“Top Five” opinions from the 1st third of 2012

From the first third of 2012, here are 5 commercial litigation cases from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit worth knowing:

1. Unenforceable arbitration clause. A clause in an employee manual, which could be amended by giving appropriate notice, was illusory and not enforceable.  Carey v. 24 Hour Fitness, 669 F.3d 202 (5th Cir. 2012).

2. Personal jurisdiction. The defendant’s 55 transactions in Mississippi were not sufficiently related to the claim to create personal jurisdiction. This was the Circuit’s first jurisdiction case since two major Supreme Court cases in 2011.  ITL International, Inc. v. Sonstenla, S.A., 669 F.3d 493 (5th Cir. 2012).

3. Sufficient causation evidence. A thorough opinion finds that expert testimony was not needed in a personal injury case, but even then, the evidence of causation was not sufficient.  Huffman v. Union Pacific Railroad, 675 F.3d 412 (5th Cir. 2012).

4. Business Torts Damages 101. The defendants’ acts were not actionable in fraud, did not amount to fraudulent inducement, but did support liability for misappropriation of trade secrets.  Bohnsack v. Varco, 668 F.3d 262 (5th Cir. 2012).

5. Statute of Frauds 101. Sufficient evidence to satisfy the Statute of Frauds is different than what may establish contract liability.  Preston Exploration Co. v. GSF, LLC, 669 F.3d 518 (5th Cir. 2012).


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