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.
In affirming, the court held that, although the district court should have applied Merriam, which held that a former employee of an enjoined corporation had such a key role in the company and in the underlying litigation that he could be "legally identified" with the enjoined corporation and therefore held in contempt for using a newly formed company to circumvent the injunction, the judge's findings are thorough enough to resolve the privity question without a remand. Here, the respondent nonparty religious groups and their principals are not sufficiently identified in interest with the original defendant to permit a conclusion that they had their day in court back in 1966.
- Read the Seventh Circuit's Full Decision in 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