U.S. Eighth Circuit - The FindLaw 8th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

Superheated Hormel Bacon Case Is Done

A federal appeals court sent both parties packing in a battle over precooked bacon.

It was a big deal, too, as bacon prices have continued to climb. In HIP, Inc. v. Hormel Foods Corporation, the litigation was about who owned a process for superheating bacon.

Both parties appealed summary judgments dismissing their claims, and the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed. That's right, nobody took home the bacon.

Court: Zoo Animals Protected by Endangered Species Act

A federal appeals court said a family-owned zoo violated the Endangered Species Act by failing to care properly for its tigers and lemurs.

In Kuehl v. Sellner, the U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a decision to send several exotic animals at the zoo to a better facility. It was a victory for animal rights activists, who said the decision means endangered species living in captivity deserve the same care as animals in the wild.

But the appeals court also denied their request for $239,979 in attorneys fees. In other words, taking care of tigers and lemurs can be very expensive.

Missouri Defends Campaign Donation Limits

Missouri's campaign finance reform law protects against political corruption, an attorney argued to the U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Without the voter-approved restrictions on campaign contributions, the deputy attorney general said, political action committees and other entities could circumvent the law. Section 23 of the Missouri Constitution limits contributions to $2,600 per donor.

What's more, Ryan Bangert said, 70 percent of the voters can't be wrong. Unfortunately for them, a trial judge said something different.

Plaintiff's Burden Raised in ADA Case Against Liquor Store

A little paint goes a long way in remodeling and also in ADA compliance.

According to the U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, a liquor store did enough to comply with federal disability requirements by painting a van-accessible parking spot and putting up a sign. In fact, it was moot by the time the case got to trial because the owner had already fixed the parking problem.

But there was still a problem with the service counter, which was too high for the wheelchair-bound plaintiff. The burden, however, was on him in Wright v. RL Liquor.

Murder Charge Against Canadian Upheld in South Dakota

John Graham shot Anna Mae Aquash in the back of the head, execution-style in the Badlands of South Dakota.

She died that day in December 1975, but it took authorities 35 years to get Graham to trial because he had fled to Canada. In 2010, he was convicted of felony murder and sentenced to life in prison.

In Graham v. Young, the convicted murderer claimed he was wrongly extradited. The U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals said he was wrong.

Court Puts Flynt v. Executioners to Rest

Larry Flint became famous for pornography and later for litigation.

The long-time publisher came out from the shadows of Hustler magazine in People v. Flynt, which played out in a movie by the same name. "You may not like what he does, but are you prepared to give up his right to do it?" the tagline says.

Nearly 50 years later, Flynt is still doing it. This time he is litigating for access to records of state-sponsored executions in Flynt v. Lombardi.

Government Sues to Put Drug Company Out of Business

When the federal government started issuing press releases about an Arkansas drug company, it was about as lethal as the lawsuit that followed.

The Federal Drug Administration alerted health care professionals and patients not to use drugs from Cantrell Drug Company. Adding injury to insult, the U.S. Department of Justice also issued a press release when it sued the company for allegedly distributing adulterated drugs.

Dr. James McCarley, Jr., founder and chief executive of the company, responded by issuing his own press release and filing his own suit against the government.

In what must ring out as a hollow victory for Iowa State University, a federal district court has dismissed a Title IX case alleging the institution took too long to investigate a sexual assault incident back in March 2014. The delay allegedly resulted in the student victim experiencing a deprivation of educational opportunity.

The University's issued the following statement:

A Kansas City man who was sentenced to three years in jail for pointing a laser pointer at a police helicopter challenged the application of a sentencing enhancement. Interestingly, while the guidelines on his conviction, with the enhancement, recommended 41 to 51 months, the judge only imposed a 36 month sentence.

Nevertheless, the laser-happy defendant claimed that the sentencing enhancement for reckless conduct shouldn't apply -- despite intentionally shining the laser at the helicopter while being fully aware of the risk of harming the pilot and endangering the lives of those onboard the helicopter. The Eighth Circuit didn't agree, and didn't spend too much time explaining why.

Justice Diana Murphy has been honored this year by Minnesota Lawyer for her "Outstanding Service to the Profession." After spending 4 years on the bench in state court, then 14 years on the federal District Court in Minnesota, and then another 22 years on the federal appellate bench in the Eighth Circuit, she has spent almost half of her life on the bench, and she's 84 years old.

Judge Murphy was not only the first female justice on the Eighth Circuit, she was the only from 1994 to 2016.