U.S. Seventh Circuit - FindLaw

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

Forced Admitting Privileges on Clinics are Unconstitutional: 7th Cir.

In what could end up being one of the most significant reproductive rights cases in recent history -- that is, if it gets to SCOTUS -- the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ruled that forced admitting privileges on abortion clinics by nearby hospitals was an unconstitutional undue burden on a women's rights.

Requiring admitting privileges has the effect of imposing the standards of local hospitals within a given proximity on clinics that offer abortions, a feature that many pro-life activists have used to advance their cause in so called "TRAP" laws.

7th Cir. Tosses Man's Arson Conviction, Waffles on Lying Charge

The Seventh Circuit overturned a lower court's conviction of a man who was found guilty of arson, but remanded the case with regards to lying to the FBI during the investigation.

Fortunately for the defendant, continued law enforcement officer (LEO) searches of his business went beyond the scope and purpose of the search, underscoring again the very blurry region of "fruit of poisonous tree" and the "purged taint."

'Physician, heal thyself,' the proverb goes. A recent opinion from the Seventh Circuit provides an important addendum: once you're done, get back to work quickly.

The court recently dismissed an ADA suit by a doctor who failed to get back to work tout suite after taking medical leave to deal with his bipolar disorder. Larry Hooper, M.D., was fired for not returning to work after he had been cleared by a psychiatrist and warned by his employer, Proctor Health Care in Peoria, Illinois.

7th Circuit Interprets Proximate Cause in Cat's Paw Case

If you don't know what the Cat's Paw theory of liability is, don't feel bad. It's a reference to an ancient Aesop story where a scheming monkey dupes a cat into harming his paw so that the monkey could reap the benefits of someone's labor and pain.

The 7th Circuit has offered its own interpretation on which defendants can rely without fear of being duped into a costly and headache inducing discrimination lawsuit.

U. of Wisconsin Wins Big Against Apple in Patent Litigation, Returns for More

The University of Wisconsin's Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) convinced a federal jury in the Seventh Circuit yesterday that Apple had infringed on one of its processor patents. The iPhone maker is said to have infringed upon the WARF patent in the A7, A8, and A8X processors that are used heavily in 2013-14 iPads and iPhones.

Now that it has been established that Apple infringed on U of W's patent, the only matter left to be determined are damages. So far, the number that is being bandied about the Internet is a cool $862.4 million. A mere bagatelle considering Apple's coffers.

You may love the sight of dandelions or want to cover your lawn in crabgrass. Maybe bunches of native wildflowers make your heart sing, while sculpted hedges and pedigree roses fail to impress. Well, sorry Mary Mary quiet contrary: your garden isn't allowed to grow that way in Chicago. Unconventional green thumbs can run afoul of the city's weed ordinance, which can lead to daily fines of up to $1,200.

And that's all fine and constitutional, according to a recent Seventh Circuit opinion by Judge Richard Posner. While the court upheld Chicago's ordinance against a constitutional challenge, Posner also pollinated his opinion with photos of flowers and recognized that, in some cases, the humble weed deserves horticultural -- and constitutional -- respect.

It was a sad day in the Seventh Circuit last Tuesday, as Seventh Circuit Judge Richard Cudahy died of natural causes in his home. Judge Cudahy, a Carter appointee, joined the circuit in 1979 and served for a total of 36 years, with 15 years on active status. He was 89 years old.

Judge Cudahy was "unusually productive," his Seventh Circuit bio notes. And though he got his start in the U.S. Air Force and later ran a family meatpacking plant, he made his name as an influential jurist and a respected expert on environmental and energy law. He was a great example of "how to combine intellect with compassion," his former clerk Ralph Weber told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Just in time for Labor Day comes a (relative) success for union organizers. The Seventh Circuit slapped down an auto dealership which threatened its employees against unionizing last Friday. When workers at Libertyville Toyota in Illinois began organizing, the dealership's owner, AutoNation, called them together to warn them against unionizing, saying that they would face wage cuts and blacklisting if they did. AutoNation is the largest auto chain in the country.

One sly employee surreptitiously recorded one of the meetings, conducted by two AutoNation executives. Those recordings lead to the Seventh Circuit's recent ruling against the company.

Non-citizens have a right to bear arms, even if they are in the country illegally, the Seventh Circuit ruled late in August. The ruling overturns a district court finding that the Second Amendment doesn't protect unauthorized aliens. In so holding, the Seventh created a split with the Fourth, Fifth, and Eighth Circuits, all of which have ruled otherwise.

But, there's a catch. While the right to bear arms extends to unauthorized non-citizens in the U.S., the Second Amendment also allows for limits. That includes a federal law banning unauthorized immigrants and nonimmigrant visa holders from possessing firearms, the court concluded.

Another Seventh Circuit judge is in hot water these days, and no, it's not for forgetting a case for a few years this time. Judge Posner, perhaps one of the highest profile judges in the federal courts, minus only those on SCOTUS, came under fire after he did his own Internet research on a case -- and citing Wikipedia in the process.

The case involved a prisoner suing pro se after prison officials took away his medication. His suit was originally tossed out, only to be revived in part because Judge Posner did his own research to show that a genuine factual dispute existed, relying on information that wasn't submitted by the parties or present during trial. As Judge David Hamilton noted in his dissent, that goes beyond the "permissible boundaries" of an appellate court.