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

Bankruptcy, Civil Rights, Criminal, and Tort Law Cases

Morris v. Zefferi, No. 08-3141, involved an action alleging that an officer violated plaintiff's constitutional rights when defendant transported plaintiff, who at the time was a pretrial detainee, in a dog cage in a K-9 vehicle during a ninety-minute drive to a county courthouse.  The court of appeals affirmed on the grounds that 1) based on the totality of the circumstances, defendant's decision to transport plaintiff in this manner transgressed today's broad and idealistic concepts of dignity, civilized standards, humanity, and decency; and 2) the unconstitutionality of defendant's alleged conduct should have been obvious to defendant based both on common sense and prior general case law.

Brunsting v. Lutsen Mountains Corp., No. 09-1075, concerned a personal injury action arising out of a skiing accident.  The court of appeals reversed summary judgment for defendant, holding that 1) the district court erred in its analysis of whether a witness's statement was made in reaction to a truly startling event, and whether the statement was made under the stress of excitement caused by that event; and 2) there was a genuine issue of material fact as to whether defendant's failure to remove the stump was a proximate cause of plaintiff's accident.

In US v. Akens, No. 09-1695, the Eighth Circuit affirmed defendant's drug and firearm conviction and sentence, on the grounds that 1) defendant's prior Missouri conviction was a sufficient predicate for his 18 U.S.C. section 922(g)(1) conviction; 2) the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying defendant's motion to withdraw the plea; and 3) defendant, in the plea agreement, waived his right to appeal sentencing-related issues.

Bremer Bank, N.A. v. John Hancock Life Ins. Co., No. 09-2250, involved an action alleging that, in the aftermath of an airline's bankruptcy filing, plaintiff's equity in an aircraft and lease were improperly extinguished by a bank, acting on defendant's instructions.  The Eighth Circuit affirmed summary judgment for defendant, holding that 1) the bank properly informed plaintiff that the lease of the aircraft was in default, as required by the lease agreement; 2) given the lease's expansive language, it was reasonable to consider as a remedy the 11 U.S.C. section 1110(b) stipulations requiring the airline to maintain the aircraft and to make monthly payments despite the bankruptcy stay.

In US v. Mohamed, No. 09-2349, the court of appeals affirmed defendant's conviction for conspiracy to commit mail fraud, on the ground that the indictment fully and fairly apprised defendant of the charges against him, despite the alleged variance, and therefore there was no actual prejudice.

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