In the case’s second trip to the Fifth Circuit, the Court considered whether – after an earlier remand for “limited discovery” on jurisdictional facts related to the contract-making authority of the Mexican consulate – the district court erred by reconsidering its earlier substantive ruling about the basis for subject matter jurisdiction. Blake Box v. Dallas Mexican Consultate General, Nos. 14-10744 & 14-10954 (Aug. 19, 2015, unpublished).
Reviewing both the law-of-the case doctrine and the “mandate rule,” the Court found error and reversed: “[W]hether the Consulate [o]fficials had authority from the Mexican government to form a joint venture is a separate question from whether they exercised that authority in their dealings with [plaintiff]. Simply put, here, the first question was answered by the district court on remand in Box I and the second question was defaulted by the Consulate” when it failed to answer after service. Accordingly, a $3 million default judgment was reinstated. Congratulations to my LTPC colleagues Jason Dennis and Sam Hardy on this win!