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

August 2012 Archives

Viewpoint Discrimination: Good News for the Good News Club

There's good news for the Good News Club at Jenny Lind Elementary School in Minneapolis this week.

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday that a Minneapolis school district likely engaged in impermissible viewpoint discrimination when it barred a religious club for elementary students from an after-school program open to other community groups, Education Week's School Law Blog reports.

Eighth Circuit Reduces 'Unconstitutional' Tony Alamo Judgment

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals reduced a judgment against Tony Alamo this week, finding that the judgment exceeded the single-digit ratio between punitive and compensatory damages that the Supreme Court encourages, reports the Arkansas News Bureau.

Last year, a jury found Alamo liable for battery, outrage and conspiracy and awarded two men $33 million each for the abuse they suffered as children while members of the Tony Alamo Christian Ministries. The Eighth Circuit reduced the awards to $12 million each.

Borrower Loses Show Me the Note Lawsuit

Just so we’re clear, “show me the note” lawsuits have not fared well in the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. If you decide that you want to file one of these claims, don’t say we didn’t tell you.

Mary and William Butler filed a “show me the note” lawsuit against Bank of America, N.A., BAC Home Loan Servicing, and the law firm of Peterson, Fram, and Bergman, P.A. (PFB), challenging the foreclosure on their home. The district court dismissed the case for failure to state a claim under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). The Eighth Circuit affirmed.

Court Upholds Jury's Reasonable Inference in Drug Bust

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled this week that a jury's reasonable inferences about witness credibility matter more than the witness's protestations of innocence.

Officers obtained a warrant for Michael Dewayne Dawson's home in Batesville, Arkansas. Upon arrival, they found Dawson and Silas Roynel Swift trying to exit the home. Officers seized a large amount of crystal meth in a gallon-sized bag hidden behind the dryer.

Social Workers Have Qualified Immunity in Guardianship Dispute

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Monday that a trio of Missouri social workers are entitled to qualified immunity after recommending a guardianship arrangement for a child that allegedly led to the child's death.

Lynn and Jason Hutson filed a civil rights lawsuit against Jude Walker, Julie Baumgardner, and Sallie West -- the social workers -- after the employees recommended that custody of their son, A.H., be granted to his grandparents, Carolyn and Patrick Cattin. According to the Hutsons, this recommendation resulted in the A.H.'s untimely death.

Martini Glass Attack: 'Violent or Dangerous' Crime?

Just so we're clear, hitting someone over the head with a martini glass is not a very masculine way to get arrested.

But, according to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, it's not necessarily a "violent or dangerous" crime that serves as grounds for removal.

Eighth Circuit Applies 'No Takebacks' to Right to Counsel

For better or for worse, the Sixth Amendment permits criminal defendants to represent themselves.

Attorneys know that self-representation among criminal defendants tends to end poorly. Many attorneys accused of crimes don't even represent themselves.

But the question of proceeding pro se isn't about intelligence, training, or even ego. According to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, it's about finality.

Eighth Circuit Revives Cymbalta Failure to Warn Lawsuit

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated a failure to warn lawsuit against Eli Lilly over Cymbalta on Friday.

The appellate court found that there was a genuine issue of material fact regarding whether Lilly’s failure to warn about increased suicide risks among teens would have affected the plaintiff’s doctor’s decision to prescribe Cymbalta.

Trademark or Title? The Difference Can Affect Duty to Defend

What's in a name?

That which we call a "trademark" will not -- in the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals -- be automatically deemed a "title or slogan."

When we're talking about an insurer's duty to defend, the distinction is critical.