In an important new en banc opinion, the Fifth Circuit has abandoned its historic criteria for determining whether a contract relating to servicing oil or gas drilling on navigable waters is controlled by maritime law in favor of a “simpler, more straightforward test.” See In re Larry Doiron, Inc., 879 F.3d 568, 569 (5th Cir. Jan. 8, 2018).
Historically, courts in the Fifth Circuit applied a six-factor test to determine whether a contract is governed by maritime law. As articulated in Davis & Sons, Inc. v. Gulf Oil Corp., 919 F.2d 313 (5th Cir. 1990), this six factor approach considered: (1) what the contract provides; (2) the actual work done by the crew; (3) whether the crew was assigned to work on a vessel in navigable waters; (4) the extent to which the work being done related to the vessel’s mission; (5) the principal work of the injured worker; and (6) the work the injured worker was actually doing at the time of the injury. Id. at 316. Continue reading Fifth Circuit Announces New Test to Determine if Certain Contracts for Services on Navigable Waters Are Maritime
So how long does a Ninth Circuit civil appeal take? Using the most recent statistics from the Administrative Office of the United States Courts published in its Judicial Business 2017 report for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2017, the median time from notice of appeal to decision in the Ninth Circuit was 22.8 months (and that is just the median time–half the appeals take longer.) (See Table B-4A to the report.) The next slowest circuit—the Third Circuit—handles civil appeals in just about the same length of time: 22.3 months from notice of appeal to final decision. (The Third Circuit’s disposition time is puzzling because it is usually closer to the median.) The 2017 median time from notice of appeal to decision across all Circuits is 12.1 months.
The Ninth Circuit is the largest circuit geographically, and it remains the busiest, with 11,096 appeals filed in the year ending September 30, 2017. The next busiest circuit—the Fifth—had 7,099 appeals filed in the same period. Measured by matters terminated on the merits per active judge and per panel, however, the Ninth Circuit ranked third among the circuits for the year ending September 30, 2017, with 463 merits-based terminations per judge and 771 per panel. The circuit with the heaviest workload, using this same measurement, is the Eleventh Circuit, with 762 merits-based dispositions per judge and 904 per panel. The lowest terminations per active judge is DC Circuit, with 137 per judge, and 131 per panel.
Duane Morris’ San Francisco partner Paul Killion will be speaking October 14, 2017, at the inaugural Appellate Summit organized by the newly reconstituted California State Bar Litigation Section’s Committee on Appellate Courts.
Paul’s panel will address “When Things Go Wrong: Challenges and Strategies for Appeals from Jury Trials.” His co-panelists are California Court of Appeal Justice Kathleen Banke of the First District, Division One, and Syda Cogliati, Senior Appellate Research Attorney for the Sixth District. Paul is an appellate specialist certified by the California Board of Legal Specialization.
Duane Morris is a sponsor of the Appellate Summit.
For more information and to register, visit the California State Bar website.
We hear that question frequently. Using the most recent statistics from the Administrative Office of the United States Courts published in its Judicial Business 2016 report for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2016, the median time from Appellee’s brief to oral argument in civil appeals terminated on the merits in the Ninth Circuit is 16.5 months, and from notice of appeal to decision is 25.5 months (and that is just the median time–half the appeals take longer.) (See Table B-4A.) This is the slowest of the circuits. The next slowest circuit—the DC Circuit—handles civil appeals in 3.8 months from Appellee’s brief to oral argument, and 11.7 months from notice of appeal to decision.
The Ninth Circuit is the largest circuit geographically, and it remains the busiest, with 13,152 cases pending as of December 31, 2016. The next busiest circuit—the Fifth—had 5,252 cases pending as of the same date. But measured by matters terminated on the merits per active judge, the Ninth Circuit is very much in the middle of the circuits, with 488 merits-based terminations per judge through December 31, 2016. The circuit with the heaviest workload, using this same measurement, is the Eleventh Circuit, with 1,151 merits-based dispositions per judge. The lowest terminations per active judge is the DC Circuit, with 163.
The Administrative Office of the United States Courts released its 2014 federal court statistics this month and it reveals some interesting aspects of the Ninth Circuit’s workload. Not only is the Ninth Circuit the largest circuit geographically, it remains by far the busiest, with 13,868 cases pending in 2014. By contrast, the next busiest circuit—the Fifth—had 4,717 cases pending in 2014. Based on these caseload statistics, it is not surprising that appeals take longer in the Ninth Circuit than in the other Circuits. As the statistics indicate, the Ninth Circuit’s median time from Appellee’s brief to oral argument in civil appeals is 13.6 months, and from notice of appeal to decision is 21.3 months (and that is just the median time.) By contrast, the next slowest circuit—the DC Circuit—handles civil appeals in 5.5 months from Appellee’s brief to oral argument, and 12.7 months from NOA to decision.
Duane Morris is pleased to announce that partner Paul J. Killion of the firm’s San Francisco office will receive a Burton Award for Legal Achievement at a gala ceremony to be held on June 9, 2014, at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. This honor is given to only 30 authors selected from entries from the nation’s 1,000 largest law firms.
Killion was selected as a 2014 Distinguished Legal Writing Award winner for an article he wrote about how to use Internet sources in legal writing. “Warning: The Internet May Contain Traces of Nuts (Or, When and How to Cite to Internet Sources)” appeared in California Litigation: The Journal of the Litigation Section, State Bar of California, last spring.
Continue reading San Francisco Partner Paul Killion Receives National Legal Writing Award
California appellate courts continue to work through application of Reid v. Google (2010) 50 Cal.4th 512 to evidentiary objections raised in summary judgment proceedings. For those facing this issue—either in the trial court or on appeal—a new decision by Division Three of the Second District is a must read. (Tarle v. Kaiser Foundation Health Plan Inc. (2nd Dist., Div. 3, May 22, 2012 No. B224739) __Cal.App.4th__.)
Continue reading Don’t Wait Until Appeal To Respond To Your Opponent’s Evidentiary Objections
If you have ever run into a court clerk who seems set on making things difficult, take comfort in a December 14, 2011 decision issued by the California Court of Appeal for the Sixth District, Voit v. Superior Court of Santa Clara County, __Cal.App.4th__(December 14, 2011) (No. H037034). There, the clerk refused to accept for filing a request for appointment of counsel in a civil case submitted by an incarcerated and indigent individual. Four times Voit tried to get the Court to accept the filing and each time it was rejected for a claimed deficiency, the last few times with a note explaining that the court does not assign counsel for civil matters and requesting authority to the contrary.
Continue reading If You’ve Ever Encountered A Difficult Court Clerk, Here’s Your Case
Much has been written in the last year about California’s new Chief Justice, Tani Cantil-Sakauye, who was sworn in January 3, 2011 to replace Chief Justice Ron George.
Here are five interesting facts about California’s Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye that caught our eye:
Continue reading The New Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court