Waggoner Cattle, LLC, Circle W of Dimmitt, Inc., Bugtussle Cattle, LLC, and Cliff Hanger Cattle, LLC (collectively, Debtors) each filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy on April 9, 2018. Lone Star State Bank of West Texas (Lone Star) initiated this adversary proceeding by filing its complaint against Rabo Agrifinance, LLC (Rabo), Waggoner Cattle, LLC, Cliff Hanger Cattle, LLC, and Circle W of Dimmitt, Inc. (collectively, Defendants) on June 29, 2018. The Court considers Rabo’s motion requesting dismissal of fourteen of the sixteen causes of action of Lone Star’s complaint and, alternatively, abstention.
Rabo’s motion raises, in part, the question of whether the Court has jurisdiction to decide certain causes alleged by Lone Star’s complaint. “It is well settled that a court has the jurisdiction to determine its own jurisdiction, subject to appellate review.” Familia De Boom v. Arosa Mercantil, S.A., 629 F.2d 1134, 1137 (5th Cir. 1980).
The Court has “related-to” jurisdiction over Lone Star’s direct causes of action against Rabo. Although the Court has subject matter jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1334(b), it may elect to abstain from this proceeding under 28 U.S.C. § 1334(c)(1). The decision to abstain is solely within the Court’s discretion. A majority of the applicable factors suggests that abstention would be proper. But there is no parallel proceeding pending in another forum to which this Court could defer in the interest of justice and comity. By abstaining, the Court potentially prejudices Lone Star’s rights. The Court will not abstain from hearing this proceeding. The Court thus denies Rabo’s motion on causes seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, thirteen, and sixteen.
By order entered on November 9, 2018, in the main bankruptcy cases that are jointly administered under Case No. 18-20126, the Court denied Lone Star’s request seeking leave to pursue estate-owned causes of action against Rabo, including alleged intercompany causes of action. As a result, causes of action one, two, three, five, six, and twelve must be dismissed. For the reasons stated, cause four must also be dismissed. Causes fourteen (for an accounting) and fifteen (for wrongful offset) are not addressed by Rabo’s motion.
Raab v. Frank, 2019 IL App (2d) 171040
The plaintiff, Kirk Raab of the Jo Daviess County Sheriff’s Department, was driving his squad car west on Stagecoach Road in Scales Mound when he collided with a cow owned by the defendant, Kenneth Frank. Raab filed an action against Frank for injuries he suffered during the collision. Frank thereafter filed a third-party complaint for contribution against his neighbors, David A. and Virginia J. Grossen, asserting that the cow had gotten out through a fence they had failed to maintain. The trial court subsequently granted the Grossens’ motion for summary judgment. Frank appeals from that order. The court affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remand for additional proceedings.
The court affirmed the judgment of the circuit court of Jo Daviess County granting summary judgment to the Grossens on count II of Frank’s third-party complaint, regarding a violation of the Fence Act. The court reversed the court’s judgment granting summary judgment to the Grossens on counts I and III of Frank’s third-party complaint and remand for additional proceedings on those counts.
SWINOMISH INDIAN TRIBAL COMMUNITY, Plaintiff, v. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS, et al., Defendants. Additional Party Names: Taylor Shellfish Co., Inc., No. 2:18-CV-598-RSL, 2019 WL 469842 (W.D. Wash. Feb. 6, 2019)
Taylor Shellfish is a company that grows shellfish in Washington State. In 2007, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (“Army Corps”) issued Nationwide Permit (“NWP”) 48, which authorized certain activities necessary for the continued operation of existing commercial aquaculture farms, like those controlled by Taylor Shellfish. NWP 48 is a general type of permit that authorizes these operations without requiring an application for an individual permit. It was reissued in 2012 and 2017, extending authorization to both existing and certain new commercial aquaculture activities. In 2016, the Seattle District of the Army Corps (“Seattle District”) completed a programmatic Endangered Species Act (“ESA”) and Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Management and Conservation Act consultation with the West Coast Region of the National Marine Fisheries Services (“NMFS”) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Washington Office (“Programmatic Consultation”). This covered certain shellfish activities in North Puget Sound. NMFS issued a biological opinion in this regard, finding that the shellfish activities did not jeopardize the survival and recovery of certain species, and establishing a “take limit” on the allowable amount of harm to eelgrass. Taylor Shellfish has received letters from the Seattle District stating that certain of the company’s shellfish beds in North Puget Sound are authorized by NWP 48 and covered by the Programmatic Consultation. Some contain native eelgrass, and some are fallow.
Plaintiff Swinomish Indian Tribal Community (“the Swinomish Tribe”) filed a complaint for declaratory and vacatur relief on April 24, 2018, challenging the Army Corps’ NWP 48. Plaintiff alleges that the Army Corps has committed violations of the Clean Water Act and the National Environmental Policy Act. It also challenges the biological opinion issued by the NMFS pursuant to its Programmatic Consultation. Among the relief it requests is the vacating of NWP 48 as applied to native eelgrass beds and fallow areas with native eelgrass beds, and the vacating of the NMFS’s biological opinion.
Taylor Shellfish’s motion to intervene was granted