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Bar News - June 18, 2014

US District Court Decision Listing
May 2014
* Published

Pla-Fit Franchise, LLC v. Patricko, Inc., et al.
Case No. 13-cv-489-PB, Opinion No. 2014 DNH 109

Pla-Fit Franchise, LLC (“Pla-Fit”) sued two of its franchisees (the “Franchisees”) and their operating companies for preliminary injunctive relief, permanent injunctive relief, and damages. After obtaining agreements from the Franchisees that made a preliminary injunction unnecessary, Pla-Fit moved to compel the parties to arbitrate in accordance with arbitration clauses in their franchise agreements. Defendants opposed the motion to compel, arguing that Pla-Fit waived its right to compel arbitration by filing its complaint. This court rejected the defendants’ argument that Pla-Fit waived its right to arbitrate because Pla-Fit was entitled to seek preliminary injunctive relief in an otherwise arbitrable dispute without forfeiting its right to arbitration. Further, the defendants were unable to demonstrate that they were prejudiced by Pla-Fit’s actions. The court thus granted Pla-Fit’s motion to compel to the extent that it sought an order compelling the parties to arbitrate their disputes and denied the motion in all other respects. The case was stayed and administratively closed, subject to reopening at the request of either party, as appropriate, following arbitration. 17 Pages. Judge Paul J. Barbadoro.

Day v. Hurley
Case No. 12-cv-317-LM, Opinion No. 2014 DNH 099

This case arises from the actions of two police officers who were dispatched to assist in the response to a 911 call for medical assistance placed on the plaintiff’s behalf. Her basic claim is that the officers unlawfully detained her and used excessive force against her. Summary judgment was granted to the officers on the plaintiff’s federal claims, on grounds that the plaintiff’s detention was reasonable, as was the amount of force that was applied in effecting it. The court further ruled that the defendants were entitled to summary judgment on the plaintiff’s state-law claims pursuant to RSA 507-B:5. 34 Pages. Judge Landya B. McCafferty.

Pruden v. CitiMortgage
Case No. 12-cv-452-LM, Opinion No. 2014 DNH 115

In a case arising out of the manner in which the plaintiff’s mortgage company handled her requests for a mortgage modification, the mortgage company was granted summary judgment on her claims for breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing and negligent infliction of emotional distress. The court also ruled, however, that the plaintiff had produced sufficient evidence to proceed to trial on two claims she brought under RSA ch. 358-C, New Hampshire’s Unfair, Deceptive, or Unreasonable Collection Practices Act. 44 Pages. Judge Landya B. McCafferty.

Martin and Lucille Heald v. Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation
Case No. 13-cv-488-PB, Opinion No. 2014 DNH 113

The Healds lost their home to foreclosure and the current owner, the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (“Freddie Mac”) has served them with a notice to evict. The Healds seek to invalidate Freddie Mac’s foreclosure deed and enjoin their eviction. This court found that the Heald’s arguments rely upon the foreclosure’s alleged invalidity, an issue that was extensively litigated in the New Hampshire Superior Court and affirmed by the New Hampshire Supreme Court. Each of the issues that the Healds raised had thus been fully and finally resolved by the state courts. Because these issues were actually decided by a final judgment on the merits, this court precluded the Healds from bringing these claims again in this court and dismissed their claim. 5 Pages. Judge Paul J. Barbadoro.

Jeffrey Bradley v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.
Case No. 12-cv-127-PB, Opinion No. 2014 DNH 112

Wells Fargo as Trustee for a Pooling and Service Agreement (“PSA Trustee”) moved to reconsider an earlier decision of this court denying in part its motion for summary judgment. Relying upon a confirmatory affidavit that it included in its summary judgment exhibits but not in its briefing, PSA Trustee asserts that this court overlooked evidence in finding that it failed to satisfy its statutory duties to notify Bradley of the postponements to its foreclosure sale. This court found the affidavit to be admissible as a document affecting an interest in property, and thus granted PSA Trustee’s motion for reconsideration and dismissed Bradley’s notice claim. The court then denied PSA Trustee’s motion for reconsideration on its deficiency judgment counterclaim, finding that it failed to submit sufficient information to establish summary judgment. The court also denied PSA Trustee’s motion to reconsider its denial of summary judgment on Bradley’s intentional infliction of emotional distress claim, finding that a reasonable jury could find PSA Trustee’s conduct to be extreme and outrageous. 7 Pages. Judge Paul J. Barbadoro.

Karyn D. Webb v. Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp.
Case No. 13-cv-511-SM, Opinion No. 2014 DNH 118

Nearly two months after this action was filed in state court, defendant, Freddie Mac, removed it to federal court. Plaintiff sought remand, noting that Freddie Mac failed to act in a timely manner. Freddie Mac objected, asserting that although it’s ability to remove lapsed 30 days after it received a copy of the original complaint, that ability was “revived” when plaintiff filed an amended complaint. The court granted plaintiff’s motion to remand, noting that the “revival” doctrine is reserved for rare circumstances (not present here), such as when an amended complaint so dramatically alters the nature or scope of the plaintiff’s claims that, in essence, it amounts to a new lawsuit. Freddie Mac failed to demonstrate that this case warrants application of that doctrine. 9 pages. Judge Steven J. McAuliffe.

Renee Marie Milton Chabot v. U.S. Social Security Administration, Acting Commissioner
Case No. 13-cv-126-PB, Opinion No. 2014 DNH 067

Renee Chabot sought judicial review of a ruling by the Commissioner denying her application for disability insurance benefits and supplemental security income. Chabot claimed that the Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) erred in considering the severity of several of her impairments and that the ALJ’s Residual Functional Capacity (“RFC”) finding was not supported by substantial evidence. In this order, the court denied Chabot’s request and affirmed the Commissioner’s decision, reasoning that the ALJ properly accounted for all of Chabot’s impairments in her RFC and accorded appropriate weight to the record medical opinions. Addressing Chabot’s argument that the state medical assessment relied on an incomplete record, this court found that the ALJ properly accorded substantial weight to the medical opinion because the treatment notes postdating the medical source’s assessment were available to the ALJ and documented the same complaints of pain and clinical findings that had been available to the assessing medical source. 36 Pages. Judge Paul J. Barbadoro.

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