or amend the judgment under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e). The Tenth Circuit affirmed.

To invoke federal-question jurisdiction, Devon had to show that at least one of two exceptions to the well-pleaded complaint rule was applicable—either (1) that Mosaic’s state-law claims were completely preempted, or (2) there was a substantial federal-law question embedded in Mosaic’s state-law claims.

Devon argued that federal jurisdiction was appropriate because Mosaic’s claims were completely preempted by the interplay betweeen the Mineral Leasing Act and the APA. Mosaic argued that there could not be complete preemption because no federal statute provided the foundation for preemption.

Complete preemption demands a two-part analysis: first, the Court asks whether the federal regulation at issue preempts the state law relied on by the plaintiff; and second, whether Congress intended to allow removal in such a case, as manifested by the provision of a federal cause of action to enforce the federal regulation. Courts should begin their inquiry with the second prong. The 10th Circuit held that the district court properly applied the second prong of complete-preemption test when it dismissed Devon’s complaint on the ground that the lack of a substitute federal remedy precluded a finding of complete preemption.

Devon also contended that even if the Court had not found that Mosaic’s claims were completely preempted, federal-question jurisdiction should still attach because of substantial and disputed federal issues that were embedded in Mosaic’s state-law claims.

The appropriate jurisdictional test is set forth in Grable & Sons —namely, whether the state-law claims raise a stated federal issue, which a federal forum may entertain without disturbing any congressionally approved balance of federal and state judicial responsibilities. Grable & Sons held that ordinarily, federal-question jurisdiction is invoked by plaintiffs pleading a cause of action created by federal law.

The Court concluded that there was no actual dispute over the meaning of the federal law such that Devon’s claims could be be said to arise under federal law, and that at most they provided a federal defense to Mosaic’s state-law causes of action. Accordingly, the Court held that Grable & Sons did not provide Devon the basis to proceed in federal court.

Devon’s final claim was that the district court erred in denying its Rule 59(e) motion because Devon presented new evidence to the district court.

Where a party seeks Rule 59(e) relief to submit additional evidence, the movant must show either that the evidence was newly discovered, or if the evidence was available at the time of the decision being challenged, that counsel made a diligent yet unsuccessful effort to discover the evidence. Although Devon pointed to a number of specific facts that it claimed could not have been anticipated by the district court, it did not adequately explain why this evidence should have undermined the 10th Circuit’s confidence in the district court’s determination. The district court’s dismissal of Devon’s complaint and its order denying Devon’s Rule 59(e) motion were therefore affirmed.

Tenth Circuit: Unpublished Opinions, 8/22/12

On Wednesday, August 22, 2012, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued one published opinion and six unpublished opinions.

Shust v. Wal-Mart Stores

United States v. Kemble

United States v. Frater

Butler v. City of Arvada, Colorado

United States v. Simons

United States v. Butler

No case summaries are provided for unpublished opinions. However, published opinions are summarized and provided by Legal Connection.