Article III

Town of Chester v. Laroe Estates, Inc.

Issues 

Under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, are intervenors participating in a lawsuit required to have Article III standing, or is standing presumed if there is a valid case or controversy between the parties?

The Supreme Court will consider whether under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 24(a) intervenors in a lawsuit must have Article III standing or whether a case or controversy between the named parties satisfies Article III. Petitioner, the Town of Chester, argues that courts should not permit parties to intervene in an action unless they can prove they have independent Article III standing, which it argues is required by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 24. In contrast, Respondent Laroe Estates contends that so long as the initial party who brought the action has Article III standing, other parties can intervene without showing standing. The outcome of this case will have implications for the separation of powers and the potential litigation burdens on courts and parties. 

Questions as Framed for the Court by the Parties 

Whether intervenors participating in a lawsuit as of right under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 24(a) must have Article III standing, or whether Article III is satisfied so long as there is a valid case or controversy between the named parties.

Steven Sherman, now deceased, was a land developer in the Town of Chester who applied in 2000 to subdivide a $2.7 million piece of land that measured close to 400 acres. See Brief for Petitioner at 2. Over the next decade, the Town and Sherman went back and forth, with the Town passing new regulations that barred Sherman’s subdivision and Sherman submitting new proposals to satisfy the new regulations.

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Microsoft Corporation v. Baker

Issues 

If plaintiffs have voluntarily dismissed their claims with prejudice after defeat of a class certification, can a federal appellate court review a district court order denying class certification under both Article III and 28 U.S.C. § 1291?

This case will determine whether a federal appellate court has appellate jurisdiction to review an order denying class certification after the plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed their individual claims with prejudice. Microsoft Corporation argues that a federal court of appeals does not have jurisdiction to review an order that denies class certification because it disregards the Supreme Court’s decision in Coopers & Lybrand v. Livesay, 437 U.S. 463 (1978), and impedes the discretionary review created by the Court in Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(f). Microsoft also maintains there is no jurisdiction under the Constitution’s Article III’s mootness doctrine because a voluntary dismissal eliminates any adverse interests that the plaintiffs had in the case. Seth Baker et al. assert that the voluntary dismissal with prejudice created a final judgment allowing the federal appellate court to review the adverse class certification ruling under 28 U.S.C. § 1291. Furthermore, Baker argues that there is no Article III barrier preventing appellate review in this case because the individual plaintiff’s claims were impaired by the ruling and they still maintain an adverse interest in the case. The outcome of this case could impact the procedures that plaintiffs must follow when seeking a class certification. 

Questions as Framed for the Court by the Parties 

Does a federal court of appeals have jurisdiction under both Article III and 28 U.S.C. § 1291 to review an order denying class certification after the named plaintiffs voluntarily dismiss their claims with prejudice?

Respondents Seth Baker et al. allege that a design defect in Petitioner Microsoft Corporation’s Xbox 360 game scratched the disks required for playing the console. See Baker v. Microsoft Corp., 797 F.3d 607, 609 (Cir.

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Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins (13-1339)

Issues 

Can a plaintiff who has suffered no concrete harm sue in federal court for a violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act without violating Article III of the US Constitution?

This case presents the Supreme Court with an opportunity to decide whether plaintiffs may file lawsuits in federal court simply by showing that a defendant violated a federal statute. On the one hand, Spokeo, Inc. argues that Article III of the United States Constitution requires the plaintiff to show that he was sufficiently harmed by the violation of the statute. See Brief for Petitioner, Spokeo, Inc. at 11–13. On the other hand, Robins contends that although he might not meet the injury-in-fact requirement, he was in fact harmed by the incorrect information that was listed on Spokeo, Inc.’s website. See Brief for Respondent, Thomas Robins at 34. According to Robins, the fact that Congress created a private right of action in the Fair Credit Reporting Act combined with the fact that Spokeo, Inc. violated the statute is enough to file a lawsuit. See Brief for Respondent at 15. The Supreme Court’s decision in this case will implicate class action lawsuits involving large corporations, as well as potentially alter the likelihood that corporations will settle claims to prevent significant financial consequences. See Brief for Amici Curiae Ebay Inc. et al., in Support of Petitioner at 13–14; see Brief for Time Inc. and Seven Media Organizations, in Support of Petitioner at 20.

Questions as Framed for the Court by the Parties 

May Congress confer Article III standing upon a plaintiff who suffers no concrete harm, and who therefore could not otherwise invoke the jurisdiction of a federal court, by authorizing a private right of action based on a bare violation of a federal statute?

The issues in this case arise from the information that Petitioner Spokeo, Inc. provides to its users about other individuals through its online services. See Robins v. Spokeo, Inc., 742 F.3d 409, 410 (9th Cir. 2014), cert. granted, 135 S. Ct. 1892, 191 L. Ed. 2d 762 (2015). Spokeo, Inc.

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Executive Benefits Insurance Agency v. Arkison

Issues 

Does Article III of the Constitution permit bankruptcy courts to enter final judgments in “core” proceedings as defined in 28 U.S.C. § 157(b)? If not, can bankruptcy courts exercise jurisdiction over litigants through their “implied consent”?

In 2011, the Supreme Court held in Stern v. Marshall that bankruptcy courts are constitutionally barred from granting final judgments on certain “core” state law claims. Since then, lower courts have tried to determine the scope of the holding, which addresses bankruptcy courts’ ability, as non-Article III courts, to preside over issues traditionally considered to be core bankruptcy issues. Petitioner, Executive Benefits Insurance Agency, (“EBIA”) was a third party to a bankruptcy proceeding. The bankruptcy court found that the debtor in the proceeding had fraudulently transferred $373,291.28 to EBIA before filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The bankruptcy trustee, Arkison, sued EBIA to recover those funds, and the bankruptcy court granted a judgment against EBIA. EBIA appealed and invoked Stern v. Marshall, claiming that the bankruptcy court could not enter a final judgment on a fraudulent transfer claim. The district court and Ninth Circuit affirmed the bankruptcy court, reasoning that EBIA had impliedly consented to the bankruptcy court’s jurisdiction. The Supreme Court’s ruling in this case will clarify the limits of Stern v. Marshall and define “core” bankruptcy proceeding. The Court will also determine what kind of consent is necessary for bankruptcy courts to have jurisdiction over claims requiring adjudication by Article III judges. 

Questions as Framed for the Court by the Parties 

In Stern v. Marshall, 131 S. Ct. 2594 (2011), this Court held that Article III of the United States Constitution precludes Congress from assigning certain “core” bankruptcy proceedings involving private state law rights to adjudication by non-Article III bankruptcy judges. Applying Stern, the court of appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that a fraudulent conveyance action is subject to Article III. The court further held, in conflict with the Sixth Circuit, that the Article III problem had been waived by petitioner’s litigation conduct, which the court of appeals construed as implied consent to entry of final judgment by the bankruptcy court. The court of appeals also held, in conflict with the Seventh Circuit, that a bankruptcy court may issue proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law, subject to a district court’s de novo review, in “core” bankruptcy proceedings where Article III precludes the bankruptcy court from entering final judgment. The court of appeals’ decision presents the following questions, about which there is considerable confusion in the lower courts in the wake of Stern: 

  1. Whether Article III permits the exercise of the judicial power of the United States by bankruptcy courts on the basis of litigant consent, and, if so, whether “implied consent” based on a litigant’s conduct, where the statutory scheme provides the litigant no notice that its consent is required, is sufficient to satisfy Article III.
  2. Whether a bankruptcy judge may submit proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law for de novo review by a district court in a “core” proceeding under 28 U.S.C. 157(b). 

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Facts

Nicholas Paleveda and Marjorie Ewing, a married couple, operated a series of companies, including Aegis Retirement Income Services, Inc. (“ARIS”) and the Bellingham Insurance Agency, Inc. (“BIA”). See Exec. Benefits Ins. Agency v. Arkison (“EBIA”), 702 F.3d 553, 556 (9th Cir.

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