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

November 2010 News

US v. Maulding, 09-3103

District court's imposition of a below-range sentence in a conviction of defendant for child pornography related crimes affirmed

US v. Maulding, 09-3103, concerned a challenge to the district court's imposition of a below-Guidelines range 240-month sentence followed by a life term of supervised release upon a defendant convicted of receipt, possession, and distribution of child pornography.

US v. Nunez, 10-1384

Eligibility for a "safety valve" adjustment to defendant's sentence in a conviction for cocaine related offense

US v. Nunez, 10-1384, concerned a challenge to the district court's imposition of a mandatory minimum sentence of 60-months' imprisonment after determining that defendant was not eligible for a "safety valve" adjustment to his sentence, in a prosecution of defendant for knowingly and intentionally possessing over 500 grams of cocaine with intent to distribute.

Am. Bank v. City of Menasha, 10-1963

Stay of plaintiff's request for inspection of a city's records in class action suit for violation of federal securities law reversed

Am. Bank v. City of Menasha, 10-1963, concerned a class action suit against a city claiming that it had violated federal securities law by failing to disclose to prospective buyers of bonds material information about a project to convert an electric plant owned by the city to a steam-generating plant.

Clifford v. Crop Prod. Serv., Inc., 10-1377

Corn farmer's negligence suit against supplier of herbicides

Clifford v. Crop Prod. Serv., Inc., 10-1377, concerned a challenge to the district court's grant of defendant's motion for summary judgment, in a corn farmer's negligence suit against a supplier of herbicides.

O'Connor-Spinner v. Astrue, 09-4083

Denial of claimant's application for Supplemental Security Income and Disability Insurance Benefits reversed

O'Connor-Spinner v. Astrue, 09-4083, concerned a challenge to the district court's affirmance of the Social Security Administration's denial of claimant's 2004 application for Supplemental Security Income and Disability Insurance Benefits. 

Dexia Credit Local v. Rogan, 09-2986

Judgment creditor's request for turnover of defendant's assets held in trusts in the names of defendant's children

Dexia Credit Local v. Rogan, 09-2986, concerned a plaintiff's suit for supplemental proceedings, requesting turnover of assets held in trusts that defendant had established, including trusts in the names of each of defendant's three adult children, to satisfy a $124 million judgment against defendant.

Liang v. Holder, 09-3713

Chinese citizen's claim of changed country conditions based on China's "one-child" policy

Liang v. Holder, 09-3713, concerned a Chinese citizen's petition for review of the BIA's denial of a motion to reopen and again apply for asylum, withholding of removal and CAT protection.  In denying the petition, the court held that the BIA gave a rational explanations for its conclusion that petitioner failed to show changed country conditions regarding China's "one-child" policy, in her home province since the time of her initial asylum hearing.  Further, the BIA's decision did not inexplicably depart from established policies or rest on an impermissible basis.

 

Mata-Guerrero v. Holder, 10-1664

Petition for review a denial of Mexican citizen's application for a 212(c) waiver

Mata-Guerrero v. Holder, 10-1664, concerned a Mexican citizen's petition for review of the BIA's affirmance of an IJ's denial of petitioner's application for a 212(c) waiver, on the ground that petitioner's failure to register as a sex offender was a crime of moral turpitude.

Kimmel v. W. Reserve Life Ins. Co. of Ohio, 10-1336

Insurer's denial of a widow's claim for life insurance benefits under the terms of the conditional receipts

Kimmel v. W. Reserve Life Ins. Co. of Ohio, 10-1336, concerned a challenge to the district court's grant of an insurer's motion for summary judgment, in a widow's suit against an insurer for denying coverage of her claim pursuant to her deceased husband's life insurance benefits under the terms of the conditional receipt.

District court's denial of a contempt motion for lack of privity arising from 1966 civil-contempt proceedings

Nat'l Spritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the U.S.A. Under the Hereditary Guardianship, Inc. v. Nat'l Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the U.S.A. , Inc., 08-2306, concerned a challenge to the district court's denial of a contempt motion on the ground that all nonparties to the original lawsuit lacked privity with the original defendant, in an appeal from a civil-contempt proceeding alleging violations of an injunction entered more than four decades ago, arising from an underlying suit involving a trademark and property dispute between two religious organizations.

Nightingale Home Healthcare, Inc. v. Anodyne Therapy, LLC, 10-2327

"Exceptional cases" warranting attorneys' fees under the Lanham Act

Nightingale Home Healthcare, Inc. v. Anodyne Therapy, LLC, 10-2327, concerned a challenge to the district court's award of defendant's request for attorneys' fees based on 15 U.S.C. section 1117(a), which allows attorneys' fees to be awarded to prevailing parties in Lanham Act suits, but only in "exceptional cases," in a home healthcare services provider's suit against a seller of infrared lamps under the Lanham Act.

Research Automation, Inc. v. Schrader-Bridgeport Int'l, Inc., 09-2232

Challenge to a district court's decision to transfer a case in parties' mirror-image lawsuits filed in two different district courts

Research Automation, Inc. v. Schrader-Bridgeport Int'l, Inc., 09-2232, concerned a challenge to an Illinois district judge's finding that a transfer to Virginia district court under 28 U.S.C. section 1402(a) was the most appropriate resolution of the parties' competing motions, in parties' mirror-image lawsuits filed in two different district courts involving a dispute between the seller and a buyer of an industrial cleaning machine.

US v. Simms, 10-1055

Brady challenge in defendant's drug and gun related convictions

US v. Simms, 10-1055, concerned a challenge to a conviction of defendant for gun and drug related offenses, and sentence to 270-months' imprisonment, plus 30 months for having violated supervised release.

Champion v. Holder, 09-3065

Nigerian citizen's petition for review of a denial of her application for cancellation of removal

Champion v. Holder, 09-3065, concerned a Nigerian citizen's petition for review of a BIA's affirmance of an IJ's denial of her application for cancellation of removal.  In granting the petition, the court held that, although the BIA's findings with respect to petitioner's due process claims is affirmed as she had a full opportunity to present her case and the IJ did not consider improper information, the BIA's decision is vacated and remanded because petitioner's claim that the possibility of the deportation of the children's father would constitute an extremely unusual hardship was not addressed.

Hill v. Coppleson, 09-1878

Plaintiff's civil rights suit following his exoneration by DNA evidence

Hill v. Coppleson, 09-1878, concerned a plaintiff's suit against the City of Chicago, police officers, and an assistant state's attorney, alleging various constitutional violations after he was exonerated by DNA evidence over a decade after being convicted of sexual assault and homicide.

Naik v. Ingelheim, 09-2960

Suit against employer for violations of the Age in Discrimination in Employment Act and Title VII

Naik v. Ingelheim, 09-2960, concerned a challenge to the district court's grant of defendant's motion for summary judgment and denial of plaintiff's motion for reconsideration, in plaintiff's suit against his former employer claiming violations of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

Coleman v. Hardy, 08-3537

Denial of defendant's request for habeas relief remanded for an evidentiary hearing

Coleman v. Hardy, 08-3537, concerned a challenge to the district court's denial of defendant's petition for habeas relief from his 1983 murder conviction and denial of his request for an evidentiary hearing.

 

Malen v. MTD Prod., Inc., 08-3855

Product liability suit against manufacturer and seller of lawn mower

Malen v. MTD Prod., Inc., 08-3855, concerned plaintiffs' suit against a manufacturer and seller of a reconditioned riding lawn mower, claiming that the injury to his foot on the rotating blade was caused by the defective design and construction of the mower.

 

Montgomery v. Am. Airlines, Inc., 08-3951

Plaintiff's suit against former employer for racial discrimination

Montgomery v. Am. Airlines, Inc., 08-3951, concerned a challenge to the district court's grant of an employer's motion for summary judgment, in plaintiff's suit against his employer, American Airlines, claiming two civil rights violations relating to his race.

 

Rain v. Rolls-Royce Corp., 10-1290

Plaintiff's suit against a competitor for breach of a non-disparagement agreement

Rain v. Rolls-Royce Corp., 10-1290, concerned a challenge to the district court's judgment in defendant's favor, in a competitor's suit against defendant Rolls-Royce Corporation, claiming that defendant twice breached a non-disparagement agreement the parties executed in connection with the settlement of an earlier lawsuit.

Kaczmarek v. Rednour, 09-2417

Defendant's petition for habeas relief procedurally defaulted

Kaczmarek v. Rednour, 09-2417, concerned a challenge to the district court's denial of defendant's petition for habeas relief from his 1996 murder conviction.  In affirming, the court held that defendant's Apprendi claim is procedurally defaulted as the State's waiver was unintentional and defendant had an opportunity to address the issue.  Further, defendant cannot establish cause and prejudice for the default, or the potential for a miscarriage of justice.  Lastly, the court held that defendant has forfeited his claim that his sentence violated Apprendi because his indictment did not charge that he was potentially eligible for a sentence enhancement for brutal or heinous conduct.

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US v. Aljabari, 09-3605

Arson conviction affirmed

US v. Aljabari, 09-3605, concerned a challenge to the district court's conviction of a defendant for arson and conspiracy to commit arson, for hiring two friends and burning down a tobacco shop that competed with his father's business.

 

US v. Cruz-Rea, 09-3591

Convictions for drug-related crimes affirmed

US v. Cruz-Rea, 09-3591, concerned a challenge to defendants' convictions and sentences for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and for possession with intent to distribute cocaine.

 

US v. Curb, 09-2510

Defendant's 270-month sentence for drug related convictions affirmed

US v. Curb, 09-2510, concerned a challenge to the district court's imposition of a 270-month sentence in concluding that defendant was a supervisor in a criminal activity subject to the managerial enhancement and that he had willfully obstructed justice, in a prosecution of defendant for conspiracy to possess and distribute heroin, cocaine, and crack cocaine.

US v. Tavarez, 09-3879

Defendant's conviction for distributing methamphetamine affirmed

US v. Tavarez, 09-3879, concerned defendant's challenge to his conviction for distributing methamphetamine, claiming that the district court erred by refusing to give a "missing witness" instruction and that without the informant's testimony, the evidence was insufficient to sustain his conviction. 

Vahora v. Holder, 09-3033

Indian citizen's petition for review of BIA's denial of his application for asylum denied

Vahora v. Holder, 09-3033, concerned a petition for review of a BIA's affirmance of an IJ's denial of petitioner's application for asylum and grant of a voluntary departure, brought by a native of India on the basis of his Muslim faith.

Cyrus v. Town of Mukwonago, 09-2331

Summary judgment against plaintiffs' on their Fourth Amendment excessive force claim reversed

Cyrus v. Town of Mukwonago, 09-2331, concerned plaintiffs' 42 U.S.C. section 1983 suit against a town, a lieutenant, and other defendants, claiming that their son's death was caused by the use of excessive force in violation of the Fourth Amendment.  In reversing the district court's grant of defendants' motion for summary judgment, the court held that there are material facts in dispute about the extent to which the deceased attempted to evade the officers and the how many times the officer tasered the deceased to bring about his arrest.

 

US v. Knox, 08-1571

Defendant's sentence for real estate scheme affirmed

US v. Knox, 08-1571, concerned a challenge to the district court's application of several enhancements to defendant's offense level, in a prosecution of defendant for multiple counts of bank fraud, mail fraud, and money laundering, in connection with an extensive real estate scheme involving grossly inflated property appraisals and false loan applications.

 

Norman-Nunnery v. Madison Area Tech Coll., 09-1757

Plaintiff's Suit for Race and Marital Association Retaliation Against Prospective Employer

Norman-Nunnery v. Madison Area Tech Coll., 09-1757, concerned a challenge to the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the defendants, in plaintiff's discrimination and retaliation suit against a college and three of its employees, claiming that she was not hired by the college because of her race and because her husband had previously filed a frivolous lawsuit against the same defendants.

US v. Beck, 09-2337

Conviction and sentence of defendants for bank robbery related crimes affirmed

US v. Beck, 09-2337, concerned a challenge to conviction of defendants for several crimes involving a bank robbery.  In affirming, the court held that, although the district court erred by allowing a defendant's probation officer to testify that she was a probation officer and by not allowing the defense attorneys to further question a witness about his potential bias, the error was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt.  The court also held that there was no error in a defendant's sentence or the sentence imposed.

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Thompson v. Mem'l Hosp. of Carbondale, 07-2249

African-American paramedic's civil rights suit against employer and county

Thompson v. Mem'l Hosp. of Carbondale, 07-2249, concerned a challenge to the jury verdict in favor of the plaintiff on his Title VII and section 1981 claim and an award of $500,000 in damages, in an African-American paramedic's suit against his former employer and a county ambulance service, alleging racial discrimination in violation of Title VII and section 42 U.S.C. section 1981, hostile work environment, and constructive discharge claims.

 

Thorogood v. Sears, Roebuck & Co., 10-2407

Denial of motion to ejoin a virtually similar class action lawsuit, involving consumer fraud claims in sales of a household appliance, reversed

Thorogood v. Sears, Roebuck & Co., 10-2407, concerned a defendant's motion to enjoin a class action lawsuit in California, claiming that the suit was virtually identical to a previously filed class action suit, involving claims of consumer fraud in sales of "stainless steel" dryers.

Turley v. Gaetz, 09-3847

Denial of inmate's request to proceed in forma pauperis reversed

Turley v. Gaetz, 09-3847, concerned an inmate's pro se lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. section 1983 claiming that a warden, guards, and other employees at a correctional center retaliated against him for litigation previously filed regarding his conditions of confinement.

Fednev Int'l Ltd v. Cont'l Ins. Co., 08-2650

Dismissal of a vessel carrier's suit for attorney's fees, costs, and expenses incurred in defending suit for damaged steel in transit

Fednev Int'l Ltd v. Cont'l Ins. Co., 08-2650, concerned a challenge to the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's suit for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, in plaintiff vessel carrier's suit for attorney's fees, costs, and expenses incurred in earlier litigation, involving damaged steel in transit from Belgium to Indiana.