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

Recent Injury & Tort Law Decisions

Subway Gets a Refund in Footlong Settlement

In a rare twist, Subway is going to get some bread back.

After a class action challenged the length of its footlong sandwich, Subway settled by promising to measure up and pay $520,000 to the plaintiffs' attorneys. An appeals court reversed in Subway Footlong Sandwich Marketing and Sales Practices Litigation, however, because the settlement did nothing meaningful for consumers.

"The settlement acknowledges as much when it says that uniformity in bread length is impossible due to the natural variability of the bread-baking process," said the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, calling the settlement "worthless."

And with that twist of the knife, the court sliced off the attorneys' dough.

Meanith Huon's battle with blogs will continue after the Seventh Circuit revived his lawsuit against Jezebel this week. Huon, an Illinois attorney, began his battle with Jezebel, once part of the Gawker network, and the legal blog Above the Law over their coverage of a rape accusation against him. Huon sued the blogs for defamation based on their portrayal of him as a serial rapist.

Huon's suit against Jezebel was originally dismissed in district court but was given new life on Monday, when the Seventh Circuit ruled that Huon's accusations regarding the blog's comments were strong enough to withstand summary judgement, particularly given Huon's claims that user comments were created and developed with the help of Jezebel's staff.

7th Cir. Limits Class Action Attorneys' Fees

The Seventh Circuit stepped in to reduce some rather handsome lawyer fees sought by class action attorneys, and the move could make class action litigation that much less enticing to practicing attorneys. The issue gets to the heart of whether or not attorney fees should be based off a percentage of the final pot, or based on the amount actually collected by those plaintiffs who opted-in.

It's bad news for class action lawyers who are looking for their pot of gold at the end of the class action rainbow, as many lawyers see this cinching of the belt as a new trend.

P.F. Chang's Data Hack Case Revived by 7th Circuit

A class action suit against ersatz-Chinese food chain P.F. Chang's is allowed to proceed, said the Seventh Circuit, because two separate plaintiffs had alleged "enough" to meet the Twombly standards of standing in this breach of data case.

The circuit's ruling upholds the 2014 finding that a breach and increased risk of identity theft is "injury" enough for justiciability.

Jail Ignored Inmate's Pain Complaints, Unaware He Had Cancer

When Kevin Dixon entered into Cook County Jail in Illinois, he probably didn't know that the persistent pain in his back and abdomen was cancer. Neither did his jailers.

A mere four months later, he was dead. The subsequent wrongful death lawsuit was recently decided by the Seventh Circuit.

'Melting Hair' Class Action Settled, Affirmed by 7th Cir.

The Seventh Circuit affirmed a $10.25 million settlement lawsuit against Unilever for injuries associated with women using the Suave Professionals Keratin Infusion 30-Day Smoothing Kit. Although this sounds like a win for plaintiffs, it's actually Unilever who is celebrating the judge's decision.

This marks the end of the "melting hair" lawsuit. If you still have this product around, we suggest you dispose of it as hazardous waste.

7th Cir. Rules on 'Our Lady of America' Defamation Case

The Seventh Circuit's Court of Appeals overturned a lower court's injunction ordering the complete shutdown of a blog in a legal battle over religious artifacts and defamation.

Being called a "fake nun" -- have any more libelous words ever been put to paper?

7th Circuit Interprets Proximate Cause in Cat's Paw Case

If you don't know what the Cat's Paw theory of liability is, don't feel bad. It's a reference to an ancient Aesop story where a scheming monkey dupes a cat into harming his paw so that the monkey could reap the benefits of someone's labor and pain.

The 7th Circuit has offered its own interpretation on which defendants can rely without fear of being duped into a costly and headache inducing discrimination lawsuit.

Customers who have seen their personal information stolen due to corporate data breaches have suffered recognizable injuries and have standing to sue, the Seventh Circuit ruled in late July. The court's holding revived a consumer class action against Neiman Marcus. Customers had sued after a data breach exposed their personal information and credit card numbers.

The ruling could be a boon for consumer advocates and class action lawyers, helping to reduce a major roadblock to litigation. For corporations who are victims to hacking, it could greatly increase their potential liabilities.

No 'Self-Critical Analysis Privilege,' Says Ill. Supreme Court

Last week, the Illinois Supreme Court declined to invent a new evidentiary privilege called the "self-critical analysis privilege," suggesting instead that if such a thing were to exist, it would be the state legislature's job to create it.

The case involves the death of a seven-month-old child while the child and her mother were in a state program for reuniting families.