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

December 2011 News

District Court Gives Jury the Bird: Ostrich Instruction is Proper

Is the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals the most ostrich-obsessed appellate court in America?

Last month, Judge Richard Posner not only compared an appellate attorney to an ostrich in a Seventh Circuit opinion, he included photographs of both an ostrich and a man with their heads stuck in the sand to illustrate his point.

Now, the Seventh Circuit is once again answering the call of the ostrich by affirming an Illinois district court's ostrich instruction in a criminal case.

City-Sanctioned Fines Not 'Debts' Under FDCPA

Is a debt-collection law firm retained to collect fines for a city obligated to comply with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)?

Apparently not.

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled this week that city-levied fines are not debts under the FDCPA.

Kevin Trudeau to Pay $37.6 Million Fine for Misrepresentations

The sweet siren song of infomercial infamy is too tempting for Kevin Trudeau.

After several multi-million dollar sanctions and bans from the infomercial airwaves, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals found last month that a district court had properly fined Trudeau $37.6 million for taking to the airwaves to promote The Weight Loss Cure "They" Don't Want You to Know About, with infomercials that the courts say included misrepresentations.

In upholding the fine, the Seventh Circuit noted that Trudeau had aired infomercials in violation court orders 32,000 times.

Employer Didn't Know About Overtime Work, Wins FLSA Lawsuit

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled this week that an employer was not liable for overtime compensation to an employee because it did not have reason to know that the employee was working overtime.

In a quorum opinion, the judges ruled that the employer had little reason to know, or even suspect, that the plaintiff was acting in direct contradiction of a company policy and practice that she herself was partially responsible for enforcing.

Seventh Circuit Enjoins Cap on Political Speech Contributions

Wisconsin political contributors, get ready to open your wallets. On Monday, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals struck a Wisconsin election law that caps political speech contributions.

The Wisconsin Right to Life Political Action Committee (Right to Life PAC) challenged the law after learning that two contributors, Terry and Mary Kohler, could not make a planned $5,000 donation to the Right to Life PAC without exceeding their annual political contribution cap. Instead of limiting contributions to a single political candidate, the Wisconsin election law restricts an individual’s total contributions to political speech.

Homeowner Wins Right of Rescission Appeal on Hypertechnicality

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals thinks that the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) is “hypertechnical,” but that won’t stop the court from enforcing the letter of the law.

This week, the Seventh Circuit ruled that a Wisconsin borrower could proceed with a right of rescission action regarding a mortgage that was supposedly finalized in 2007 because the lender did not provide him with an adequate number of copies of a TILA-mandated disclosure.

TILA requires a creditor to provide the borrower with “clear and conspicuous” notice of his right to rescind (Notice) certain transactions, including mortgages, within three business days following the transaction.

You Want Reversible Error? You Can't Handle Reversible Error

How many people applied to law school after watching A Few Good Men? How many law students dream of having Tom Cruise/Jack Nicholson moments, yelling "You want the truth? You can't handle the truth?"

This week, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals attempted to handle the truth in a felon in possession of a firearm appeal, and found that a prosecutor's suggestion that the jury "seek the truth" was not a reversible error.

Attorneys and Ostriches: Beware the Wrath of Judge Posner

You may have noticed that we're slightly obsessed with Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Richard Posner. He's our law crush because he always writes interesting opinions.

We're not naive: We know that behind every witty judge is a fleet of witty law clerks, but Judge Posner ultimately sets the tone and approves the opinions, so he's the object of our law crush. (Just wait until we start posting sonnets about him for Valentine's Day.)

With this law crush in mind, we admit that we did a double-take when reading a Posner opinion this week in which our favorite judge compared appellate attorney David McKeand to an ostrich.