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


Not making the varsity squad for any high schooler can be tough. But when that high schooler's mom files a federal lawsuit over it ... that's just unbelievable.

But believe it or not, that's just what happened at St. Louis' Ladue High School when one junior didn't make the varsity soccer team, and then was also excluded from the junior varsity team. While this might seem to defy ordinary logic, the school pointed to an established policy, but then the mother pointed to Title IX. The school didn't agree with the parent, and a lawsuit followed.

The Minneapolis-St. Paul archdiocese was recently rocked by a massive sexual abuse scandal involving hundreds of claims. The scandal led to a class action lawsuit including over 400 class members. That case settled for $210 million.

However, after the case was filed, the archdiocese filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which meant that the $210 million settlement would need to be approved by the bankruptcy court. Fortunately, after a near unanimous vote of 400 of the sexual abuse survivors approved it, the bankruptcy court approved the archdiocese's reorganization plan, which would provide a payout to each of the survivors.

Missouri Must Change Voter Registration System

A federal judge ordered Missouri to roll back its voter registration system because it violates the law.

In League of Women Voters of Missouri v. Ashcroft, Judge Brian Wimes said the current system could leave some voters with out-of-date registrations. That violates the National Voter Registration Act.

The decision will be effective immediately to avoid problems in the November elections. The judge said it was an extreme measure, but right for the time.

Court Says Campaign Finance Law Violates Free Speech of Political Action Committees

Political action committees have a constitutional right to receive contributions from each other, a federal appeals court said.

In Free and Fair Election Fund v. Missouri Ethics Commission, the U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals said Missouri violated that right. The state's constitution banned inter-committee contributions, but the appeals court said they have a right to do it under the First Amendment.

The appeals panel said the state may restrict campaign financing to prevent "corruption or the appearance of corruption," but the Missouri law did nothing like that.

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals recently issued a ruling in the matter over the state of Missouri's regulations for abortion clinics. And unfortunately for the challengers who succeeded in obtaining an injunction at the federal district court level, the appellate court didn't quite see it the same way.

The court found that the challengers hadn't actually established a sufficient injury or irreparable harm to qualify for the injunction. This was due to the fact that the state regulations allow for variances to exempt requesting clinics from certain parts of the regulations, and none of the challengers had applied for the variance and been denied.

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a rather short decision dismissing a challenge brought by the Satanic Temple and a Mary Doe plaintiff against the state of Missouri's abortion laws requiring certain prerequisites.

If you had to read that a couple times because of the inclusion of the Satanic Temple (not to be confused with the Church of Satan), you're probably not alone. The group doesn't worship the devil, at least not seriously, but it does fight for social justice causes, particularly those that relate to or are founded upon religious beliefs. Unfortunately for the group and Mary Doe plaintiff, the Eighth Circuit agreed with the lower district court that the temple and Doe lacked standing due to a biological/legal technicality.

Lawsuit Asks, 'What Is Meat'?

They don't make hamburgers like they used to, and that's the beef in a new lawsuit.

In Turtle Island Foods v. Richardson, a meat-substitute company is suing over a Missouri law that prohibits advertising "meat" products unless they come from livestock or poultry. The statute carries penalties up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

The company makes plant-based substitutes for meat from soy, wheat, vegetable protein and other ingredients. For the cattle industry, however, it's like the Wendy's lady said: "Where's the beef?"

Another Pipeline Hits a Legal Snag in Federal Court

It's been a bad couple of weeks for two American pipelines.

Federal judges shut down part of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, and another judge stalled the Keystone XL Pipeline. The pipelines are not connected, but the court decisions have a common thread.

As all the judges said, everybody needs to slow down so we don't harm the environment.

First Fentanyl Execution in the U.S.

Carey Dean Moore died by lethal injection. It took about 20 minutes for the drugs to do their work.

Moore was executed for murdering two men in five days. It took almost 40 years for the legal system to do its part.

In Nebraska, everything about the death penalty changed during that time. The last thing that mattered legally in Moore's case was one of the drugs injected into him.

Appeals Court Affirms Convictions Against Minnesota Terrorists

Minnesota is erroneously known as the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

It has 12,000, but that's not important right now. What is important is a federal appeals court decision involving three convicted terrorists in Minnesota.

The U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed decades-long sentences in the nation's largest probe of terrorist recruitment. But why Minnesota?