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

May 2015 Archives

Nebraska Abolishes Death Penalty

Big news from Nebraska! The state legislature voted 30-19 to override the veto of Governor Pete Ricketts, thereby abolishing the death penalty in that state.

Nebraska is the first conservative state in 40 years to abolish the death penalty, The New York Times reported, and the vote cut across party lines.

A $42 million settlement between the National Football League and former players can go ahead following the Eighth Circuit's dismissal of a challenge by six dissenting players. The settlement attempted to bring to an end disagreement over the use of former player's likenesses and identities in promotional films.

A handful of players, led by Jim Marshall, objected to the compromise on the grounds that it did not provide direct payouts to former players, instead giving the millions to a nonprofit dedicated to supporting the health and welfare of retired players. The settlement effected over 25,000 class members -- though some of them might not remember to sign up. Loss of memory due to concussion, as well as other serious ailments, remains endemic among former NFL athletes.

An Iowa woman won't be allowed to withdraw a plea agreement she says she was pressured to accept, the Eighth Circuit ruled yesterday. After a heroin user overdosed and died, a police investigation identified Lacresia White as the decedent's supplier. Following a series of undercover buys, which may have involved White's six year old daughter, police arrested White and charged her with conspiracy to distribute heroin that lead to death.

White accepted a plea deal that would help her avoid a 20 year sentence, but quickly regretted it. That was too late, the Eighth Circuit ruled. Since White could allege no coercion aside from family pressure, she put forward no "fair and just" reason to withdraw her plea.

The NFL Players Association has submitted its briefs to the Eight Circuit regarding the overturned suspension of Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson. Peterson was suspended by the NFL after he was accused of physically abusing his son. A district court reversed that suspension, finding that the NFL's domestic abuse policy was new and couldn't be retroactively applied to actions Peterson took in the past.

The NFL's appeal of that ruling is now currently pending in the Eight Circuit. In their filings, the Players Association -- essentially a union for NFL athletes -- argues, unsurprisingly, that the district court was correct in throwing out Peterson's suspension.

Judge Myron Bright has sat on the Eighth Circuit longer than many of those reading this have been alive. For 47 years, Bright has served on the court, continuing to hear cases and author opinions to this day. Needless to say, he's the longest-serving judge in the history of the circuit. At 95 years old, he has no plans to retire anytime soon. Instead, he will continue to hear up to 50 cases this year.

Bright's good friend and then-senator, Quentin Burdick, recommended him for a judgeship to President Lyndon Johnson. According to Bright, LBJ chose him over Robert F. Kennedy for the seat. Over his years on the court, Judge Bright has made significant rulings, particularly in the realm of employment discrimination and environmental law.

Victim of St. Louis Ponzi Scheme Lawyer Loses at 8th Cir.

Want to prove legal malpractice in Missouri when it comes to international investments? According to the Eighth Circuit, you're going to need an expert witness for that.

Phil Rosemann sued Martin Sigillito for legal malpractice after Sigillito absconded with a large part of a $15.6 million dollar loan, ultimately leading to his conviction for wire fraud and money laundering.