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

April 2014 Archives

Vouching for Your Clients -- A $900,000 Mistake

This month, in the case of Gilster v. Primebank, the Eighth Circuit upheld the long-standing rule that lawyers cannot vouch for their clients.

The Facts

This was a sexual harassment case. Plaintiff claimed that Joseph Strub, her supervisor at Primebank in Sioux City, Iowa, made comments about her legs, placed his arm on her shoulders, told her that they should hook up, pressed his pelvis against her backside, massaged her shoulders, and told her to bend over and show more bra to bring in more customers. Defense admitted that when the plaintiff inquired about a bonus in front of colleagues at a meeting, Strubs told her to take out her teeth (she wears dentures), come to his office and close the door.

The 4th Amendment: Still Alive and Kicking in the 8th

The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals breathed a bit of life into our republic on April 19 as it decided in a divided opinion, of course that the Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable search and seizure is still with us despite the imminent threat of ... money?

In 2010, Carlos Martins was driving his pickup just west of Omaha, Nebraska when Deputy David Wintle pulled him over because his license plate was "obstructed" in violation of Nebraska Revised Statute § 60-399(2). And by "obstructed," Wintle means that he had to get within 100 feet of it to be able to read the very bottom, where it said "Utah." It's undisputed that the rest of the license plate was completely clear.

Constitutional precedent is clear. The Roe v. Wade Court held that the Fourteenth Amendment's Due Process Clause provides a qualified right to women to terminate a pregnancy. In Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the Court reiterated that before viability (generally understood to be 24 weeks), a State's "interests are not strong enough to support an abortion prohibition or the imposition of substantial obstacles to the woman's effective right to elect the procedure."

Nonetheless, many states continue to pass legislation that appears to be facially unconstitutional. Arkansas is one of them.

Quite a few cases making the rounds in the Eighth Circuit are making headlines and deal with everything from Wizard of Oz merchandise, to kosher hot dogs. Here's a breakdown in the latest news out of the Eighth Circuit.

Iowa Campaign Finance Ban

In 2013, the Eighth Circuit upheld an Iowa law that "allow[s] for independent expenditures by corporations and unions but ... ban[s] ... direct contributions to candidates and committees by corporations," reports Reuters. An anti-abortion group challenged the ban, and petitioned for writ of certiorari, which the Supreme Court denied on Monday. This is highly interesting light of the Court's ruling last week in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission; it shows the Court has said all that it wants to for now on campaign finance.

Randall Jackson was incarcerated in Missouri, at the Western Reception, Diagnostic, and Correctional Center ("WRDCC"). To be eligible for early release on parole, he had to complete the Offenders Under Treatment Program ("OUTP"), which dealt with substance abuse. Jackson is an atheist, the program is non-secular, and you can probably see where this is headed.

The OUTP

According to his complaint, Jackson alleged that the OUTP "had required meetings [and] invoked religious tenets by using the serenity prayer and religious meditations." When he objected and notified the staff, they advised him "to assume a role or attitude even if you don't like it" and to interpret God "as an acronym for 'good orderly direction.'"