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


Court: Boys Can Compete on Girls' Dance Teams

Two high school boys won their case to participate in girls' dance competitions in Minnesota, a federal appeals court decided.

The U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals said the Minnesota State High School League could not deny the boys based on their gender. In D.M. v. Minnesota State High School League, the appeals panel said it was unconstitutional to ban them from competition.

It was a significant turn-around because a trial judge had ruled against the teens. But the appeals court said the league would need an "exceedingly persuasive justification" for prohibiting the boys from dancing on the girls' teams.

Employer Didn't Violate ADA for Firing Man With Flesh-Eating Bacteria

Gary Brunckhorst could not go back to work because a bacteria was literally eating him alive.

The disease practically killed him, and after three life-saving surgeries and five months of hospitalization, he still couldn't go back to work. He finally recovered enough to work again, but by then his employer said the job had been eliminated.

He sued for disability discrimination in Brunckhorst v. City of Oak Park Heights. Like the disease, however, the appeals court said it wasn't the employer's fault.

Court Revives Vioxx Drug Case

After Merck took Vioxx off the market in 2004, Jo Levitt sued the company for her cardiovascular injuries.

That was in September 2006; she had been taking the pain reliever for seven years. In Levitt v. Merck & Company, Inc., a trial judge said she waited too long.

However, the U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed. A majority panel said her claims were not barred under Missouri's statute of limitations.

Can Police Search Commercial Vehicles Without Cause?

Ronald Calzone drives cattle, not trucks, for a living.

But a Missouri police officer pulled him over for driving a truck because the officer thought he was violating long-haul vehicle laws. The officer searched the vehicle and then let him go because it turned out Calzone was a farmer, not a commercial driver.

Calzone sued in Calzone v. Koster, but a judge said the stop-and-search was justified to protect the public. Calzone said something like "bull," and appealed.

A recently filed wage-suppression class action against the burger franchiser Carl's Jr. claims that the company has conspired to suppress the wages of their restaurant managers and shift-leaders.

The gist of the lawsuit alleges that the agreements entered into by the franchisees contain no-hire and non-solicitation agreements which prevents the managers from being able to compete in the marketplace for their services. The putative class action complaint alleges that the company required these agreements "for the express purpose of depressing and/or reducing market-based wages and benefits increases."

Federal Judge Strikes Iowa 'Ag-Gag" Law

A federal judge ruled that Iowa's "ag-gag law," prohibiting surreptitious investigation of animal abuse, is unconstitutional.

Judge James Gritzner struck the law, which was enacted in 2012 to keep reporters and activists from going into animal facilities and reporting abuse. He said people have a First Amendment right to report what is going on inside such places as pig farms, chicken ranches, and slaughterhouses.

The decision in Animal Legal Defense Fund v. Reynolds is not the first to invalidate an ag-gag law. It's part of a trend of legal decisions across the country.

Pence Breaks Tie in Unprecedented Confirmation Vote

It's been a nail-biter for judicial nominees since the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearing.

Sure, Kavanaugh survived the surreal proceedings. But not every judicial nominee is making it in the stormy political climate.

In the latest showdown, Jonathan Kobes cleared confirmation by one vote. Vice President Mike Pence cast the unprecedented tiebreaker.

A recent Eighth Circuit decision made a rather technical distinction when it came to a recent Title VII retaliation claim: a job applicant's request for a religious accommodation is not protected activity for the purposes of a Title VII retaliation claim.

Fortunately, the Eighth Circuit limited its decision to prospective employees and to facts evidencing that the request itself did not communicate "opposition" conduct. And though there was a rather well thought out dissent, and it was the EEOC prosecuting the case, the panel of judges upheld the dismissal of the clear contentious case upon some questionable analysis.

Dog lovers out there that get unreasonably outraged when bad things happen to good dogs and the court just doesn't seem to understand, might be happier looking at my dog's Instagram than reading this. (She's a good dog).

Mister was surely a good dog. His story is really sad. He sat in the backseat and watched his human get car-jacked. Then, he rode in the backseat until the car was crashed. And the saddest part, Mister died in the crash. Another person was injured too. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals apparently has no compassion and stripped the dog's owner of the restitution award issued by the lower court.

If you've never heard of Sturgis before, either you're allergic to two wheeled motor vehicles, or you just haven't known anyone who just won't shut up about it. Sturgis, South Dakota is home of the largest, and longest running, annual motorcycle rally in the country, and probably the world.

Over the decades, merchandising, licensing, and commercialization have slowly crept into the annual rally. But unfortunately for the group purporting to hold all the rights, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled that the organizer's Sturgis trademark was invalid.