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

August 2013 News

Last week, the Seventh Circuit must have had a serious case of déjà vu.

Last year, the court reversed the district court's decision to deny class certification to a group. Sears, the defendant, appealed to the Supreme Court and, in light of the Court's recent decision in Comcast Corp. v. Behrend, the case was remanded for reconsideration.

Forbes notes that he second time around, the Seventh Circuit came to the exact same conclusion, and distinguished the Court's decision in Comcast.

Scottie Pippen was named one of the NBA's top 50 greatest players, and won six NBA championships with the Chicago Bulls. His stellar athletic career ended in 2004 and he followed up with endorsement deals, basketball analysis and ... a few bad investments.

Pippen tried to mitigate his financial losses by suing his former legal and financial advisors, who he felt gave him bad advice. The media heard of his financial troubles and reported that Pippen had filed for Bankruptcy, which he had not. Pippen believes that his career went from all net, to down the tubes. He claims his opportunities for endorsement deals diminished because of these falsehoods and sued NBC for defamation and a claim of false light under Illinois law.

The district court thought Pippen's claims were nothing but hoop dreams, and the Seventh Circuit affirmed.

Chances are if you have insomnia and watch late-night TV, you've probably seen Kevin Trudeau trying to sell you something. You're too smart for that of course, but 25 million Americans weren't, reports the Daily Mail.

Kevin Trudeau has reportedly made millions out of duping the American public into buying his life-enhancing (and purportedly life-saving) products ... which is funny considering Trudeau has no medical training and a few criminal convictions, according to the Daily Mail. But, the FTC has been diligently working over a decade to bring Trudeau -- and his false claims -- to justice.

James Kaufman is one vigilant atheist. In 2005, he tried to compel the Wisconsin prison he was housed in to treat atheism as a religion so that he could form a religious group. Though the court found that atheism should be treated as a religion, they denied his claim because he failed to show the state created a substantial burden on his ability to practice atheism.

Four years later, and in a different prison, Kaufman again tried to form an atheist religious group. The warden either unaware of, or disregarding the Seventh Circuit's opinion in Kaufman 1, denied his request because atheism doesn't recognize a higher power or divinity.

Elton John Didn't Copy Man's Cold War Love Ballad: 7th Cir.

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed a lower court's decision to "12(b)(6)" a man's claim that pop star Elton John stole his lyrics for a love song.

Guy Hobbs, the allegedly wronged songrwiter, claimed his lyrics referenced the Cold War and a Communist woman with a name starting with "N."

Hobbs sued Elton John in federal court in Illinois, alleging Elton's 1985 song "Nikita" (which was written by lyricist Bernie Taupin) infringed on a song Hobbs wrote called "Natasha."

Thomas Hurlow pleaded guilty to charges of drug and gun possession, and waived his right to habeas corpus review. Ignoring the waiver, Hurlow petitioned for § 2255 review alleging ineffective assistance of counsel in the negotiation of the plea agreement. Giving a strict reading to his plea deal, the district court stated that he'd waived his § 2255 right to review.

The Seventh Circuit, however, disagreed.

Been there, done that.

At least we thought so when it came to Illinois' controversial eavesdropping statute. In May of last year, the Seventh Circuit held that the Illinois eavesdropping law was unconstitutional, and likely violated the First Amendment as applied to "recordings of public officials doing the public's business in public and regardless of whether the recording is open or surreptitious."

The Supreme Court denied cert, so we for now, the Seventh Circuit's ruling is the law in Illinois. However, Illinois State's Attorney, for Morgan County, Robert Bonjean apparently didn't get the memo.

If a state attorney is subpoenaed to testify at his boss's trial, is his speech protected, or made in the course of his employment?

Last week, the Seventh Circuit held that an attorney's eyewitness testimony is protected speech under the First Amendment.

Assistant state attorney Kirk Chrzanowski was subpoenaed to testify against his boss Louis Bianchi, the McHenry County State Attorney, for alleged official misconduct. Chrzanowski was subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury, and at trial. Following Chrzanowski's testimony, Bianchi began placing inaccurate notes in Chrzanowski's file, and later terminated him.