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

March 2012 News

Court Threatens Bankruptcy Pro Se Litigant with Sanctions

Have you ever asked yourself: “How many frivolous appeals does it take before the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals threatens to sanction a pro se litigant?” The answer is 13.

This week, the Seventh Circuit rejected another appeal from Scott Wallis, who is contesting USA Baby, Inc.’s liquidation, and warned that Wallis would be sanctioned if he continued to waste the courts’ time with frivolous appeals.

No En Banc Rehearing for Merrill Lynch Class Action Certification

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals denied an en banc rehearing petition this week in the Merrill Lynch class action lawsuit. A three-judge panel had previously ruled that the lawsuit could proceed as a class action in the district court.

All of the judges on the original appellate panel who participated in the en banc rehearing decision voted to deny rehearing, reports The Wall Street Journal.

Causation or Coincidence: Retaliation Claims are Hard to Prove

Courts recognize the distinction between causation and coincidence in employment retaliation claims. The distinction rarely favors plaintiffs.

This week, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals upheld summary judgment dismissing a worker's compensation retaliation claim against FedEx Freight, finding that the former employee failed to assert a genuine issue of material fact.

Easterbrook: OSHA Log Work-Related Requirement is a 'Puzzle'

The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) requires employers to maintain a log of work-related deaths, injuries, and illnesses. A death, illness, or injury is considered work-related if “the work environment either caused or contributed to the resulting condition.”

Chief Judge Frank Easterbrook and the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals assume that the phrase “contributed to” means an increase in likelihood, but note that “how much of an increase is enough neither the regulation, nor any of the Secretary’s decisions, says.” That’s problematic, according to Easterbrook. In fact, Judge Easterbrook finds that entire “work-relatedness” requirement to be a waste of time and money.

Here’s one example that demonstrates why.

Think Before You Sue: Did Your Client Satisfy Duties After Loss?

How much documentation must Indiana policyholders provide to their insurers to collect on a claim? According to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, it’s everything the insurer asks for in the “Your Duties After Loss” section of the policy, as long as the company doesn’t badger policyholders with irrelevant demands.

Employer Must Prove Legal Reason for Unequal Pay

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled this week that a former employee can pursue her sex discrimination lawsuit against Acosta Sales and Marketing. The ruling is good news for both plaintiff Susan King and women who like equal pay for equal work.

Let’s discuss why.

Humiston-Keeling Still Controls Reasonable Accommodation Claims

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled this week that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) does not require employers to reassign employees who will lose their current positions due to disability to a vacant position.

In the case, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. United Airlines, the circuit denied the EEOC's request for a change in how the court interprets the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Redbox Wins Interlocutory Appeal in VPPA Lawsuit

This week, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals entertained an interlocutory appeal stemming from a Video Privacy Protection Act (VPPA) lawsuit.

No, movie rental is not the booming business it once was, thanks to online streaming services, but the VPPA -- a federal law that keeps your video/DVD rental history private -- is still being used in class action lawsuits.

Seventh Circuit Upholds Warrantless Search of Cell Phones

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled this week that police can search a suspect’s cell phone without a warrant. While the court acknowledged that the issue leads to the slippery slope of “whether and when a laptop or desktop computer, tablet, or other type of computer … can be searched without a warrant” the ruling did not define the boundaries of a reasonable cell phone search.

With the assistance of a paid informant, police set a trap to snare defendant Abel Flores-Lopez, a drug supplier, and Alberto Santana-Cabrera, a dealer.