5th Circuit Blog

A Lesson in Contracts Law from the Most Unlikely of Cases

By Razvan Ungureanu on July 23, 2014

Most readers would expect an opinion addressing a state university’s entitlement to a refund of the Social Security component of its FICA taxes to involve a detailed analysis of federal statutes and agency regulations. The Fifth Circuit’s recent opinion in Univ. of Tex. Sys. v. U.S. offers a surprising alternative: a contract-law analysis citing Corbin on Contracts and the Second Restatement. Who said tax cases are interesting only to tax attorneys?

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Posted In: Contracts , Tax

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Exhibits to a Complaint and Federal Subject-Matter Jurisdiction

By Razvan Ungureanu on June 20, 2014

First year Civil Procedure students have heard the well-pleaded complaint rule again and again: whether a claim arises under the laws of the United States so as to confer federal subject-matter jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331 depends on whether a federal question appears on the face of the plaintiff’s well-pleaded complaint. But what makes up the well-pleaded complaint for purposes of the rule? Must the federal question appear in the complaint’s allegations, or can it also appear in an exhibit attached to the complaint?

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Posted In: Civil Procedure , Subject-Matter Jurisdiction

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The Danger of Alternative, Inconsistent Pleadings

By Razvan Ungureanu on June 05, 2014

Though both federal and state civil procedure rules widely permit alternative, inconsistent pleadings and though litigants widely use such pleadings, pleading alternative, inconsistent claims or affirmative defenses sometimes exposes litigants to dangers they may not have foreseen at the time of pleading. The Fifth Circuit’s decision in Gabarick v. Laurin Mar. (Am.) Inc. illustrates one such danger.

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Posted In: Civil Procedure

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