U.S. Seventh Circuit - FindLaw

U.S. Seventh Circuit - The FindLaw 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog


It's a rare event, indeed, when a federal circuit court actually grants a petition for a writ of habeas corpus. The federal habeas corpus standard is fairly unforgiving, granting great deference to lower courts and construing ambiguities in the law against the petitioner.

Owens v. Duncan, however, is a pretty clear-cut case of a defendant who was afforded very little of the process he was due. Judge Richard Posner showed little patience for a case based on "the combination of weak proof with a verdict based on groundless conjecture."

Last week, the Illinois Supreme Court declined to invent a new evidentiary privilege called the "self-critical analysis privilege," suggesting instead that if such a thing were to exist, it would be the state legislature's job to create it.

The case involves the death of a seven-month-old child while the child and her mother were in a state program for reuniting families.

When Elena Fridman authorized her mortgage payment online, she thought she'd met her obligations to pay on time. But her mortgage servicer, NYCB Mortgage Co., disagreed. Because it took NYCB two days to process her payment, they did not consider it received "on time" and charged Fridman a late fee. Fridman sued, and the Seventh Circuit recently ruled that her payment was valid on the day she authorized it.

Under the ruling, mortgage services must credit payments made on their websites at the time the borrower approves it, not at the point they actual electronic transfer of funds is completed.

The U.S. Supreme Court announced on Monday that it is sending the University of Notre Dame's lawsuit over contraception coverage back to the Seventh Circuit for reconsideration. The Catholic university had objected to the Affordable Care Act's "compromise" provisions for religious institutions, which allowed them to opt out of covering their employees' contraception directly.

According to Notre Dame, even the act of opting out was too much and substantially burdened their religious freedom. The Seventh Circuit, which had rejected the argument, must now reconsider it in light of the High Court's ruling in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, which found that tightly held corporations could be exempt from laws based on the religious objections of their owners.

In December 2006, Steven Kallal started using CIBA-brand contact lenses that he received as a sample from his eye doctor. He bought some more and kept using them until May 2007, even though he experienced sharp pain in his eyes.

Unbeknownst to Kallal, CIBA found a flaw in the contact lenses in January 2007 that didn't let enough oxygen reach the cornea. They eventually recalled 11 million contact lenses.

This is a story about the limits of personal injury lawsuits.

If you're looking for treasure troves of interesting Fourth Amendment issues, it seems like your two go-to crimes are drugs and child pornography. This case from the Seventh Circuit involves the latter.

An informant allowed an FBI agent to assume his identity online. The agent corresponded with defendant Michael Borostowski, who offered to provide the agent with child pornography in exchange for a webcam "session" with a child. After receiving the promised pornography, the agent got a warrant to search Borostowski's Yahoo email account, revealing, shockingly, more pornography! This led to a warrant of Borostowski's physical home and some more porn, then a conviction and a 24-year prison sentence.

2014 at the 7th Cir.: So Many Posner Benchslaps

As part of our ongoing year-in-review series across all of FindLaw's Legal Professional blogs, we decided to take a look back at the 10 most popular posts of the past year in the Seventh Circuit.

What posts were a hit with you, our dear readers? Posner. Posner benchslappings. And sanctions slapped down on unsuspecting parties.

Above The Law(Suit): $50M Defamation Claim Can Proceed

Arguably, it was a simple reporting mistake. But that simple mistake could cost legal tabloid-blog Above The Law as much as $50 million.

Meanith Huon, 44, is a Chicago attorney. He was once accused of and charged with rape. A jury, however, made short work of the charges and acquitted him. An ATL blogger, while the case was pending, mistook past news reports about the same incident as prior accusations of rape, falsely branding Huon as a serial rapist with a few careless keystrokes.

Huon responded by branding the reporting mistake as defamation. And earlier this month, a district court judge allowed his claim against ATL to move forward.

In a pair of cases in March, the Illinois Supreme Court unanimously struck down the state's eavesdropping law. Illinois was a two-party consent state, meaning both parties had to consent to the recording. As interpreted by the court, however, the law's fatal flaw was that it also applied to speech made even in a place where people had no privacy expectation -- like out in public.

Apparently not one to say "no," both houses of Illinois' legislature passed a new version of the law that critics say suffers from the same constitutional defects as the old one.

No Tax-Free Cake and Eating Antitrust Protection Too For Motorola

Motorola makes phones. It makes nearly all of those phones in Asia. It buys its components from Asian suppliers. So, for all you 1Ls out there, here is the question: can a U.S. company sue on behalf of its Asian subsidiaries over price fixing that occurred in commerce that was exclusively carried out in Asia?

It is, after all, a U.S. parent company. But the subsidiary companies are Asian and the suppliers are Asian. The answer to this law school hypothetical (and Seventh Circuit case) is a resounding no.