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

January 2010 News

US v. Vrdolyak, No. 09-1891

Defendant's conviction for conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and sentence to five years probation, with a community-service obligation but no confinement and a $50,000 fine, is reversed and remanded as, while a judge can give a below-guidelines sentence, the sentence cannot stand if it is based on a legal, factual, or analytic error that is not harmless as it is in this case.  

Read US v. Vrdolyak, No. 09-1891

Appellate Information

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division

Decided January 29, 2010

Judges

Before:  Posner, Manion and Hamilton, Circuit Judges

Opinion by Circuit Judge  Posner

Northern v. Boatwright, No. 08-3272

District court's denial of a petition for habeas relief from a conviction for possessing cocaine with the intent to distribute is affirmed as the state court reasonably applied Strickland when it denied petitioner's ineffective assistance of counsel claim regarding trial counsel based on the amended information. 

Read Northern v. Boatwright, No. 08-3272

Appellate Information

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Western Distirct of Wisconsin

Decided January 29, 2010

Judges

Before: Posner, and, Flaum,  Circuit Judges, and DerYeghiayan, District Judge

Opinion by Circuit Judge  Flaum

In Re: Sprint Nextel Corp., No. 09-8038

In a class action suit against Sprint under the Kansas Unfair Trade and Consumer Protection Act alleging that defendant conspired with other cell phone providers to impose artificially high prices for text-message service, defendant's petition for leave to appeal from a remand order is granted and the order remanding the case to state court is vacated and remanded to give the plaintiffs another opportunity to prove that the proposed class satisfied the requirements of the home-state exception.     

Read In Re: Sprint Nextel Corp., No. 09-8038

Appellate Information

On Petition for Permission to Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division

Decided January 28, 2010

Judges

Before:  FlaumEvans, and Sykes,  Circuit Judges

Opinion by Circuit Judge  Evans

Midwest Title Loans, Inc. v. Mills, No. 09-2083

In a title loan company's suit under 42 U.S.C. section 1983 to enjoin, as a violation of the Commerce Clause, the application to plaintiff of Indiana's version of the Uniform Consumer Credit Code, district court's entry of permanent injunction is affirmed as the fact that the contract is made and executed in Illinois is enough to show that the territorial-application provision violates the commerce clause.    

Read Midwest Title Loans, Inc. v. Mills, No. 09-2083

Appellate Information

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division

Decided January 28, 2010

Judges

Before: Posner,  and Flaum, Circuit Judges, DerYeghiayan

Opinion by Circuit Judge  Posner

Cianciola v. Dittmann, No. 09-1867

District court's denial of defendant's request for habeas relief from a conviction for sexual assault of a child is affirmed where defendant's Sixth Amendment ineffective assistance of counsel claim fails as he falls short of establishing that he was prejudiced by anything his trial counsel did or didn't do.  

Read Cianciola v. Dittmann, No. 09-1867

Appellate Information

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin

Decided January 28, 2010

Judges

Before: Easterbrook. Chief Judge, and  Evans, and Williams, Circuit Judges

Opinion by Circuit Judge  Evans

US v. Eubanks, No. 09-1029

District court's imposition of a sentence on a defendant convicted of robbery and related crimes is affirmed in part, vacated in part and remanded where: 1) the sentence under 18 U.S.C. section 924(c) accounted for all of the guns possessed, carried, or used by defendant and the co-defendant in relation to the robbery, including the plastic B.B. gun, thus the district court's four-level enhancement under U.S.S.G. section 2B3.1(b)(2)(D) was impermissible double counting; 2) a six-level enhancement for otherwise using the firearm was appropriate as district court's factual finding was not clearly erroneous; 3) district court's bodily injury enhancement was proper; 4) district court erred by enhancing defendant's offense levels four points for abduction; 5) district court correctly calculated defendant's criminal history; and 6) because the district court's errors in calculating the guideline range may have affected the sentence imposed, the errors are not harmless.     

Read US v. Eubanks, No. 09-1029

Appellate Information

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Western Division

Decided January 28, 2010

Judges

Before:  Bauer, and Sykes, Circuit Judges, and Simon, District Judge

Opinion by District Judge Simon

Canto v. Holder, No. 08-4272

Petition for review of the BIA's finding that petitioner is deportable due to his conviction of counterfeiting over two decades ago is denied where: 1) 8 U.S.C. section 1101(a)(43) does not violate the equal protection component of the Due Process Clause; and 2) Immigration Code section 212(c) is not impermissibly retroactive as aliens who went to trial did not forgo any rights in reliance on the continued existence of the section.   

Read Canto v. Holder, No. 08-4272

Appellate Information

On Petition for Review of a Final Order of the Board of Immigration Appeals

Decided January 28, 2010

Judges

Before: Easterbrook. Chief Judge, Williams, and Tinder, Circuit Judges

Opinion by Circuit Judge Williams

Ellison v. Acevedo, No. 08-2977

District court's denial of defendant's petition for habeas relief from a conviction for the first-degree murder of a four-month-old infant and sentence to 60 years in prison is affirmed as the record does not support defendant's contention that state courts unreasonably applied clearly established federal law in rejecting his claims.  

Read Ellison v. Acevedo, No. 08-2977

Appellate Information

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division

Decided January 28, 2010

Judges

Before:  Kanne,  and Tinder, Circuit Judges, and Griesbach

Opinion by District Judge  Griesbach

Gayton v. McCoy, No. 08-2187

In plaintiff's suit against prison officials and nurses on behalf of decedent who died while detained at a county jail, district court's judgment is affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded where: 1) a doctor's testimony was properly excluded as it relates to the effect of the county jail's failure to provide the decedent with her medications, but his testimony regarding the adequate standard of medical care in prisons and the effect that decedent's vomiting may have had on her heart condition should not have been excluded; 2) district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of one of the nurses is reversed and remanded because a jury could find that her inaction amounted to deliberate indifference to a serious medical need of decedent's; 3) district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of remaining defendants is affirmed; and 4) because plaintiff has failed to develop any argument relating to the district court's award of summary judgment to the defendants on a state law claim, any objection to the court's decision on those claims have been waived.     

Read Gayton v. McCoy, No. 08-2187

Appellate Information

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois

Decided January 28, 2010

Judges

Before:  Flaum, and Williams, Circuit Judges, and Lawrence, District Judge

Opinion by Circuit Judge Williams

Bergquist v. Mann Bracken, LLP, No. 09-8046

In plaintiff's action seeking to set aside a judgment enforcing an arbitration award against her initiated by a law firm hired by her credit card company to collect the debt, district court's decision to remand the case after defendants removed the case under the Class Action Fairness Act is vacated and remanded where: 1) the Rooker-Feldman doctrine does not apply to plaintiff's claim where she is no longer a state-court loser, as the state judiciary itself vacated its decision enforcing the arbitration award; and 2) the district court must determine whether the jurisdictional requirements of the 2005 Act have been met and, if they have been, for the certification of an appropriate class and decision on the merits.       

Read Bergquist v. Mann Bracken, LLP, No. 09-8046

Appellate Information

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division

Decided January 27, 2010

Judges

Before:  Easterbrook, Chief Judge, Bauer and Rovner, Circuit Judges

Opinion by Chief Judge Easterbrook

US v. Warren, No. 09-1228

Conviction of a defendant for bank robbery and using a firearm during a robbery at the second trial after the jury in the first trial was unable to reach a verdict is affirmed where: 1) double jeopardy did not bar defendant's second trial as defendant has not shown any error, let alone plain error, in the district court's decision to discharge the first jury; and 2) the circumstantial evidence supports a finding of guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.       

Read US v. Warren, No. 09-1228

Appellate Information

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, Fort Wayne Division

Decided January 27, 2010

Judges

Before:  Easterbrook, Chief Judge, Manion, and Tinder, Circuit Judges

Opinion by Circuit Judge Tinder

US v. Mays, No. 09-1767

District court's conviction of defendant pursuant to his unconditional guilty plea to possession of a firearm by a felon is affirmed where: 1) the district court did not abuse its discretion in holding that a potential change in Fourth Amendment law posed by Gant did not constitute a fair and just reason for permitting defendant to withdraw his guilty plea; and 2) defendant's sentence was based on reliable information and was substantively reasonable.  

Read US v. Mays, No. 09-1767

Appellate Information

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin

Decided January 27, 2010

Judges

Before: Manion, Sykes and Tinder, Circuit Judges

Opinion by Circuit Judge Manion

US v. Huddleston, No. 08-2895

District court's conviction of defendant for drug and firearm related offenses is affirmed where: 1) the warrantless search fell within the exigent circumstances exception to the warrant requirement; and 2) there was ample evidence to support defendant's conviction.     

Read US v. Huddleston, No. 08-2895

Appellate Information

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois

Decided January 27, 2010

Judges

Before: Kanne and  Evans, Circuit Judges, and Dow, District Judge

Opinion by District Judge, Dow

US v. Dismuke, No. 08-1693

Conviction of defendant for being a felon in possession of a firearm and sentence to a statutorily mandated 15-year prison term based on three prior convictions is affirmed where: 1) the guns at issue were properly admitted at trial and an affidavit contained enough independent corroboration to support probable cause to search defendant's home; and 2) Wisconsin's vehicular-fleeing offense qualifies as a violent felony under the ACCA.    

Read US v. Dismuke, No. 08-1693

Appellate Information

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin

Decided January 27, 2010

Judges

Before: Wood,  Kanne and Sykes, Circuit Judges

Opinion by Circuit Judge  Sykes

McGee v. Bartow, No. 07-3278

In defendant's action for habeas relief claiming that his civil commitment as a sexually violent person (SVP) deprives him of his right to due process of law, denial of the writ but issuance of certificate of appealability is affirmed as the diagnoses of two mental health professionals which were constitutionally adequate under existing Supreme Court precedent, and the evidence upon which the diagnoses were based, afforded the Wisconsin committing court an adequate basis, under the Due Process Clause, to order defendant's commitment.    

Read McGee v. Bartow, No. 07-3278

Appellate Information

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin

Decided January 27, 2010

Judges

Before:  Ripple, Kanne and Tinder, Circuit Judges

Opinion by Circuit Judge  Ripple

Corcoran v. Levenhagen, No. 07-2093

On remand from reversal of district court's grant of habeas relief on defendant's Sixth Amendment claim, district court's conditional grant of defendant's petition for a writ of habeas corpus is affirmed where: 1) defendant's challenge to the state trial court's sentencing process has obvious merit, as the trial court did not consider non-statutory aggravators in the balancing process used to determine defendant's death sentence, obviously in error; and 2) defendant's habeas claims actually before the court are meritless and the claims defendant declined to pursue are waived.      

Read Corcoran v. Levenhagen, No. 07-2093

Appellate Information

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, South Bend Division

Decided January 27, 2010

Judges

Before:  Bauer, WIlliams and Sykes, Circuit Judges

Opinion by Circuit Judge  Bauer

US v. Isaacs, No. 08-2876

District court's conviction of defendant, a wireless telephone store owner, of fraudulently using unauthorized access devices in violation of 18 U.S.C. section 1029(a)(2) is affirmed where: 1) district court acted within its discretion in denying defendant's motion to continue the trial for thirty days as he has failed to show that there were any material differences in the underlying data contained in the new set of CDs he received shortly before trial, so as to cause him any prejudice; 2) because the government complied with Rule 1006, the district court properly admitted the summary exhibits into evidence; 3) district court did not abuse its discretion in limiting defendant's cross-examination of witness; and 4) defendant's argument that he has presented three clear errors made by the district court constituting cumulative errors is without merit. 

Read US v. Isaacs, No. 08-2876

Appellate Information

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division

Decided January 25, 2010

Judges

Before: Kanne, and Sykes, Circuit Judges, and Van Bokkelen, District Judge

Opinion by District Judge Van Bokkelen

US v. McDonald, No. 08-2703

District court's imposition of an enhanced sentence on a defendant convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm, based on prior convictions, is vacated and remanded where: 1) under Begay and Woods, defendant's conviction for first-degree reckless injury does not qualify as a crime of violence for purposes of section 2K2.1(a)(2); and 2) defendant's second-degree sexual assault conviction should not have been used to increase his offense level under section 2K2.1(a). 

Read US v. McDonald, No. 08-2703

Appellate Information

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisaconsin

Decided January 25, 2010

Judges

Before: Kanne, Wood, and Sykes, Circuit Judges

Opinion by Circuit Judge  Sykes

Singer v. Raemisch, No. 07-3400

In an inmate's 42 U.S.C. section 1983 action against prison officials alleging that the confiscation of his Dungeons and Dragons game materials and imposition of a ban on D&D play violated his First Amendment right to free speech and his Fourteenth Amendment rights to due process and equal protection, district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the prison officials is affirmed as, despite the inmate's large quantum of affidavit testimony asserting that D&D is not associated with gangs and that the game can improve inmate rehabilitation, he has failed to demonstrate a genuine issue of material fact concerning the reasonableness of the relationship between the ban and the prison's clearly legitimate penological interests. 

Read Singer v. Raemisch, No. 07-3400

Appellate Information

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin

Decided January 25, 2010

Judges

Before: Easterbrook. Chief Judge, Williams and Tinder, Circuit Judges

Opinion by Circuit Judge  Tinder

Cunningham Charter Corp. v. Learjet, Inc., No. 09-8042

In plaintiffs' lawsuit asserting claims for breach of warranty and products liability on behalf of itself and other buyers of Learjets, denial of plaintiffs' motion to certify two classes and an order to remand the case back to the state court on the ground that the denial of the class certification eliminated subject-matter jurisdiction under the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 (CAFA) is reversed and remanded as federal jurisdiction under the Class Action Fairness Act does not depend on certification. 

Read Cunningham Charter Corp. v. Learjet, Inc., No. 09-8042

Appellate Information

Petition for Leave to Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois

Decided January 22, 2010

Judges

Before: Posner, Coffey, and Flaum, Circuit Judges

Opinion by Circuit Judge  Posner

Doe-2 v. McLean County Unit Dist. No. 5, No. 09-1936

In plaintiff's action against a county school district under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. section 1681(a), alleging that defendants knew that an elementary school teacher sexually harassed students at another county but allowed him to obtain a teaching job at another school, district court's dismissal of the complaint is affirmed where: 1) at the time the teacher abused the plaintiff, the defendants lacked the requisite control over him to establish deliberate indifference liability under Title IX; and 2) defendants did not owe a duty to plaintiff enforceable under Illinois tort law.  

Read Doe-2 v. McLean County Unit Dist. No. 5, No. 09-1936

Appellate Information

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois

Decided January 22, 2010

Judges

Before: Wood, Cudahy and Tinder, Circuit Judges

Opinion by Circuit Judge  Tinder

US v. Pappas, No. 09-1595

In a prosecution for possession of child pornography, grant of defendant's motion to suppress evidence seized during a search of his home, as well as statements he made during the execution of the search warrant is reversed where: 1) even if probable cause did not support issuance of the warrant, the federal agent demonstrated a prima facie case of good faith by obtaining a warrant in the first instance; and 2) although there was some delay between the transmission of child pornography to defendant and the issuance of the warrant, the delay was not so great as to overcome the presumption of good faith, nor was there anything impermissible in including information related to the practices of child pornography "collectors" given that numerous images of child pornography were sent to defendant.   

Read US v. Pappas, No. 09-1595

Appellate Information

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin

Decided January 21, 2010

Judges

Before: Easterbrook. Chief Judge, Manion and Tinder, Circuit Judges

Opinion by Circuit Judge  Manion

Bennett v. Gaetz, No. 08-3262

Denial of a habeas petition from a conviction for possession of a stolen vehicle is affirmed as defendant failed to establish a prima facie case of racial discrimination under Batson.     

Read Bennett v. Gaetz, No. 08-3262

Appellate Information

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division

Decided January 21, 2010

Judges

Before: Williams, Tinder, and Ripple, Circuit Judges

Opinion by Circuit Judge  Tinder

Ray v. Boatwright, No. 08-2825

Denial of defendant's petition for habeas relief is reversed and remanded where: 1) the detective testifying to the co-actors' statements violated defendant's right of confrontation; 2) the statements were inadmissible under Roberts as they neither fell within a firmly rooted hearsay exception nor did they contain particularized guarantees of trustworthiness; 3) the error in admitting statements by the nontestifying co-actors was plain and defendant's substantial rights were affected; and 4) defendant's petition is determined to be timely.  

Read Ray v. Boatwright, No. 08-2825

Appellate Information

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin

Decided January 21, 2010

Judges

Before: Bauer, Williams, and Manion, Circuit Judges

Opinion by Circuit Judge  Bauer

US v. Mann, No. 08-3041

District court's conviction of defendant for possessing child pornography, supported by evidence found while executing a warrant to search defendant's computers and hard drives for unrelated crime of voyeurism, is affirmed as, although the officer exceeded the scope of the warrant by opening certain files, those files are severable from the remaining files seized.  

Read US v. Mann, No. 08-3041

Appellate Information

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division

Decided January 20, 2010

Judges

Before: Rovner, Evans, and Tinder, Circuit Judges

Opinion by Circuit Judge  Rovner

Reger Dev. LLC v. Nat'l City Bank, No. 09-2821

In plaintiff's breach of contract action against the defendant-Bank involving loans through a revolving line of credit supported by a promissory note, district court's dismissal of the complaint is affirmed where: 1) the note entitles defendant to demand payment from plaintiff at will; and 2) plaintiff has failed to establish the intent element of his fraud claim.   

Read Reger Dev. LLC v. Nat'l City Bank, No. 09-2821

Appellate Information

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division

Decided January 20, 2010

Judges

Before: Flaum, Williams, and Sykes, Circuit Judges

Opinion by Circuit Judge  Flaum

US v. Mitten, No. 09-1758

District court's sentence and conviction of a defendant for possessing five grams or more of crack cocaine with intent to distribute and unlawful possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime is affirmed where: 1) the affidavit was not so lacking in probable cause that the officer could not have believed the warrant was valid; 2) jury had sufficient evidence to conclude that the gun was possessed in furtherance of the drug trafficking crime; and 3) defendant's argument that the minimum ten-year sentence to which he was subject on the underlying drug trafficking crime rendered him exempt from section 924(c)'s consecutive sentence scheme is foreclosed by prior holding in Easter.   

Read US v. Mitten, No. 09-1758

Appellate Information

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois

Decided January 20, 2010

Judges

Before: Kanne,  and Tinder, Circuit Judges, and Griesbach, District Judge

Opinion by District Judge Griesbach

Bayo v. Napolitano, No. 07-1069

A Guinean citizen's petition for review of Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) administrative order of removal is denied where: 1) the government was entitled to select overstay under the terms of the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) as the ground for removing the petitioner; 2) an alien's waiver through the VWP of the due process rights to which he or she would otherwise be entitled must be done both knowingly and voluntarily, but here, petitioner cannot establish that he was prejudiced even if he had known what the waiver said; and 3) petitioner's adjustment-of-status application is barred by his valid VWP waiver or by the fact that in the absence of a waiver he never would have entered the United States in the first place.   

Read Bayo v. Napolitano, No. 07-1069

Appellate Information

On Petition for Review of a Final Order of the Department of Homeland Security

Decided January 20, 2010

Judges

Before: Easterbrook. Chief Judge, and Bauer, Posner, Coffey, Flaum, Kanne, Rovner, Wood, Evans, Williams, Sykes, and Tinder, Circuit Judges

Opinion by Circuit Judge  Wood

US v. Johnson, No. 09-1912

Defendant's conviction for drug related crimes is vacated in part, affirmed in part and remanded where: 1) defendant's conspiracy conviction is vacated as a drug purchaser does not enter into a conspiracy with his supplier by reselling the drugs to his own customers, as a conspiracy requires evidence that the buyer and seller entered into an agreement to commit a crime other than the crime that consists of the sale itself; 2) defendant's remaining convictions are affirmed as there was sufficient evidence to affirm the jury's verdict  for possession of cocaine with intent to distribute and using a telephone to facilitate a drug felony; and 3) defendant's 72-month sentence is vacated and remanded as it hinged largely on his conspiracy conviction. 

Read US v. Johnson, No. 09-1912

Appellate Information

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division

Decided January 15, 2010

Judges

Before: Flaum, Sykes and Posner, Circuit Judges

Opinion by Circuit Judge Sykes

Gastineau v. Wright, No. 09-1003

District court's award of $53,305.00 in attorney's fees rather than plaintiffs' attorney's request for $140,290.00 in an action under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, is affirmed as the district court's conclusion was not clearly erroneous in finding that, although the attorney negotiated a final settlement, it was inappropriate that a substantial portion of the hours billed were to compensate him for learning the area of the law, as he became involved so late in the case. 

Read Gastineau v. Wright, No. 09-1003

Appellate Information

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division

Decided January 15, 2010

Judges

Before:  Kanne and Tinder, Circuit Judges, and Griesbach, District Judge

Opinion by Circuit Judge Kanne

US v. Gregory, No. 09-2735

Conviction and sentence on a defendant as a career offender for multiple drug related crimes is affirmed as, although the defendant's status as a career criminal has had the effect of more than doubling his guideline range from 120-135 up to 262-327 months' imprisonment, there is no error in the district court's decisions that led to it.     

Read US v. Gregory, No. 09-2735

Appellate Information

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division

Decided January 14, 2010

Judges

Before:  Cudahy, Wood and Evans, Circuit Judges

Opinion by Circuit Judge Wood

US v. Clinton, No. 09-2464

District court's conviction and imposition of an enhanced sentence on a defendant for unlawful possession of a firearm by a convicted felon is affirmed where: 1) the police's search was reasonable and a gun thus was admissible because there was probable cause to search the car, defendant consented to the search, and the police would inevitably have discovered the gun during an inventory search of the vehicle; and 2) the district court acted properly in finding that defendant had been previously convicted of a crime of violence under the Guidelines. 

Read US v. Clinton, No. 09-2464

Appellate Information

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division

Decided January 15, 2010

Judges

Before:  Bauer, Kanne and Tinder, Circuit Judges

Opinion by Circuit Judge Bauer

Serwatka v. Rockwell Automation, Inc., No. 08-4010

In plaintiff's employment discrimination action against her former employer under the ADA, judgment of the district court in favor of the plaintiff is vacated and remanded where: 1) although the jury agreed with plaintiff that defendant's perception of her limitations contributed to the discharge, it also found that it would have terminated plaintiff notwithstanding the improper consideration of her disability, and therefore, relief is not available to plaintiff under the ADA; and 2) district court's decision to award plaintiff declaratory and injunctive relief along with a portion of her attorney's fees and costs cannot be sustained as the relief awarded was premised solely on the jury's mixed-motive finding, and given the lack of a provision in the ADA recognizing mixed-motive claims, such claims do not entitle a plaintiff to relief for disability discrimination.     

Read Serwatka v. Rockwell Automation, Inc., No. 08-4010

Appellate Information

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin

Decided January 15, 2010

Judges

Before:  Rovner and Evans, Circuit Judges, and Van Bokkelen

Opinion by Circuit Judge Rovner

Ortega v. Holder, No. 08-3642

In an action for a declaration of nationality pursuant to 8 U.S.C. section 1503(a), district court's grant of the government's motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction is reversed and remanded as the language of section 1503(a)(1), read within the context of section 1503(a) and also read in conjunction with related provisions of Title 8, makes it clear that Congress intended individuals to pursue one of two routes to establish claims for nationality. Specifically, individuals can file an administrative application for a certificate of citizenship, which if denied, could be pursued by way of an action under 8 U.S.C. section 1503(a). 

Read Ortega v. Holder, No. 08-3642

Appellate Information

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division

Decided January 15, 2010

Judges

Before:  Ripple, Flaum and Sykes, Circuit Judges

Opinion by Circuit Judge Ripple

US v. Boyd, No. 09-2067

District court's denial of a defendant's Apprendi challenge in a motion filed under 28 U.S.C. section 2255 is affirmed but the motion should have been dismissed rather than denied as the district court has no jurisdiction to entertain a successive section 2255 motion without the consent of the court of appeals, which was not sought or given in this case, and defendant's second motion was in substance and therefore in law a section 2255 motion.   

Read US v. Boyd, No. 09-2067

Appellate Information

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division

Decided January 14, 2010

Judges

Before:  Ripple, and Posner and Rovner, Circuit Judges

Opinion by Circuit Judge Posner

US v. Hatfield, No. 09-1705

District court's conviction and imposition of life sentences on defendants for conspiracy to burglarize pharmacies and to distribute controlled substances, the use of which resulted in four deaths plus a serious bodily injury to a fifth user of the defendants' drugs, is reversed and remanded as, district court's jury instruction regarding the term "results from" was an error that was not harmless because the evidence regarding the cause of the serious injury of the one victim and the deaths of the others, though strong enough to justify a verdict of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, was not conclusive.   

Read US v. Hatfield, No. 09-1705

Appellate Information

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois

Decided January 14, 2010

Judges

Before:  Flaum and Posner, Circuit Judges, and Der-Yeghiayan

Opinion by Circuit Judge Posner

US v. Stotler, No. 08-4258

District court's conviction of a defendant for attempted possession of pseudoephedrine with intent to manufacture methamphetamine and related crimes is affirmed where: 1) considering the totality of the circumstances, the district judge was correct in finding that probable cause existed to search the truck because it was reasonable to believe that it contained evidence of, at the very least, an attempt to possess materials needed for making meth, and because probable cause existed, the search of the truck was authorized under the automobile exception to the warrant requirement; 2) a security video of defendant purchasing large quantities of pseudoephedrine in another state in 2005 was properly admitted under 404(b) as it was admissible for whatever bearing it might have on a crucial issue in the case, such as defendant's intent on the day of his arrest.   

Read US v. Stotler, No. 08-4258

Appellate Information

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois

Decided January 14, 2010

Judges

Before:  Evans and Sykes, Circuit Judges, and Simon, District Judge

Opinion by Circuit Judge Evans

LaFary v. Rogers Group, Inc., No. 09-1139

In plaintiff's suit against her former employer for age and sex discrimination and retaliation after she was let go for taking more than six months of leave necessitated by complications with her pregnancy, district court's grant of defendant's motion for summary judgment on all counts is affirmed where: 1) district court properly granted motion for summary judgment on plaintiff's claim that a transfer was motivated by pregnancy discrimination as she has not presented evidence that would support a finding that her employer knew that she was pregnant when he decided the transfer; and 2) plaintiff's evidence falls short of raising a genuine issue of fact on her claim that defendant's decisions to terminate her employment and then not to rehire her violated Title VII's prohibitions against pregnancy discrimination and retaliation.     

Read LaFary v. Rogers Group, Inc., No. 09-1139

Appellate Information

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division

Decided January 12, 2010

Judges

Before: Flaum, Sykes and Wood, Circuit Judges

Opinion by Circuit Judge Wood

Carr v. Tillery, No. 09-1124

In an attorney-plaintiff's RICO suit against his former law partners involving a dispute over the division of legal fees in cases handled by the law firm, dismissal of the entire case on the ground that the claims are precluded by judgments in previous suits by him against the same defendants is affirmed, but on the basis of Illinois's one-refiling rule rather than res judicata, which would not bar a claim that the defendants had violated the Memorandum of Understanding.  Also, defendants' motion for sanctions should not have been denied where, although the suit is not frivolous, it is so lacking in merit that its pursuit by the plaintiff indicates a motive to harass.   

Read Carr v. Tillery, No. 09-1124

Appellate Information

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois

Decided January 12, 2010

Judges

Before:  Ripple, and Posner and Wood, Circuit Judges

Opinion by Circuit Judge Posner

US v. Lane, No. 09-1057

Conviction of defendant for conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine and related crimes is affirmed where: 1) district court did not commit plain error in admitting officer testimony regarding firsthand knowledge; 2) there was more than enough evidence for the jury to find defendant guilty of possession with intent to distribute; 3) it was improper for a witness to mention defendant's criminal history, but the district judge exercised proper discretion in not sua sponte declaring a mistrial; and 4) defendant's argument that the district court miscalculated the applicable drug weight and subsequent guidelines offense level is irrelevant as the district court did not use the guidelines to arrive at the sentence but relied on credible testimony and government evidence.  

Read US v. Lane, No. 09-1057

Appellate Information

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois

Decided January 12, 2010

Judges

Before:  Evan and Sykes, Circuit Judges, and Der-Yeghuayan, District Judge

Opinion by Circuit Judge Evans

US v. Turner, No. 08-3109

Conviction of defendant for dealing crack cocaine is affirmed where: 1) the district court did not commit error in allowing a forensic chemist's testimony at defendant's trial; and 2) the court did not abuse its discretion in admitting evidence of drugs without witness testimony as to how the drugs were handled during testing.  

Read US v. Turner, No. 08-3109

Appellate Information

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin

Decided January 12, 2010

Judges

Before:  Rovner and Evans, Circuit Judges, and Van Bokkelen, District Judge

Opinion by Van Bokkelen, District Judge

US v. Cooper, No. 08-4021

Defendant's conviction and sentence for conspiring to distribute and possess with intent to distribute more than 100 grams of heroin is affirmed where: 1) the district court did not abuse its discretion when it permitted defendant to represent himself, and defendant must be held to the choice he made; 2) although it is regrettable that the court did not explain a shackling decision, there is no plain error; 3) although the court erred in admitting evidence of overdose by defendant's clients, the error was harmless; and 4) although some errors were made by the district court, imposition of a life sentence was substantively reasonable as the errors were harmless. 

Read US v. Cooper, No. 08-4021

Appellate Information

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois

Decided January 11, 2010

Judges

Before:  Easterbrook, Chief Judge, and Posner and Wood, Circuit Judges

Opinion by Circuit Judge Wood

Gilbert v. Illinois State Bd. Educ., No. 08-3678

In plaintiff's action against the Board of Education of a High School District arising from his discharge as a high school social studies teacher and subsequent proceedings, district court's dismissal of his current action is affirmed where: 1) the district court correctly decided that plaintiff's case is barred by the Rooker-Feldman doctrine; and 2) the judge did not abuse his discretion in dismissing plaintiff's third amended complaint for declaratory relief in concluding that plaintiff's complaint failed to state an injury that was redressable, since subsequent events had cured whatever ambiguity there may have been in the state's procedures.     

Read Gilbert v. Illinois State Bd. Educ., No. 08-3678

Appellate Information

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division

Decided January 11, 2010

Judges

Before:  Easterbrook, Chief Judge, and Posner and Wood, Circuit Judges

Opinion by Circuit Judge Wood

In an ERISA action by a multiemployer employee welfare fund (Plan) against an employer for deficient contributions, district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the Plan is affirmed where: 1) the Plan properly brought suit under ERISA as Congress has provided that plans can sue and be sued and that fiduciaries may enforce substantive rights under 29 U.S.C. section 1132(e); and 2) the employer is liable for the deficient contributions for July, August, and December 2006, and January and February 2007, as it treats as irrelevant the fact that its course of conduct - making payments precisely in accordance with the 2005 collective bargaining agreement from the start - demonstrates its assent to that agreement.   

Read Line Constr. Benefit Fund v. Allied Elec. Contractors, Inc., No. 09-1546

Appellate Information

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division

Decided January 8, 2010

Judges

Before: Cudahy, Wood, and  Tinder, Circuit Judges

Opinion by Circuit Judge Wood

US v. Kilgore, No. 09-1277

District court's conviction and imposition of a 92 months' sentence on a defendant for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon is affirmed where: 1) the district court was correct in finding that defendant could not avail himself of a justification defense, given the uncontested facts that he had possession of a loaded weapon for over an hour, failed to exhaust all legal avenues open to him and carried the gun outside the apartment; and 2) the within-Guidelines sentence imposed by the court was reasonable.   

Read US v. Kilgore, No. 09-1277

Appellate Information

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin

Decided January 8, 2010

Judges

Before: Cudahy, Wood and Sykes, Circuit Judges

Opinion by Circuit Judge  Cudahy

Haile v. Holder, No. 08-4187

Petitioner for review the Board of Immigration Appeal's denial of an Ethiopian citizen's request for asylum is granted and remanded as, from the correct premise that a change of citizenship incident to a change in national boundaries is not persecution per se, it does not follow that taking away a person's citizenship because of his religion or ethnicity is not persecution. And here, if Ethiopia denationalized the petitioner because of his Eritrean ethnicity, it did so because of hostility to Eritreans, and the analogy to the Nazi treatment of Jews is close enough to suggest that his denationalization was persecution and created a presumption that he has a well-founded fear of being persecuted should he be returned to Ethiopia.   

Read Haile v. Holder, No. 08-4187

Appellate Information

Petition for Review of an Order of the Board of Immigration Appeals

Decided January 6, 2010

Judges

Before:  Posner, Rovner, and Kanne, Circuit Judges

Opinion by Circuit Judge Posner

Milanouic v. Holder, No. 08-3710

Board of Immigration Appeal's denial of an ethnic Serb's request for withholding of removal is affirmed as, there is adequate evidence to support the IJ's determination that the removal of Slobodan Milosevic constituted a change in country conditions sufficient to rebut the presumption of future persecution.   

Read Milanouic v. Holder, No. 08-3710

Appellate Information

Petition for Review of an Order of the Board of Immigration Appeals

Decided January 6, 2010

Judges

Before:  Rovner, Manion and  Wood, Circuit Judges

Opinion by Circuit Judge, Rovner

Wells v. Ryker, No. 08-2906

In habeas proceedings of a defendant convicted of aggravated battery and attempted murder when he chased his ex-girlfriend onto a city bus, stabbing her and a passenger multiple times, district court's denial of his habeas petition is affirmed where: 1) a motion for an extension of time to seek a certificate of appealability in this instance suffices to serve as the functional equivalent of a notice of appeal; and 2) defendant's ineffective assistance of counsel claim is simply without merit.   

Read Wells v. Ryker, No. 08-2906

Appellate Information

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division

Decided January 6, 2010

Judges

Before: Posner, Manion and  Tinder, Circuit Judges

Opinion by Circuit Judge Tinder

Bivens v. Trent, No. 08-2256

In plaintiff's 42 U.S.C. section 1983 action against his Illinois State Police supervisors claiming that they retaliated against him because he complained about the conditions at the firing range, district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the defendants is affirmed but based on a different reason that plaintiff's internal grievance was on a matter of purely private interest, addressing only the effect of lead contamination on himself and his work environment, it did not raise a matter of public concern and is not protected by the First Amendment.   

Read Bivens v. Trent, No. 08-2256

Appellate Information

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois

Decided January 6, 2010

Judges

Before: Posner, Manion and Evans, Circuit Judges

Opinion by Circuit Judge Manion

US v. Carrillo-Esparza, No. 08-3863

District court's imposition of 90-months' imprisonment on a defendant convicted of illegally re-entering the US with two prior convictions for aggravated felonies is affirmed as the district court implicitly considered and rejected defendant's argument for a reduced sentence and properly considered the sentencing factors in 18 U.S.C. section 3553(a).  

Read US v. Carrillo-Esparza, No. 08-3863

Appellate Information

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division

Decided January 4, 2010

Judges

Before: Ripple, Manion and Kanne, Circuit Judges

Per Curium Opinion

Wisconsin Alumni Research Found. v. Xenon Pharm., Inc., No. 08-1351

In a contract case involving an exclusive license to commercialize a jointly patented enzyme that can lower cholesterol levels, judgment of the district court is affirmed in part, reversed in part and remanded where: 1) district court properly granted summary judgment for the plaintiff on a breach-of-contract claim as defendant breached its license agreement by granting a sublicense in the the jointly patented enzyme to a third party without paying plaintiff its share of the sublicense fees; 2) district court should not have voided the plaintiff's attempt to terminate the agreement as it was entitled to and properly terminated the agreement based on defendant's breach; and 3) district court erroneously entered judgment for defendant on the issue of plaintiff's claim to an ownership interest in the compounds as under the web of contracts at issue in the case, the plaintiff was entitled to a declaration of its ownership interest in the compounds.     

Read Wisconsin Alumni Research Found. v. Xenon Pharm., Inc., No. 08-1351

Appellate Information

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin

Decided January 5, 2010

Judges

Before: Easterbrook, Chief Judge, and Bauer and Sykes, Circuit Judges

Opinion by Circuit Judge Sykes

Avila v. Pappas, No. 09-1865

In plaintiff's 42 U.S.C. section 1983 suit against a county Treasurer and staff, following the acquittal of her criminal prosecution for allegedly making threats against a public official, judgment of the district court in rejecting the federal-law theories and resolving the state-law theories in favor of the defendants is vacated and remanded with instructions to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction as, prior decision inescapably render plaintiff's federal theories frivolous and a veneer of constitutional phraseology on top of a state tort claim cannot justify its adjudication in federal court.   

Read Avila v. Pappas, No. 09-1865

Appellate Information

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division

Decided January 4, 2010

Judges

Before: Easterbrook, Chief Judge, and Wood and Tinder, Circuit Judges

Opinion by Chief Judge, Easterbrook

Rever v. Acevedo, No. 09-1156

District court's denial of defendant's request for habeas relief is affirmed as he failed to rebut the state trial court's factual finding that he presented insufficient evidence to show that the appellate counsel's failure to raise the issue of competence prejudiced him.   

Read Rever v. Acevedo, No. 09-1156

Appellate Information

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois

Decided January 4, 2010

Judges

Before: Flaum, Wood and Kanne, Circuit Judges

Per Curium Opinion