U.S. Tenth Circuit

U.S. Tenth Circuit - The FindLaw 10th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog


Oral arguments are just about a month away in Glossip v. Gross, the SCOTUS case challenging Oklahoma's use of lethal injections, and the briefs are just beginning to arrive. Glossip challenges Oklahoma's use of a three drug lethal injection cocktail, which has been connected to several botched executions.

The drugs in question, potassium chloride, pancuronium bromide and midazolam, are meant to work in concert to achieve a relatively humane execution. midazolam anesthetizes the prisoner, pancuronium bromideparalyzes him, while potassium chloride stops his heart. The problem? According to three men sentenced to execution in Oklahoma, midazolam doesn't prevent excruciating suffering, it simply hides it from observers.

A Colorado couple can sue Jack Nicklaus for intentional misrepresentation over a failed luxury golf development, the Tenth Circuit has ruled. The couple, Jeffrey and Judee Donner, who invested $1.5 million in a luxury golf resort, did so at least in part because of claims that one of the greatest professional golfers of all time, Jack Nicklaus, would both design the course and have a house in the development.

When the $3 billion project went belly up, the Donners sued. The Tenth Circuit overturned the dismissal of their case in district court, allowing them to continue pursuing claims that Nicklaus and his company intentionally misrepresented the golfer's relationship with the development.

Jury instructions regarding the "direct threat" affirmative defense in an employment discrimination case required an employer to prove more than legally necessary, the Tenth Circuit ruled on Monday. An employer must only show that he had a reasonable belief that an impaired worker's job performance would pose a significant risk of substantial harm in order to avoid liability. Contrary to the district court instructions, a jury need not determine if such a threat actually existed.

The case involved a legally blind employee of Beverage Distributors Company in Colorado. The company rescinded the worker's job offer in the company's warehouse, believing that he would need reasonable accommodations under the ADA.

Is it "retaliation" to be fired from your job as a student teacher if another school employee sees you masturbating in your car in a parking lot?

No, it's not a rhetorical question. And this time, it's not from Florida. Carlos Bassatt was a student teacher at a Denver high school, and another employee did catch him masturbating in his car in the high school parking lot. Bassatt died during the district court proceedings, but his estate pressed on. After losing there, the estate appealed to the Tenth Circuit.

Top 10 Blog Posts From the 10th Cir. in 2014

Ask 99 percent of America what the Tenth Circuit is and they will either stare at you blankly or mumble some guess about science fiction. But despite its "flyover" circuit status, the Tenth Circuit has been big this year.

First to address gay marriage? Yep. Citizens United II? Uh-huh.

Here are the 10 most popular Tenth Circuit blog posts for 2014:

In October 2013, the Tenth Circuit determined that Abercrombie & Fitch, the nation's No. 1 purveyor of that weird cologne smell in the mall, didn't violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act when it refused to hire a Muslim job applicant for wearing a hijab in contravention of Abercrombie's dress code.

The EEOC has since been granted a cert. petition, and filed its opening brief earlier this month. The case has garnered a whole heck of a lot of amici including religious organizations, the Lambda Legal foundation, and the State of Arizona, for some reason.

With police use of excessive force all over the news these days, we turn now to police involvement with a nine-year-old boy. One judge on the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals has had enough.

In this unpublished case from the Tenth Circuit, via Utah, a nine-year-old was put in a "control hold" after he stole an iPad. The court affirmed the district court's judgment that using the control hold was not excessive force.

And then Judge Carlos Lucero had something to say.

Earlier this year, Utah became one of the many states to allow political party candidates for office to be selected by way of a "direct primary" system. This system is already in existence in many states, but it's a change for Utah, which left up to the parties the method by which it chose nominees. Typically, Utah used neighborhood caucuses to find candidates. The winners of caucuses would then be nominated (or not) at the party's statewide convention.

The Republican Party in Utah (well, some of its members, anyway) didn't like this very much and decided to sue the governor, alleging that the new legislation dilutes the ability of a political party to select its own candidates and unconstitutionally places control of selecting the party's candidate in the hands of the state, not the party.

Every year since 2004, Colorado's governor has recognized a "Colorado Day of Prayer." This isn't terribly unusual in itself; since 1952, Congress has established a "national day of prayer" and most other states do the same thing.

But the Freedom from Religion Foundation doesn't like it. They object to the explicit biblical references in the proclamations, claiming a violation of the Preference Clause of the state constitution (its own version of the Establishment Clause).

Back in September, a federal district judge in Oklahoma, agreeing with a three-judge panel opinion of the D.C. Circuit, held that the Affordable Care Act subsidies applied only to states that had, themselves, established state exchanges and not states in which the federal government had to run the exchange after the state refused.

Well, a lot has happened since then. The D.C. Circuit took its case up en banc, vacating the panel opinion, and the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear the challenge in the form of King v. Burwell, a Fourth Circuit case finding the other way.

Now, Oklahoma's attorney general wants to appeal his state's case straight to the Supreme Court.