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

7th Cir. SCOTUS Grants: Anna Nicole Smith's Ghost, EEOC Reviewability

Anna Nicole Smith. Long has she been gone, but never will she be forgotten, especially not to those of us who have to deal with her legal legacy: Stern v. Marshall. The Supreme Court held that non-Article III bankruptcy courts could not enter final judgment on unresolved state law counterclaims. Now, the Court will decide whether these Stern claims can be waived, implicitly or explicitly.

And if non-Article III courts' jurisdiction doesn't interest you, we'd bet that the jurisdiction of an Article III court to review the sufficiency of a government agency's statutorily mandated duty sure will! The EEOC claims that its mandated settlement efforts are beyond the scrutiny of the courts, and the Seventh Circuit agreed. Will SCOTUS?

SCOTUS Week at FindLaw

Wellness International Network, Ltd. v. Sharif (Oral Argument: TBD)

Sharif sued WIN, calling it a pyramid scheme. WIN won, and Sharif was ordered to pay nearly $700,000 in attorneys' fees for misconduct during discovery. He eventually declared bankruptcy, WIN claimed that he was hiding assets, and WIN won again. Sharif appealed to the district court, and while the appeal was pending, Stern v. Marshall (the Anna Nicole Smith case where the Court held that the bankruptcy court can't enter a final judgment on a state-law counterclaim) was decided.

The district court held that he had waived his Stern claim by not raising it sooner, but the Seventh Circuit reversed, holding that Stern claims cannot be waived.

Issue: The Court has four issues listed, two of which may be addressed in a separate case, but this is basically a clarification and possible narrowing of Stern. See the Court's listing for the full two-page description of the case.

Mach Mining, LLC v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (Oral Argument: TBD)

A lady clamed that MM refused to hire her based on her gender. The EEOC has a mandatory duty to attempt to conciliate claims before bringing suit. MM argued that the EEOC didn't do so in good faith here, while the EEOC argued that the sufficiency of its settlement efforts is unreviewable.

The district court disagreed with the EEOC. The Seventh Circuit, however, didn't, and "avowedly rejected the precedent of numerous other [courts of appeal]" when it held that so long as the EEOC filled out the paperwork with sufficient facts, and pleaded that it complied with Title VII's requirements, the court's review is satisfied, as the EEOC is given complete discretion to accept and reject settlement offers.

Issue: Whether and to what extent may a court enforce the EEOC's mandatory duty to conciliate discrimination claims before filing suit.

Hey, not every case can involve a guy who scared a woman to death, but somewhere out there, someone, some lonely law-loving soul, finds both of these cases to be absolutely riveting. Are you that person? Tweet us @FindLawLP, because you might need more friends.

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