Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

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The FTC and the State of North Dakota moved to enjoin Sanford Bismarck's acquisition of Mid Dakota, alleging that the merger violated section 7 of the Clayton Act. The district court determined that plaintiffs would likely succeed in showing the acquisition would substantially lessen competition in four types of physician services in the Bismarck-Mandan area. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of a preliminary injunction, holding that the district court did not improperly shift the ultimate burden of persuasion to defendants and properly followed the analytical framework in U.S. v. Baker Hughes, Inc., 908 F.ed 981 (D.C. Cir. 1990); the district court did not clearly err in defining the relevant market; and the district court's finding on merger-specific efficiencies was not clear error. View "Federal Trade Commission v. Sanford Health" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's denial, on remand, of Qwest's unjust enrichment claim against FC. The court held that the district court did not abuse its discretion by concluding that it would not be inequitable for FC to retain the benefit conferred by Qwest. In this case, the district court explained that FC earned the benefit conferred by Qwest because it provided conference-calling services, 24-hour customer support, and access to a website in exchange for two cents per minute for calls placed to FC's conferencing bridges at Sancom. Furthermore, Qwest paid its own conference-calling vendor between two and four-and-a-half cents per minute. View "Qwest Communications Corp. v. Free Conferencing Corp." on Justia Law

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This appeal stemmed from a dispute over a business deal between Management Registry, a large Kentucky staffing company, and a smaller staffing company it acquired under the brand "AllStaff." Some of the participants then formed a rival company, A.W. Companies. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the denial of preliminary injunctive relief to Management Registry and held that the district court did not abuse its discretion by determining that Management Registry had not met its burden of showing irreparable harm. Rather, Management Registry presented evidence suggesting the opposite: that an award of money damages would fully compensate it because its losses were quantifiable. Furthermore, Management Registry also failed to establish that it was likely to succeed on the merits of the ten claims it raised. View "Management Registry, Inc. v. A.W. Companies, Inc." on Justia Law

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COR, a securities clearing and settlement firm, filed suit against Calissio seeking to recover losses resulting from a dividend transaction that it has not already recovered in other proceedings. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment dismissing all claims against SST (the transfer agent) and the Broker Defendants. The court held that the transfer agent had no knowledge of a misrepresentation in the use of a seemingly appropriate "CUSIP" number for additional shares of the same class as existing shares and the transfer agent reasonably relied on attorney opinion letters in issuing the new shares. Furthermore, COR failed to show it reasonably relied on the transfer agent's alleged misrepresentation. Accordingly, the transfer agent was entitled to judgment on plaintiff's fraudulent misrepresentation claims. The court also held that the district court properly dismissed claims against the Broker Defendants. In this case, COR has no conversion claim against the Broker Defendants, who simply acted as pass-through agents of the buyers in receiving and distributing due bill credits. Likewise, COR's unjust enrichment claim failed because the Broker Defendants received due bill credits from DTC for the benefit of their account holders and passed the benefit to their account holders without delay. View "COR Clearing, LLC v. Calissio Resources Group, Inc." on Justia Law

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The receiver filed suit against Associated Bank, which provided banking services to some of the scammers' entities, accusing the bank of aiding and abetting the Ponzi scheme. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's conclusion that there was insufficient evidence to reasonably infer the bank knew about and assisted the scammers' tortious conduct. The court held that a conclusion that the bank aided and abetted the Ponzi scheme could only be reached through considerable conjecture and speculation. In this case, the receiver failed to show that the bank had actual or constructive knowledge of the fraud or that it provided substantial assistance to the tortious conduct. View "Zayed v. Associated Bank, N.A." on Justia Law

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A group of landowners filed suit against Dakota Access, alleging that they were induced to sign easement contracts allowing construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline across their properties based on various misrepresentations made by Dakota Access and its contracting affiliate CLS. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of the complaint, holding that plaintiffs' claim under North Dakota law sounded in fraud, and all plaintiffs' claims were thus governed by the heightened pleading standard of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 9(b). In this case, the complaint failed to plead such facts as the time, place, and content of defendant's false representations, as well as the details of defendant's fraudulent acts, including when the acts occurred, who engaged in them, and what was obtained as a result. View "Olin v. Dakota Access, LLC" on Justia Law

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SMRI filed suit alleging that defendants, through their participation in the selling of Rushmore's unlicensed motorcycle rally-related products, had violated several provisions of the Lanham Act and related South Dakota statutes. The Eighth Circuit held that the district court did not err in declining to apply licensee estoppel against defendants; the trial record did not support a finding that SMRI owned the rally or its intellectual property, that SMRI and the Chamber before it have been the substantially exclusive users of the word "Sturgis" in relation to either the rally or rally-related goods and services, or that relevant consumers associate the word "Sturgis" with a single source of goods and services in any context; and thus the court reversed the jury's finding that defendants diluted the "Sturgis" mark and vacated the jury's finding that defendants engaged in cybersquatting. The court also held that defendants should have been granted judgment as a matter of law on the infringement claims relating to SMRI's unregistered marks, "Sturgis Motorcycle Rally" and "Sturgis Rally & Races," because the jury was not presented with sufficient evidence to find that the marks had acquired secondary meaning. Finally, the evidence at trial supported the jury's finding that SMRI's mark "Sturgis Bike Week" was valid; there was sufficient evidence to show that SMRI's "Monahan Composite Mark" was widely used in connection with the rally and that defendants' infringement of the mark was willful and intentional; the differences between the shot glass's design and the Monahan mark were so obvious that the jury did not have any basis in the record for its finding of a counterfeit; SMRI's claims for deceptive practices, false advertising and unfair competition were not time-barred; the district court did not err in granting judgment as a matter of law to JRE; the court vacated the district court's order granting defendants the defenses of laches and acquiescence; and the court reversed and remanded the permanent injunction. View "Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, Inc. v. Rushmore Photo & Gifts, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of defendant's motion for summary judgment for defendant in an action alleging that defendant's actions created "significant duress" that forced her to sell her minority interests in Progressive Swine Technologies. The court held that plaintiff failed to prove actionable economic duress under Nebraska law; the Unit Purchase Agreement was not unconscionable as a matter of law, and the district court properly determined that plaintiff failed to show a fraudulent misrepresentation on which she relied in entering into the Unit Purchase Agreement; and because plaintiff did not enter into the Agreement as the result of actionable economic duress, and the Agreement was not the result of fraudulent inducement, the Agreement's mutual release provision barred plaintiff's other claims, including a claim that defendant breached his fiduciary duty to a minority shareholder and a claim that defendant had previously deprived plaintiff of a corporate opportunity. View "Rasby v. Pillen" on Justia Law

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FC appealed the district court's judgment in favor of Qwest, finding FC was liable for tortious interference with Qwest's contractual relationship with Tekstar. The Eighth Circuit held that the district court did not err in finding that FC caused Tekstar to breach its tariff with Qwest; the breach was material; FC's justification defense was rejected where the district court did not clearly err in finding that, prior to contracting with Tekstar, FC was on notice that it was not an end user and that Tekstar would violate its tariff by charging Qwest tariff rates for FC’s traffic; the district court's conclusion was not precluded by collateral estoppel; the district court did not clearly err in finding that the nearly $1 million Qwest paid to AT&T and other long-distance carriers to route FC's traffic flowed directly from FC's tortious interference; and there was no error in the district court's award of attorney's fees to Qwest. View "Qwest Communications Co. v. Free Conferencing Corp." on Justia Law

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Six siblings dispute over ownership and control of OKISDA, a family corporation their mother established. The district court concluded that nearly all the claims hinge on whether the transfer of Class A stock from the mother's trust to defendant was valid. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment to defendants and dismissal of all the claims. The court held that transfer of two Class A shares did not violate the transfer restriction of OKISDA's bylaws. Furthermore, the validity of the stock transfer established that plaintiffs' other claims were foreclosed. View "Rains v. Jones" on Justia Law