SCOTUS Keeps Door Open for Federal-Law, State-Court Securities Class Actions.  Where Does This Leave Katz?

In Cyan, Inc. v. Beaver County Employees Retirement Fund, No. 15-1439 (Mar. 20, 2018), the Supreme Court recently held that certain federal securities-law claims could proceed in state courts—despite the narrowing effect of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act (PSLRA) and the Securities Litigation Uniform Standards Act (SLUSA)—and that those claims were not removable to federal court under SLUSA’s removal provision.  But Cyan leaves intact (for now, at least) Seventh Circuit law on the removal of 1933 Act claims under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA).

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Seventh Circuit Records First Video of Oral Argument

Those who follow the workings of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit are no doubt accustomed to visiting the court’s website (http://www.ca7.uscourts.gov) to read the daily release of published opinions or to listen to the court’s audio recordings of oral arguments. The former are available here; the latter are available here and normally are posted in the afternoon, a few hours after that morning’s oral arguments.

Court watchers now have a new option available from the Seventh Circuit: video of certain oral arguments. The court reviewed the practices of other courts around the country that video-recorded their oral arguments, and, on May 1, 2018, it adopted Operating Procedure 11, which allows for a “request for video-recording” to “be submitted to the Clerk of the Court not later than one week before oral argument.” The Operating Procedure further provides an opportunity for the parties to object and leaves the decision in the “sole discretion” of the argument panel. (The Operating Procedure notes that “[t]he panel will normally deny the request if one member objects.”)

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Seventh Circuit Requires a Defendant Seeking Removal To Establish the Plaintiffs’ Article III Standing

Collier v. SP Plus Corp., a recent decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, presented the “unusual circumstance” where both the plaintiffs and the defendant argued that the plaintiffs lacked standing to sue under Article III. No. 17-2431 (7th Cir. May 14, 2018). The court issued its opinion per curiam; Judges Daniel Manion, David Hamilton, and Amy Barrett were on the panel.

This unusual alignment arose because the defendant, SP Plus, had removed the case from Cook County Circuit Court in Illinois, where it was filed, and then argued in federal court that the plaintiffs’ case should be dismissed for lack of standing. The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois agreed and dismissed the case with prejudice, but the plaintiffs maintained that, without standing to sue under Article III, their case should not have been removed in the first place.

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Wisconsin Court of Appeals Issues Important Decision under “Borrowing” Statute

If your work involves civil litigation in Wisconsin, you’ve likely run across Wis. Stat. § 893.07, the state’s borrowing statute, which governs the application of foreign statutes of limitations to cases filed in Wisconsin. And, if you’ve had the occasion to consider § 893.07, you should make a note to remember Paynter v. ProAssurance Ins. Co., No. 2017AP739 (Mar. 27, 2018), a recent decision from District III of the Court of Appeals written by Judge Lisa Stark. The decision reached a number of important holdings related to the statute and, if we had to make a prediction, is likely to be reviewed by the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

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Wisconsin Court of Appeals Reinstates Tort Claims Against Operator of Firearms-Classifieds Website

The federal Communications Decency Act of 1996, in what is commonly referred to as “Section 230,” absolves from liability the “provider” of “an interactive computer service” when the plaintiff uses a theory of liability that “treat[s]” the provider “as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.” 47 U.S.C. § 230(c)(1) and (e)(3) (Oct. 1998). The law in this area has been evolving, but, as at least one commentator has noted, operators of websites with online classifieds have been relatively successful with their use of Section 230 as a shield from liability.

Daniel v. Armslist, No. 2017AP344 (Wis. Ct. App. Apr. 19, 2018), a recent decision issued by District I of the Wisconsin Court of Appeals, written by Judge Brian Blanchard of District IV, is a notable exception. The court held that the defendant Armslist LLC, which operated Armslist.com, a website with classifieds for private-firearms sales, could be held liable for tort claims filed by the family of a mass-shooting victim. Section 230, according to the court, did not “protect a website operator from liability that arises from its own conduct in facilitating user activity.” Id. ¶ 3.

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