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

January 2011 News

Bettendorf v. St. Croix County, 10-1359

Constitutional challenge to a county ordinance

Bettendorf v. St. Croix County, 10-1359, concerned a challenge to the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the county in its decision to rescind the commercial zoning designation, in a landowner's suit against a county for a declaratory judgment seeking to void a conditional language in an ordinance that reverts a parcel of his land from commercial to agricultural-residential upon his death or by transfer to a new owner.


Hoskins v. Dart, 10-1619

Prisoner's civil rights suit for excessive force

Hoskins v. Dart, 10-1619, concerned an inmate's five separate suits under 42 U.S.C. section 1983 against a county sheriff and various prison officers claiming excessive physical force.  In affirming the district court's dismissal of all five cases with prejudice, in finding that the inmate had intentionally omitted his litigation history, the court held that the district court did not clearly err in finding that the inmate's omissions were both material and intentional and thus fraudulent.  The court also held that the district court did not abuse its discretion as dismissal was permissible without further warning or opportunity to cure in light of the warning on the complaint form and the district court's finding of fraud.

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Smith v. Peters, 10-1013

Prisoner's civil rights suit

Smith v. Peters, 10-1013, concerned a challenge to the district court's dismissal of the suit for failure to state a claim, in a prisoner's civil rights suit claiming that prison employees violated the Eighth Amendment by forcing him to work at hard labor in dangerous conditions and had violated the First Amendment by penalizing him for questioning the propriety of the work assignment and preparing to sue.


Protective Life Ins. Co. v. Hansen, 10-2085

Dispute over life insurance proceeds

Protective Life Ins. Co. v. Hansen, 10-2085, concerned a dispute over the proceeds of a deceased's one-million-dollar life insurance policy, between the deceased's limited liability company (LLC) and his girlfriend.  In affirming the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the LLC, the court held that the LLC is the owner and beneficiary of the life insurance policy because it never transferred ownership of its policy to the deceased and reformation cannot change this result, and even if it could, reformation would be improper because the equities favor the LLC, not the girlfriend.

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Martinez v. Astrue, 10-1957

Consolidated appeal of denial of petitioners' application for social security benefits

Martinez v. Astrue, 10-1957, concerned a challenge to the district court's affirmance of the Social Security Administration's denials of petitioners' applications for disability benefits and supplemental security income benefits. The court held that two of the three cases require reversal as infirmities similar to those found in Spiva are present.  However, the third case does not require reversal as the administrative law judge's opinion was thorough and well supported.

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Hyperqest, Inc. v. N'Site Solutions, Inc., 08-2257

Issue of standing in copyright infringement action

Hyperqest, Inc. v. N'Site Solutions, Inc., 08-2257, concerned a challenge to the district court's dismissal of the suit in concluding that plaintiff held only a non-exclusive license and thus lacked statutory standing to sue and a grant of attorneys' fees and costs to defendants, in plaintiff's suit for infringement of certain copyrighted software used to process insurance claims.


US v. Tinnie, 09-4082

Conviction for being a felon in possession of a firearm

US v. Tinnie, 09-4082, concerned a challenge to the district court's denial of a motion to suppress a gun and ammunition found in defendant's car during a traffic stop, in a conviction of defendant for possession of a firearm by a felon.  In affirming, the court held that given everything that took place prior to the frisk, and the time and location of the stop, a reasonable officer could conclude that there was reasonable suspicion that defendant was armed and that a frisk was necessary to assure the officers' safety.

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Suh v. Pierce, 09-3946

Petition for habeas relief from convictions for first-degree murder and armed robbery

Suh v. Pierce, 09-3946, concerned a challenge to the district court's denial of defendant's petition for habeas relief from his conviction for first-degree murder and armed robbery.


Ervin v. OS Restaurant Servs., Inc., 09-3029

Issue of compatibility between employees' FLSA proceeding and proposed class action

Ervin v. OS Restaurant Servs., Inc., 09-3029, concerned a challenge to the district court's denial of plaintiffs' effort to proceed as a class under Rule 23(b)(3) on the ground that there is a clear incompatibility between the plaintiffs' FLSA proceeding and their proposed class action, in plaintiffs' suit against their employer under the FLSA, the Illinois Minimum Wage Law (IMWL), and the Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act, claiming that the employer violated the minimum wage and maximum hour provisions of both the FLSA and the IMWL.


In re: Trans Union Corp. Privacy Litig., 10-1154

Attorney's challenge to award of fees in class action suit

In re: Trans Union Corp. Privacy Litig., 10-1154, concerned an attorney's claim that she is entitled to three times as much as the $2.7 million that she was awarded in a 1998 class action suit against a large credit-reporting agency for violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act for selling information in its consumer credit files to advertisers without the consumers' authorization, both because the total attorneys' fees awarded to class counsel were too little and because her share of them was too small.


Jones v. Clark, 09-3574

Civil rights action against officers for unlawful stop and arrest

Jones v. Clark, 09-3574, concerned an African-American plaintiff's suit against police officers, claiming among things that her Fourth Amendment rights were violated when the officers stopped her and arrested her for taking pictures of houses in an almost entirely white neighborhood while working in her job as a meter reader.


R.G. Wegman Constr. Co. v. Admiral Ins. Co., 09-2022

Construction company's action against its insurer

R.G. Wegman Constr. Co. v. Admiral Ins. Co., 09-2022, concerned a construction company's action against its insurer claiming that it would not have been liable for damages in excess of the $1 million policy limit had the insurer discharged the implied contractual duty of good faith that insurance companies owe their insureds, in an underlying lawsuit against the construction company by an injured worker.


Allord v. Astrue, 10-2006

Denial of disability benefits

Allord v. Astrue, 10-2006, concerned a challenge to the district court's determination that the record did not support a judicial award of disability benefits in petitioner's application for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration.  In affirming the judgment, the court held that  the district court did not abuse its discretion in remanding petitioner's case to the Social Security Administration for further proceedings instead of remanding with instructions for the Commissioner to calculate and award benefits as the record before the district court did not necessitate a finding that petitioner was disabled as of his date last insured.

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Cross v. Hardy, 09-1666

Habeas relief granted to defendant convicted of sexual assault

Cross v. Hardy, 09-1666, concerned a defendant's petition for habeas relief from his conviction for sexual assault on retrial, challenging the trial court's finding that the complainant was unavailable and thus permitted the admission of her testimony from the first trial during the second trial.


Leitgen v. Franciscan Skemp Healthcare, Inc., 09-1496

Title VII action against former employer

Leitgen v. Franciscan Skemp Healthcare, Inc., 09-1496, concerned a plaintiff's suit against her former employer under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 claiming that it retaliated against her by forcing her to resign after she complained that its compensation scheme unlawfully underpaid physicians based on gender.


US v Courtright, 09-2880

Conviction for child pornography related crimes

US v Courtright, 09-2880, concerned a challenge to a conviction of defendant for production, possession, and receipt of child pornography, claiming that the district court erred in admitting evidence of prior sexual assault and in jury instruction.


US v. Mantanes, 10-1590

Sentencing challenge in child pornography conviction

US v. Mantanes, 10-1590, concerned a challenge to the district court's imposition of a 210-month sentence upon a defendant for child pornography related crime, arguing that the district judge did not give meaningful consideration to the section 3553(a) factors and that his sentence is unreasonable.


DeTata v. Rollprint Packaging Prod., Inc., 10-1596

Dismissal of sex discrimination suit against an employer as untimely reversed

DeTata v. Rollprint Packaging Prod., Inc., 10-1596, concerned a challenge to the district court's dismissal of the suit as untimely in plaintiff's action for sex discrimination against her employer.  In vacating the judgment and remanding the matter, the court held that, under the facts of this case, plaintiff's telephone call to the EEOC to check on the status of her case did not satisfy the notice requirements of 42 U.S.C. section 2000e-5(f)(1).


Estate of Davis v. Wells Fargo Bank, 10-1549

Action for violations of the Home Ownership and Equity Protection Act and race discrimination under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act

Estate of Davis v. Wells Fargo Bank, 10-1549, concerned a plaintiff's suit against Wells Fargo Bank, which later bought her mortgage loan from the original lender whom plaintiff won a judgment against in her suit for predatory lending, and against Litton Loan Servicing, which later took over the servicing of her loan, asserting various claims including unconscionability and fraud claims under state law, as well as federal claims for violations of the Home Ownership and Equity Protection Act (HOEPA) and race discrimination under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA).


Thomas v. H&R Block E. Enter., Inc., 10-1482

Employee's action under the Indiana's Wage Payment Statute

Thomas v. H&R Block E. Enter., Inc., 10-1482, concerned a challenge to the district court's grant of defendant's motion for summary judgment in plaintiff's suit against her employer, H&R Block, under Indiana's Wage Payment Statute, for paying its end-of-season (EOS) compensation more than ten day after it was earned.


US v. Scott, 10-1597

Sentencing challenge in a conviction for mail fraud

US v. Scott, 10-1597, concerned a challenge to the district court's imposition of a 63-month sentence upon a defendant convicted of mail fraud, arising from charges for engaging in a scheme to defraud investors through the use of the United States mail.


Ellis v. DHL Express Inc., 09-3596

Action for failure to comply with the WARN Act

Ellis v. DHL Express Inc., 09-3596, concerned a challenge to the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the defendants, in plaintiffs' putative class action suit against DHL and its parent company, claiming that defendants failed to comply with the WARN Act, which requires certain businesses contemplating "plant closings" or "mass layoffs" to inform workers of these impending events at least sixty days in advance.


Heyde v. Pittenger, 09-1388

Action challenging property assessments

Heyde v. Pittenger, 09-1388, concerned a plaintiff's suit against members of a county Board of Review (BOR) and town's assessors, claiming that by setting his property's assessment at levels grossly disproportionate to its fair market value, the BOR and the assessors deprived him of his equal protection rights, and retaliated against him for previously exercising his right to challenge assessments.

Catalan v. GMAC Mortgage Corp., 09-2182

Plaintiffs' suit against lenders under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act

Catalan v. GMAC Mortgage Corp., 09-2182, concerned plaintiffs' suit against defendant mortgage companies under the federal Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA), and under Illinois law for gross negligence, breach of contract, and willful and wanton negligence.


Greenberger v. GEICO Gen. Ins. Co., 09-1603

Driver's suit against his insurer for breach of contract

Greenberger v. GEICO Gen. Ins. Co., 09-1603, concerned a challenge to the district court's dismissal of plaintiff's statutory consumer fraud claim and an entry of summary judgment in favor of the insurer on the breach of contract and common law fraud claims, in plaintiff's suit against his insurer for damage to his automobile from an automobile collision. 


Omnicare, Inc. v. UnitedHealth Group, Inc., 09-1152

Action for violation of the Sherman Act

Omnicare, Inc. v. UnitedHealth Group, Inc., 09-1152, concerned a challenge to the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the defendants, in a pharmaceutical provider's suit against insurers, UnitedHealth Group and PacifiCare, claiming violation of the Sherman Act, as well as state antitrust claims and common law fraud, conspiracy to commit fraud and unjust enrichment claims, arising from allegations that defendants conspired to depress the reimbursement it would receive shortly after the merger.


Alvarado-Fonseca v. Holder, 10-1917

Mexican citizen's petition for review of BIA's affirmance of a deportation order

Alvarado-Fonseca v. Holder, 10-1917, concerned a Mexican citizen's petition for review of the BIA's dismissal of his appeal of an IJ's deportation order on the ground that his 1984 state court conviction for armed robbery constituted an aggravated felony.


Ames v. Home Depot U.S.A., 09-4151

Action under the FMLA and the ADA

Ames v. Home Depot U.S.A., 09-4151, concerned a plaintiff's suit against her former employer claiming violations of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and the Americans with Disabilities Act, after she was terminated for coming to work under the influence of alcohol and failing a blood alcohol test.


Feinberg v. RM Acquisition, LLC, 10-1890

ERISA action

Feinberg v. RM Acquisition, LLC, 10-1890, concerned plaintiffs' ERISA action against the defendant-purchaser of their former employer's company, claiming that the defendant is liable for the benefits promised by the plan because it is the "de facto plan administrator."


MMG Fin. Corp. v. Midwest Amusements Park, LLC, 08-4060

Action for breach of financing agreement

MMG Fin. Corp. v. Midwest Amusements Park, LLC, 08-4060, concerned a plaintiff's suit for breach of contract of a financing agreement involving 24 go-karts and defendant's counterclaim, among other things, for breach of contract and breach of warranty.


Ray v. City of Chicago, 09-3719

Civil rights action against City of Chicago and a police officer

Ray v. City of Chicago, 09-3719, concerned a challenge to the district court's dismissal of the complaint, in plaintiff's suit against the City of Chicago and a police officer, claiming that the officer's action during a traffic stop, violated the Constitution's prohibition on unreasonable seizures and deprived her of her rights to due process and equal protection under the law.


Koral v. Being Co., 10-8035

Appeal of remand orders in plaintiffs' mass tort action against Boeing

Koral v. Being Co., 10-8035, concerned Boeing's appeal under the provision of the Class Action Fairness Act that allows the court of appeals to entertain an appeal from an order remanding to the state court a purported "mass action" removed to federal district under the Act, arising from 29 separate suits involving the crash of a Turkish airliner built by Boeing in the Netherlands in 2009.  In affirming the orders remanding, the court held that Boeing's removal of the cases was premature as the proposal cannot be made by a defendant, because Boeing's desire for a joint trial cannot support removal.

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Stinnet v. City of Chicago, 09-3626

Racial discrimination in employment against City of Chicago

Stinnet v. City of Chicago, 09-3626, concerned an African-American plaintiff's Title VII suit against the City of Chicago, claiming that its failure to promote him to field officer in the fire department's emergency medical services division discriminated against him because of his race.


US v. Redd, 09-3799

Denial of motion for reconsideration for lower sentence in crack cocaine conviction

US v. Redd, 09-3799, concerned a challenge to the district court's denial of defendant's motion for reconsideration, or in the alternative, a renewed motion for modification of sentence, filed ten months after the district court's grant of defendant's first request for a lower sentence, for his 2005 conviction for crack cocaine related offenses.  The court affirming in concluding that, neither the text of section 3582(c)(2) nor the language of Amendment 712 suggests that prisoners are entitled to more than one opportunity to request a lower sentence, for any given change in the Guideline range.