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Appellate courts rarely look favorably on a party’s arguments on appeal that contradict its assertions in the trial court

August 4, 2014 by in General

Appellee Outland Renewable Energy, LLC (“Outland”) asserted numerous counterclaims, taking the position that the federal district court had federal question and supplemental jurisdiction to entertain those claims. The district court dismissed the counterclaims on the merits and denied Outland’s motion for leave to amend. On appeal, Outland asserted that the district court erred and was without jurisdiction to connsider its counterclaims at all. Outland argued that its own federal claims were so “feeble” that they could not support federal question jurisdiction and that its state law claims fell outside the scope of the court’s supplemental jurisdiction, even though Outland had explicitly invoked supplemental jurisdiction in support of those claims.

It didn’t work. The court of appeals held: “Despite Outland’s perverse contention that its own federal claims were too feeble to invoke jurisdiction, the district court properly exercised federal question and supplemental jurisdiction over the original third-party counterclaims. It also properly applied Illinois substantive law and denied leave to amend Outland’s counterclaims based on futility and undue delay.” Beyond that, the court observed that “Outland’s strategy on appeal could expose it to sanctions under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 11 or otherwise.”

McCoy v. Iberdrola Renewables, Inc., 2014 WL 3703945 (7th Cir. Jul. 28, 2014).

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