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

September 2010 News

Stayart v. Yahoo! Inc., 09-3379

Stayart v. Yahoo! Inc., 09-3379, concerned a challenge to the district court's dismissal of the complaint on the ground that plaintiff lacked standing under the Lanham Act to sue for trademark infringement, in plaintiff's suit against Yahoo! and others for trademark infringement and various other state law claims, claiming that search results that appear with her name improperly gave her endorsement to pornography and online pharmaceuticals.  In affirming the dismissal, the court held that plaintiff does not have standing under the Lanham Act to bring suit because she does not have a commercial interest in her name.  The court also held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying plaintiff's leave to re-file.

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US v. Glosser, 08-4015, concerned a state's challenge to the district court's imposition of a 121-month sentence in a prosecution of defendant for possessing more than 500 grams of methamphetamine.  In vacating the sentence, the court remanded the case as the district court committed procedural error by announcing and promising that it would impose the mandatory minimum sentence during the change of plea hearing, before it knew the advisory guidelines range or had heard either party's argument regarding the sentence.

 

Judge v. Quinn, 10-2836

Judge v. Quinn, 10-2836, concerned a challenge to the district court's entry of permanent injunction ordering Governor Quinn, of Illinois, to issue a writ of election that would call for a special election on November 2, 2010, and thereby effectively preventing Senator Burris from participating in the special election, in the Illinois Senator's challenge to an election procedure for filling President Barak Obama's seat in the U.S. Senate.

 

US v. Orr, 08-2267, concerned a challenge to a conviction of defendant for attempting to persuade or induce a minor to travel in interstate commerce to engage in sexual activity and using a facility of interstate commerce to do so, arising from online communications with an undercover police officer.  In affirming the conviction, the court held that any attempt by defendant to assert entrapment during trial would have been futile because it is well settled that, absent extraordinary promises, making a defendant a criminal offer does not constitute government inducement, and all factors indicate that defendant was predisposed to commit the charged offense.

 

US v. Araujo, 09-1479

US v. Araujo, 09-1479, concerned a challenge to the district court's imposition of a minimum recommended term of 235 months, in a prosecution of defendant for trafficking 30 or more kilograms of heroin.  In affirming, the court held that the district court did not clearly err in finding defendant responsible for the distribution of 30 or more kilograms of heroin and setting his based offense level at 38, and as such, the sentence the court imposed was within the advisory range corresponding to that offense level and therefore presumptively reasonable.

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Spivey v. Adaptive Mktg. LLC., 09-3619, involved a plaintiff's suit for breach of contract and unjust enrichment in connection with his purchase of an Atkins diet product.  The court affirmed the district court's grant of defendant's motion for summary judgment as, the voluntary payment doctrine applies in this case and precludes plaintiff from recovering the payments to defendant as, in the five years during which the charges appeared on plaintiff's credit card bills, he made no effort to discover the nature of the charge to his credit card and paid it in silence.

 

US v. Ellis, 08-2512

US v. Ellis, 08-2512, concerned a challenge to a defendant's convictions for firearm related crimes in Indiana and in Illinois district courts, in connection with defendant's role as the chief enforcer of a notorious Chicago street gang.

 

US v. Sanders, 09-3117

US v. Sanders, 09-3117, concerned a challenge to a conviction of defendant for violating the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) by traveling in interstate commerce without updating his sex offender registration.  In affirming, the court rejected defendant's argument, that the registration requirement imposed by SORNA was beyond the power of Congress to enact because it applies even to those individuals convicted to local offenses having no connection to interstate or foreign commerce. 

 

US v. Pineda-Buenaventura, 09-1500

US v. Pineda-Buenaventura, 09-1500, concerned prosecutions of four defendants for their involvement in a large cocaine distribution.  The court vacated a defendant's sentence and remanded for resentencing as the district court's drug quantity findings did not support the sentence he received.  The court vacated a co-defendant's conviction because his plea colloquy did not satisfy the requirements of Rule 11.  However, the district court's denial of third co-defendant's motion to suppress is affirmed as he and his co-tenants gave valid consent to search his apartment.  Lastly, a fourth co-defendant's counsel's motion to withdraw is granted as a challenge to the reasonableness of the defendant's sentence would be frivolous.

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State of Illinois v. Hemi Group LLC, 09-1407

State of Illinois v. Hemi Group LLC, 09-1407, concerned a challenge to the district court's denial of defendant's motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction, in the state of Illinois's suit against a New Mexico based company for selling cigarettes to Illinois residents in violation of state laws and for failing to report those sales in violation of federal law.

 

US v. Figueroa, 09-3333, concerned a challenge to a conviction of defendant for one count of conspiracy to possess cocaine with the intent to distribute and one count of distribution of cocaine arising from charges for leading a multimillion-dollar drug conspiracy, and a 235-month sentence.  Because the evidence found during search of defendant's home was properly admitted, defendant's conviction is affirmed.  However, although the evidence was sufficient to establish the drug quantity and the original guidelines calculation, defendant's sentence is vacated and remanded as the district court's comments during the sentencing hearing were utterly out of bounds and there is no way of assessing how the improper observations affected the district court's final choice of a sentence.

 

Finch v. Peterson, 09-2676

Finch v. Peterson, 09-2676, involved three white police lieutenants' suit alleging that the City of Indianapolis and its law enforcement Merit Board violated Title VII by subjecting them to reverse discrimination, and that seven individual city officials who were involved in making these employment decisions violated section 1981 and section 1983 by denying them a promotion to captain solely on the basis of their race.

 

Challenge to State Bar's Use of Mandatory Dues, Plus Criminal Case

US v. Szymuszkiewicz, 10-1347, concerned a challenge to the district court's denial of a defendant's motion for acquittal, in his prosecution under the Wiretap Act for intentionally intercepting his supervisor's electronic communication.  In affirming the judgment, the court held that the district court properly rejected defendant's attack on the sufficiency of the evidence as he had both motive and opportunity.  The court also held that the Wiretap Act's definitions treat the acquisition of emails as an interception.

 

US v. Diaz-Jimenez, 10-1988, concerned a challenge to the district court's imposition of a sentence of 21 months' imprisonment, in a prosecution of defendant for being present in the United States illegally.  In reversing, the court remanded for resentencing as there was a serious breach of the plea agreement that defendant be recommended a sentence at the bottom of the guidelines range of 18 months, and the defendant is also entitled to be resentenced by a different judge.

 

Decisions In Environmental and Immigration Law Matters

Mozden v. Holder, 09-3017, involved a Polish family's petition for review of the BIA's affirmance of an IJ's finding the petitioners removable.  In denying the petition, the court held that the petitioners failed to establish lawful presence, that the BIA did not abuse its discretion in denying a continuance, and the BIA properly affirmed the IJ's finding that the mother did not qualify for consideration of cancellation of removal.

 

Wilson v. O'Brien, 10-2417, involved a plaintiff's 42 U.S.C. section 1983 suit against the City of Chicago and persons associated with his prosecution for attempted murder, brought after a state court set aside the conviction.  In dismissing the plaintiff's and a witness's interlocutory appeal for lack of jurisdiction, the court held that the collateral-order doctrine does not support an interlocutory appeal by a party to the litigation who contends that the district judge erred in resolving a dispute about an evidentiary privilege.  Here, the privilege belonged to the plaintiff, not the witness, who was a law student at the time he interviewed plaintiff for the acts of which he had been convicted, and Mohawk Industries holds that the district court's resolution of the question of whether defendants may use the witness's deposition that they now possess is to be reviewed on appeal from the final decision.

 

Weber v.Universities Research Ass'n, Inc., 08-1957, concerned a challenge to the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the defendant, in plaintiff's suit against her former employer for sex discrimination and retaliation in violation of Title VII.  In affirming, the court held that plaintiff has waived her discrimination and retaliation arguments under the direct method of proof.  Further, the plaintiff has failed to establish a prima facie case of sex discrimination, because even if she does not have to show that she was meeting defendant's legitimate business expectations, defendant is still entitled to summary judgment as she has failed to show that there were similarly situated men who were treated more favorably than she was.

 

US v. Lupton, 09-2710, concerned a challenge to a conviction of defendant for corrupt solicitation, wire fraud, and making false statements to government officials for seeking kickbacks in connection with a sale and leaseback of a government owned building.  In affirming, the court held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in excluding expert testimony.  Also, a rational factfinder could readily conclude that defendant had authority to act on behalf of the state and was thus an "agent" as defined in 18 U.S.C. section 666(d)(1), and that the proposed transaction was not a bona fide transaction.  The court rejected defendant's challenges to his wire fraud conviction, and held that the district court did not err in finding that defendant knowingly and willfully made the statements in the course of a matter within the jurisdiction of the U.S. and that the statements were false and material.