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

February 2012 News

Is Supreme Court Rejection a Load of Carp?

Connecting the Great Lakes and Mississippi watersheds through the Chicago Area Waterway System (CAWS) has been a boon to industry and commerce, and it supports transportation and recreation. But opening a pathway between bodies of fresh water has a price.

Within CAWS, the price is an invasive species of Asian carp.

Five states — Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, Minnesota and Pennsylvania — sued the Army Corps of Engineers (the Corps) and the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (the District) in federal court, seeking a preliminary injunction that would require the defendants to put in place additional physical barriers throughout the CAWS, implement new procedures to stop invasive carp, and expedite a study of how best to separate the Mississippi and Great Lakes watersheds permanently.

Seventh Circuit Says Merrill Lynch Class Action Can Proceed

Eight months after the Supreme Court made it harder for plaintiffs to band together to bring a class action lawsuit, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has decided to let a major Merrill Lynch class action lawsuit go forward. That means that more than 700 current and former Merrill Lynch employees can bring their employment discrimination claims against the financial management company, reports Reuters.

The litigants are accusing Merrill Lynch of employment discrimination, including steering African-Americans into clerical positions, giving the most lucrative accounts to white brokers, and creating a hostile work environment.

Coca-Cola Has Primary Insurance Policy in Wrongful Death Case

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a ruling against Coca-Cola in an insurance dispute this week, finding that an Illinois tow-truck insurance statute did not trump an Illinois law that a vehicle owner’s insurance policy is primary over the vehicle operator’s insurance policy unless a statute provides otherwise.

S&S Service Company performed occasional maintenance and repair services on a fleet of Coca-Cola delivery trucks regularly kept at the soft-drink company’s bottling plant in central Illinois. S&S would usually provide this service onsite at the Coca-Cola plant, but sometimes it would take the trucks to its shop to perform the repairs.

In November 2007 Daniel Zacha, an employee of S&S, caused a fatal traffic accident while driving a Coca-Cola tractor-trailer to S&S’s repair shop for service.

New Trial? Seventh Circuit Hears Operation Family Secrets Appeal

Will the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals overturn convictions stemming from one of Chicago’s biggest mob trials?

The appellate court heard arguments on Monday from attorneys representing five alleged Chicago mobsters who claim that the judge in the Operation Family Secrets trial had inappropriate contact with the jury. The defendants are asking for a new trial, reports the Associated Press.

Animal Officer Can be Fired for Political Reasons

Larry Davis was terminated from his position as Senior Humane Officer (SHO) for Anderson, Indiana after refusing to support Kris Ockomon's successful mayoral campaign. Sounds shady, right?

According to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, it may be shady, but it is still legal.

Last week, the appellate court affirmed a district court decision that Davis could be dismissed for political reasons because he held a policymaking position.

Delivered: Our Valentine to Judge Posner

Confession No. 1:

The problem with boldly stating in December -- on the Internet, no less -- a plan to wax poetic about Seventh Circuit Judge Richard Posner for Valentine's Day is the necessity to follow through come February.

But we promised a sonnet, and a sonnet we shall deliver.

Will Seventh Circuit Reverse Illinois Ban on Guns in Public?

Last week, a federal judge dismissed a challenge to the Illinois ban on carrying guns in public, finding that the Second Amendment only provides a narrow right to the right to bear arms.

Plaintiffs in the case, Moore v. Madigan, have filed a notice of appeal with the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, indicating that they plan to challenge the ruling.

Wisconsin Lawyer Slapped with Disbarment For Filing Failures

"Bad day" is a relative term. The day we got mugged in broad daylight only ranks as absurdly comical in our memory, but a day plagued with wet pant hems can easily rank among our worst days ever.

Here's one day we hope you never experience: the day that Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals Chief Judge (and living legend) Frank Easterbrook has a hand in your disbarment from federal practice.

Unfortunately, that day came for Milwaukee criminal defense attorney Bridget Boyle-Saxton last week.

Basketball Players Can Bring Gender Discrimination Lawsuit

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled this week that Title IX protections apply to sports scheduling, in addition to funding.

Noting that non-primetime games result in a loss of audience, conflict with homework, and foster feelings of inferiority, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals found that discriminatory scheduling practices are actionable through a Title IX gender discrimination lawsuit.