U.S. Eighth Circuit - The FindLaw 8th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

The Federal Communications Commission has just filed an amicus brief in a case pending before the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals that could change the VoIP game. And who the feds have chosen to support may (or may not) surprise you.

The case involves a rather significant battle over whether VoIP providers, like Vonage, should be regarded as traditional telecom companies, like Verizon, and subject to regulation by state run public utilities commissions. Right now, as the law currently stands, depending on whether a VoIP provider offers other more traditional communication (phone) or data (internet/cable) services, or not, the FCC regulations that apply are different. For standalone VoIP services, it is even less clear, despite the position of the parties.

Fitness Exec Pleads Guilty to Drug Dealing, Kidnapping

One of the problems with being a criminal is you can't call the cops for help.

Maybe that's what led Todd Beckman down the dark road that ends with 20 years in prison. Beckman used to be a successful businessman, but he turned his skills to smuggling marijuana.

Then he made a wrong-way decision with a one-way consequence: he kidnapped and threatened to kill someone who stole his drugs.

Missouri Appeals Court Affirms $16.7M Verdict in Opioid Case

Opioids -- pain relievers derived from synthetic forms of opium -- are everywhere.

From the president to the pusher, everybody seems to be talking about opioids. By all accounts, there is an "opioid epidemic."

And that was a problem in a case against a doctor and hospital accused of over-prescribing the drug. The defendants appealed a $16.7 million verdict, saying the judge allowed jurors to hear too much about the epidemic.

Arkansas Abortion Pill Ruling Stands

Planned Parenthood can't get past the U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.

For the third time in as many months, the appeals court has handed Planned Parenthood a defeat. This time, the justices refused to reconsider a prior decision that upheld a law that restricts access to abortion pills.

"This common sense law will help ensure that medication abortions are conducted in a safe, responsible manner and with appropriate protections for women," said Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge after the last decision in Planned Parenthood v. Jegley.

In what is undoubtedly a tragic case, a state trooper shot and killed a dog that was loose on the highway. Sadly, in Hansen v. Black, the owners were left with no legal remedy as the courts have ruled the officer's actions were reasonable.

The dog had gotten loose and was causing havoc for drivers. The officer attempted to get the dog off the highway, but it did not respond to his commands, and kept running away when chased. Ultimately, the officer had to shoot the dog twice before it went into the median and collapsed. Then, the officer shot the wounded animal two more times to put it down and end its suffering.

The Senate Judiciary Committee has approved the nomination to the federal appellate bench of federal district court judge Ralph Erickson by a vote of 20-0. Now Erickson will need to win the approval of the full Senate before becoming eligible to accept the position as the Eighth Circuit's newest jurist.

Though nominated in a nearly bi-polar political climate, Erickson's nomination has received bipartisan support, which should mean he will be a lock for the full Senate vote.

Mothers Charged in Female Genital Mutilation Case

Federal prosecutors said it was the first of its kind -- a female genital mutilation case that has scandalized a religious community.

As reports spread, however, it revealed a deeply disturbing question for the nation: why has it taken so long to take action against the practice? The principal defendant, an Indian American doctor, was arrested five months ago, and two mothers have now been indicted in Minnesota for submitting their seven-year-old daughters for the procedure.

But what's worse, female genital mutilation apparently has been going on in the United States for generations. What on earth is wrong with this picture?

Sen. Al Franken Opposes New 8th Cir. Nominee

Live from Minnesota, it's Sen. Al Franken's night.

The former Saturday Night Live star is rising in American politics after he effectively blocked President Trump's nomination to the U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. Franken has withheld his "blue slip" approval of the nominee, Judge David Stras, forcing even staunch Democrats to concede the point.

"The purpose of the blue slip is to ensure consultation between the White House and home-state senators on judicial nominees from their states," said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a ranking member of the Judiciary Committee. "I expect the committee to honor Sen. Franken's decision not to return a blue slip, as was always done when Republican senators didn't return blue slips on President Obama's nominees."

Court Affirms Defunding Planned Parenthood

Women have the right to get an abortion anywhere in America, but they may have a hard time paying for one in Arkansas.

The U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals said in Does v. Gillespie that Arkansas can kick Planned Parenthood out of its network of Medicaid-approved health providers. Setting up a possible showdown in the U.S. Supreme Court, the Eighth Circuit has changed the abortion litigation landscape.

"The plaintiffs are asserting a right -- the absolute right to a particular provider of their choosing -- that (the law) does not grant them," Judge Steven Colloton wrote for the Eighth Circuit, which includes Arkansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North and South Dakota.

In June 2017, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the $11 million judgment against Toyota stemming from an unintended acceleration case that left three people dead, and put the driver behind bars for over two years. Toyota requested reconsideration of the matter, and a month later, in August 2017, the Eighth Circuit upheld the judgment against them once again.

The big issue that Toyota sought reconsideration on, apart from the size of the judgment, involved the evidence of "other similar incidents." In the case, testimony from three other individuals, unrelated to the accident in the present case, described situations where their Toyota Camrys (of the same model year) suffered the unintended acceleration problem alleged to have caused the accident in the present case.