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

September 2011 News

Driver Information Can Be Sold for Commercial Use Under DPPA

Information security has been a popular topic over the last decade as more of our personal information has moved to the virtual world.

While we have let the world into our photo albums, conversations, and daily routines through social networking, we have also become more vigilant about who we allow to access our personal records. We opt out of telemarketing, remove ourselves from subscriber lists, and decline to allow retailers to sell our information to “carefully selected” partners.

So is there a recourse to restrict to whom government entities can sell our information? According to a Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals opinion this week, that depends on how the information is used.

Court Favors Contractual Subrogation Over Equitable Subrogation

Does indemnity extend to a breach of contract? The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals says it does not.

Wilder Corporation owned 6600 acres of farmland in Fulton County, southwest of Peoria, Ill. In 2000, Wilder sold the land for $16.35 million to The Nature Conservancy, an environmental organization, which wanted to restore Wilder's land to its pre-20th century condition as an ecologically functional floodplain. Wilder expressly warranted in the contract of sale that there was no petroleum contamination of the land, but the land was, in fact, contaminated by petroleum. There is no indication that Wilder knew about the contamination.

Six years later the Conservancy, having discovered the contamination, sued Wilder in an Illinois state court for breach of warranty. A federal district court gave judgment for the Conservancy, awarding it approximately $800,000 in damages.

Can Gibberish Complaints Get an Attorney Disbarred?

Attorneys appearing before the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals are on notice: both substance and style matter when filing in federal court.

In an opinion released this week, the Seventh Circuit affirmed a district court’s decision to dismiss a complaint with prejudice after an attorney failed three times to file “an intelligible complaint” for his client.

The attorney, Walter Maksym, appealed the district court’s dismissal, arguing that his second amended complaint complied with court rules, and, even if it did not, he should have been offered a third chance to replead. The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed.

Judge Terence Evans Memorial Sept. 23, Nourse Nomination Stalled

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin will host a joint memorial ceremony for Circuit Judge Terence Evans on Friday September 23, 2011, at 4 p.m. in the Ceremonial Courtroom of the Milwaukee Federal Courthouse.

The service is open to the public.

Judge Evans died from idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and acute respiratory distress syndrome in August at the University of Chicago Medical Center. He was 71.

Will Seventh Circuit Find Citizen Right to Record Police?

This week, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments in ACLU v. Alvarez challenging the Illinois Eavesdropping Act, which bans audio recording police officers in public places. The Illinois ban is one of the strictest in the country.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) claims that the law creates a double-standard; police can record citizens during interactions without the citizens' consent, but citizens cannot record the police without risking a Class 1 felony and up to 15 years in prison.

Seventh Circuit Denies Motion to Suppress Waiver of Waiver

Fontez Combs was a peddler of wares in Southern Illinois. A noble pursuit, except his wares were cocaine, heroin, and marijuana.

Combs, the subject of a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) investigation, was arrested after a DEA task force executed a federal search warrant on his home and recovered drugs, ammunition, and a gun.

Combs's defense lawyer, who replaced an appointed federal public defender, requested and received a continuance to review the search warrant in the case. Combs subsequently instructed the lawyer to file a motion to suppress the evidence in his case based on perceived discrepancies between content of DEA surveillance videos and the search warrant affidavit.

Copyright Case? WIAA Has Exclusive School Sports Broadcast Rights

If you pay for cable, you probably don't spend time thinking about which media outlet has the right to broadcast your favorite college's football games.

If, like us, you stopped paying for cable years ago in favor of delayed, free access to television shows online, broadcast rights are an issue every Saturday morning during college football season as you scramble to find a live-stream broadcast to watch your team dominate over a higher-ranked opponent.

The question of media rights, however, is no longer restricted to college and professional football; the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last month that high school athletic associations, like National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) conferences, can enter into exclusive contracts to assign Internet streaming rights for high school sporting events.

Buruji Kashamu Loses Collateral Estoppel Indictment Challenge

Doppelgangers, aliases, and evil lookalikes wreak havoc not just in movies, but in real life courts as well. This case is the proof.

This week, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals was forced to weed through a U.K. magistrate judge's frolic into the issue of whether a defendant or his similar-looking brother was the evil criminal mastermind to determine if the defendant's indictment should be dismissed on the grounds of collateral estoppel issue.

Buruji Kashamu was one of fourteen persons charged in May 1998 with conspiracy to import and distribute heroin in a Chicago federal grand jury indictment. He was indicted both in his own name and under what the government believed to be two aliases that he used: "Alaji" and "Kasmal."