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


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.

Judge Won't Block Voter ID Law for Native Americans in North Dakota

A federal judge denied a last-minute request by Native Americans to exempt them from a North Dakota law that requires voters to show proof of residence when voting.

It was a tough call for Judge Daniel Hovland, who expressed concern that Native Americans were disenfranchised by the requirement. Voters have to show valid identification with a street address, but reservations don't have standard addresses.

It was too late for the judge, however, to change the status quo in Spirit Lake Tribe v. Jaeger. Not to mention, his hands were tied.

Ex-FBI Agent Leaked Docs, Gets 4 Years

Terry Albury, a former FBI agent, said he wanted to make a difference.

After he made that statement, Judge Wilhelmina Wright sentenced him to four years in prison. The judge said his good intentions were no excuse for leaking confidential documents.

Even though Albury confessed to his crime, it was a difficult case for the government. Prosecutors said it is never easy to go after their own.

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.