U.S. Third Circuit - The FindLaw 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

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A unanimous three judge panel of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the multimillion dollar award against Citgo, and even increased the damages, related to the 2004 Delaware River oil spill.

A prior ruling of the district court reduced the damages award against the oil company that were to be awarded to the United States. Although the U.S. sought $88 million in reimbursement for cleaning up the oil spill, the district court only wanted to let the government walk away with half. Interestingly, the ship's owners, which pay a significant portion of the cleanup costs immediately after the fact, did not have the damages award in their favor reduced.

Tribe's Arbitration Clause Is Unenforceable

If this were the Old West, John MacDonald might've said he got scalped.

But times have changed, and so MacDonald just says he got ripped off in a bad loan. He borrowed $5,000 at 116 percent annual interest, resulting in a $35,994 finance charge over seven years.

Fortunately for MacDonald, the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals let him get out of part of the deal. And as it turns out, a Native American tribe was involved.

Gold Mining Company Can't Collect $1.2 Billion Debt

Chasing a debtor can be complicated, especially when the debtor manages to move its assets to a foreign country.

In Crystallex International Corp. v. Petroleos de Venezuela, that would be an understatement. The U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals called the debtor's trail "exceedingly complex."

It was a "tangle of debtors, creditors, parents, subsidiaries, alter egos, and complex international corporate transactions," but the court unraveled it in three words: no fraudulent transfer.

Court Denies Sunoco Request for Arbitration

Arbitration agreements are not what they used to be, at least not as far as Sunoco is concerned.

The gasoline company sought to compel arbitration in an alleged fraud involving Citibank, claiming the plaintiff Donald White signed an arbitration agreement with the credit card company. White alleged Sunoco induced him to sign up for a rewards card but did not give him promised discounts.

The U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals said Sunoco wasn't part of the arbitration agreement in White v. Sunoco, Inc. The proposed class-action will move forward.

Supermarket Antitrust Lawsuit Revived by 3rd Circ.

The Third Circuit has just ruled that a real estate developer has standing to sue the owners of Shop-Rite over anti-competitive behavior that would stymie the opening of a Wegmans in Hanover, New Jersey.

The lengthy opinion outlines and clarifies the limits and intended application of the justiciability doctrine and antitrust immunity under Noerr-Pennington.

'Renewal' Means More of the Same for Insurance Policies

What does the word 'renewal' mean? The answer to that question could have greater legal import that you might expect. In fact, that question essentially sums up the legal issue that was the core of Indian Harbor Insurance v. F&M Equipment, Ltd.

The 3rd Circuit Ruled on October 15 that "renewal" -- at least in the context of insurance terms -- means "more of the same."

3rd Circuit Rules That Fraudsters Can Offset Their Liabilities

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals all but sided with a pair of Pennsylvania construction businessmen by vacating their sentences and overruling the sentencing court. To their credit, however, the panel was simply applying court rules.

The case involved defrauding the government by taking advantage of government benefits outlined in the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Act. The Court's ruling clarifies how damages are to be properly calculated when funds are illicitly secured and work is actually completed.

Personally, I've never understood the draw of gift certificates. Unlike cash, they're filled with restrictions, limitations, and prohibitions. But, they often come with deals, and people love a good deal.

That love of a deal may result in a windfall for some New Jersey litigants. After suing Restaurant.com for selling gift certificates which failed to comply with New Jersey consumer protection laws, in a case that has resulted in six published opinions, plaintiffs may finally have the go ahead to pursue a class action lawsuit against the website.

3rd Cir. Upholds Judgment Against Real Estate Schemers

Lucy Cheng and Mait Dubois claimed to work for OMEI, which represented investors in Ocean View, which lent money to another entity called Southgate Development Group (SDG), which was the owner of a real estate development called Southgate Crossing.

Are you following along? If you think the need for multiple layers of corporations is a red flag, the Third Circuit is right along with you in this tale of "highly dubious business activities" taking place in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

In PA, Murder/Suicide Not a Material Defect Requiring Disclosure

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Monday issued its opinion in Milliken v. Jacono, holding that a home's seller didn't have to disclose a murder/suicide that occurred in the house because it didn't affect the price of the house. A grisly fact pattern to be sure, but the Supreme Court rooted its opinion in the more prosaic world of real estate.