Bishop v. Air Line Pilots Association, International, No. 17-1438 (7th Cir. 2017)

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Justia Opinion Summary

Seventh Circuit Rules 3(c)(1) and 28(a) require the same jurisdictional information for docketing and briefing. With an exception for pro se submissions, the court screens all filed briefs to ensure that they include all required information about the jurisdiction of both the district court (or agency) and the court of appeals. FRAP 28(b) allows the appellee to omit the jurisdictional statement “unless the appellee is dissatisfied with the appellant’s statement.” In consolidated appeals, the Seventh Circuit found the jurisdictional statements inadequate and stated that the appellee cannot simply assume that the appellant has provided a jurisdictional statement that complies with the rules. The appellee must review the appellant’s jurisdictional statement to see if it is both complete and correct. If the appellant’s statement is not complete, or not correct, the appellee must file a “complete jurisdictional summary.” It is not enough simply to correct the misstatement or omission and “accept” the balance of the appellant’s statement. In one case, the Attorney General stated: “Mr. Baez‐Sanchez’s jurisdictional statement is correct,” saying nothing about completeness, so the brief must be returned to the Department of Justice. The other jurisdictional statement states “Appellants’ jurisdictional statement provides a complete jurisdictional summary.” The court stated: Fine, but what about correctness?

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In the United States Court of Appeals For the Seventh Circuit ____________________ No. 16 3784 JORGE BAEZ SANCHEZ, Petitioner, v. JEFFERSON B. SESSIONS III, Attorney General of the United States, Respondent. __________________ No. 17 1438 DAVID BISHOP and ERIC LISH, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs Appellants, v. AIR LINE PILOTS ASSOCIATION, INTERNATIONAL, Defendant Appellee. ____________________ JURISDICTIONAL SCREENING ORDERS ____________________ JULY 10, 2017 2 Nos. 16 3784, 17 1438 ____________________ Before WOOD, Chief Judge, in chambers. WOOD, Chief Judge. This court carefully screens all appeals and other matters filed with it to ensure that there are no ju risdictional problems, either at the district court or agency level or before us. In conducting this screening, we rely on the jurisdictional information furnished by the parties. Seventh Circuit Rule 3(c)(1) requires the docketing statement filed by the appellant (or petitioner, as the case may be) to “comply with the requirements of Circuit Rule 28(a).” Seventh Circuit Rule 28(a) addresses the later briefing stage, but the net effect of Circuit Rules 3(c)(1) and 28(a) is to require the same juris dictional information for both docketing and briefing. With the important exception of pro se submissions, the court screens all briefs once they are filed to ensure that they in clude all the necessary information about the jurisdiction of both the district court (or agency) and the court of appeals. FRAP 28(b) addresses the appellee’s brief; it allows the appel lee to omit the jurisdictional statement “unless the appellee is dissatisfied with the appellant’s statement.” These requirements may seem straightforward, but a dis tressing number of briefs filed in this court do not comply with the requirements of FRAP 28, as fleshed out in Circuit Rule 28. The two matters before me illustrate some common mistakes. I am issuing this opinion in the hope that attorneys practicing in the Seventh Circuit, as well as our pro se litigants, will take heed and avoid these errors in the future. I begin with a review of the rules governing jurisdictional statements in briefs. FRAP 28(a)(4) describes the jurisdictional statement required for an appellant or someone petitioning Nos. 16 3784, 17 1438 3 from an agency order; as FRAP 20 provides, all references in this opinion to appellants or appellees apply equally to peti tioners and respondents. FRAP 28(a)(4) sets out the four criti cal points that must be included in all jurisdictional state ments: (1) the basis for the district court or agency’s jurisdic tion; (2) the basis of the appellate court’s jurisdiction; (3) the relevant dates demonstrating that the appeal or petition is timely; and (4) information establishing either finality or the existence of a relevant exception to the final judgment rule. Circuit Rule 28(a) explains what information is needed to sat isfy these requirements. Although this part of the rule is ra ther long, it is worth reproducing in full here: (a) Appellant s Jurisdictional Statement. The jurisdic tional statement in appellant’s brief, see FED. R. APP. P. 28(a)(4), must contain the following details: (1) The statement concerning the district court’s ju risdiction shall identify the provision of the consti tution or federal statute involved if jurisdiction is based on the existence of a federal question. If juris diction depends on diversity of citizenship, the statement shall identify the jurisdictional amount and the citizenship of each party to the litigation. If any party is a corporation, the statement shall iden tify both the state of incorporation and the state in which the corporation has its principal place of business. If any party is an unincorporated associa tion or partnership the statement shall identify the citizenship of all members. The statement shall sup ply similar details concerning the invocation of supplemental jurisdiction or other sources of juris diction. 4 Nos. 16 3784, 17 1438 (2) The statement concerning appellate jurisdiction shall identify the statutory provision believed to confer jurisdiction on this court and the following particulars: (i) The date of entry of the judgment or decree sought to be reviewed. (ii) The filing date of any motion for a new trial or alteration of the judgment or any other mo tion claimed to toll the time within which to ap peal. (iii) The disposition of such a motion and the date of its entry. (iv) The filing date of the notice of appeal (to gether with information about an extension of time if one was granted). (v) If the case is a direct appeal from the decision of a magistrate judge, the dates on which each party consented in writing to the entry of final judgment by the magistrate judge. (3) If the appeal is from an order other than a final judgment which adjudicates all of the claims with respect to all parties, counsel shall provide the in formation necessary to enable the court to deter mine whether the order is immediately appealable. Elaboration will be necessary in the following cases although the list is illustrative rather than exhaus tive: (i) If any claims or parties remain for disposition in the district court, identify the nature of these claims and the ground on which an appeal may be taken in advance of the final judgment. If Nos. 16 3784, 17 1438 5 there has been a certificate under Fed. R. Civ. P. 54(b) or if this is an appeal by permission under 28 U.S.C. § 1292(b), give the particulars and de scribe the relation between the claims or parties subject to the appeal and the claims or parties remaining in the district court. (ii) If the ground of jurisdiction is the “collateral order doctrine,” describe how the order meets each of the criteria of that doctrine: finality, sep arability from the merits of the underlying ac tion, and practical unreviewability on appeal from a final judgment. Cite pertinent cases es tablishing the appealability of orders of the character involved. (iii) If the order sought to be reviewed remands a case to a bankruptcy judge or administrative agency, explain what needs to be done on re mand and why the order is nonetheless “final.” (iv) Whenever some issues or parties remain be fore the district court, give enough information to enable the court to determine whether the or der is appealable. Appeals from orders granting or staying arbitration or abstaining from deci sion as well as appeals from the grant or denial of injunctions require careful exposition of juris dictional factors. The rules for an appellee’s jurisdictional statement do not consume as much space, but they are equally important. As noted above, FRAP 28(b) exempts the appellee from filing a 6 Nos. 16 3784, 17 1438 jurisdictional statement unless it is “dissatisfied” with the ap pellant’s statement. Circuit Rule 28(b) directs that “[t]he ap pellee’s brief shall state explicitly whether or not the jurisdic tional summary in the appellant’s brief is complete and correct. If it is not, the appellee shall provide a complete jurisdictional summary.” (Emphasis added.) The appellee cannot simply assume that the appellant has provided a jurisdictional statement that complies with the rules. Common problems in appellants’ jurisdictional state ments include, in federal question cases where jurisdiction depends on 28 U.S.C. § 1331, the failure to specify the partic ular statute or constitutional provision at issue, and in diver sity cases, failure to distinguish between citizenship (required by 28 U.S.C. § 1332) and residency (irrelevant) and, for organ izations such as partnerships, LLPs, and LLCs, the failure to work back through the ownership structure until one reaches either individual human beings or a formal corporation with a state of incorporation and a state of principal place of busi ness. The job of the appellee is to review the appellant’s jurisdic tional statement to see if it is both complete and correct. These terms are not synonyms. A statement might be complete in the sense of covering all required topics, yet contain inaccura cies. Alternatively, everything furnished might be correct, but the statement might be missing something critical, such as the citizenship of a party, the particular statute at issue, or the dates on which the court’s jurisdiction depends. If the appel lant’s statement is not complete, or not correct, the appellee must file a “complete jurisdictional summary.” It is not enough simply to correct the misstatement or omission and “accept” the balance of the appellant’s statement. Nos. 16 3784, 17 1438 7 The Seventh Circuit, like its sister circuits, pays careful at tention to the parties’ jurisdictional statements, because “for centuries it has been recognized that federal courts have an obligation … to assure themselves of their own jurisdiction.” Kelly v. United States, 29 F.3d 1107, 1113 (7th Cir. 1994). The Seventh Circuit’s Clerk’s Office has prepared a checklist for the use of litigants; that checklist is available on the court’s website. See http://www.ca7.uscourts.gov/forms/check.pdf. The court’s Practitioner Handbook for Appeals, also available on the website, http://www.ca7.uscourts.gov/forms/Hand book.pdf, provides further guidance for counsel and for pro se litigants. Those who take advantage of these resources should not run into any problems when the clerk’s office scrutinizes whatever the party has filed; those who do not often find their briefs returned to them for the correction of deficiencies. See United States v. Naud, 830 F.2d 768, 769 (7th Cir. 1987) (per cu riam) (briefs that do not comply with Circuit Rule 28 will not be accepted). Both of the cases I have consolidated for purposes of this in chambers opinion have inadequate jurisdictional state ments. In Baez Sanchez v. Sessions, No. 16 3784, the respondent Attorney General of the United States submitted the follow ing Statement of Jurisdiction: “Mr. Baez Sanchez’s jurisdic tional statement is correct.” This says nothing about com pleteness, and so the brief must be returned to the Depart ment of Justice. If the Department concludes that Mr. Baez Sanchez’s jurisdictional statement is both complete and cor rect, it should say so in the amended brief. If petitioner’s ju risdictional statement is not complete, then the Attorney Gen eral must furnish a full jurisdictional statement that complies with FRAP 28(a) and Circuit Rule 28(a). 8 Nos. 16 3784, 17 1438 The jurisdictional statement furnished in Bishop v. Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l, No. 17 1438, has the mirror image problem. It says “Appellants’ jurisdictional statement pro vides a complete jurisdictional summary.” Fine, but what about correctness? Once again, the court must send this back to the appellees. They must review the appellants’ jurisdic tional statement for both completeness and correctness, and if the statement is wanting on either score, they must supply a comprehensive statement that complies with FRAP 28(a) and Circuit Rule 28(a). There is no reason why, month after month, year after year, the court should encounter jurisdictional statements with such obvious flaws. This imposes needless costs on everyone involved. The briefs filed by respondent Sessions and appel lee Air Line Pilots are STRICKEN. Each one must file a new brief within seven days of this order; the new brief must con tain a jurisdictional statement that complies with all of the re quirements of FRAP 28(b) and Circuit Rule 28(b), and if nec essary, statements that comply with FRAP 28(a) and Circuit Rule 28(a). I hope that this opinion will prevent the same problems from continuing to arise. So ordered.

Primary Holding

Appellees must address both the completeness and correctness of appellant's jurisdictional statement.

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