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

September 2012 Archives

Sentencing Guidelines: Management of a Conspiracy Defined

What constitutes “management” of a conspiracy when it comes to enhanced sentencing, under the sentencing guidelines in the Eighth Circuit?

This week, two defendants lost their combined sentence appeal in the Eight Circuit Court of Appeals. The two were convicted of running a massive counterfeit identification scheme, where they produced “fake IDs.”

Proof of Claim Untimely: Is the Lien Void?

Can a creditor's lien be avoided under 11 U.S.C. § 506(d) solely on the ground that the creditor's proof of claim has been disallowed for untimeliness?

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals says no.

Transgendered Job Applicant Loses Title VII Appeal

Gage Hunter was born female, but has identified as male since childhood.

In 2006, Hunter applied for a job at UPS under his birth name, Jessica Axt, and presenting as female. Hunter was offered a position, but turned it down.

In 2008, Hunter applied to be a UPS package handler, a popular position due to the great benefits. (Less than 20 percent of package handler applicants are hired.) Hunter didn't get an offer.

Insurer Must Cover Junk Fax Settlement

We get a fair number of junk faxes at our office. Our fax machine is next to the paper recycling bin, so it’s easy to toss them and forget about them. Because that’s what most people do.

Most people are tossing out a veritable gold mine; under the Junk Fax Act, they could be suing and collecting damages for those unwanted faxes.

Before you shudder at the thousands of dollars you’re losing by simply ignoring your in-house money press fax machine, just think about the money you’re saving insurance companies. Yes, insurers have to indemnify those overly-aggressive-faxers under advertising injury provisions.

Juvenile Record Haunts Defendant in Child Porn Sentence

Juvenile records are generally sealed, but the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled this week that a district court could use a defendant's juvenile adjudication as the basis for a sentence enhancement in a child pornography case.

Francis Joseph Woodard pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography. The statutory sentencing range for a child porn possession is 0 to 10 years imprisonment. That range increases to not less than 10 years nor more than 20 years for a defendant who has a prior conviction involving sexual abuse.

The district court sentenced Woodard to 168 months' imprisonment because his presentence report (PSR) indicated that he had a prior juvenile adjudication for sexual abuse of a minor.

Don't Stop Believin' in Copyright Infringement Damages

In Jonathan Larson's Tony-winning musical Rent, we learned that a year is 525,600 minutes. That number was repeated throughout the song "Seasons of Love," which lasts for approximately 3 minutes, (or 0.00000571 years). And if you illegally download "Seasons of Love," those 3 minutes could cost you $9,250, (or $51.38 per second).

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled today that Jammie Thomas-Rasset is on the line for $220,000 for peer-to-peer file sharing. Thomas-Rasset shared 24 songs on Kazaa, including Def Leppard's "Pour Some Sugar on Me," Journey's "Don't Stop Believin' and Green Day's "Basket Case" The Wall Street Journal reports. Now she'll pay a six-figure sum for songs she could have heard second-rate cover bands play for free at almost any bar or frat party

So why did this case need to be resolved in an appellate court?

Eighth Circuit Sides with Insurer in 'Overriding Cause' Dispute

Diversity actions force federal courts to beef up on state laws. This week, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals got a crash course in Minnesota insurance law, thanks to a homeowner's insurance dispute.

Joseph and Carolyn Friedberg sought coverage from their insurer, Chubb & Son Inc. (Chubb), for damage sustained to their home. After Chubb denied their claim, the Friedbergs sued for declaratory relief. The district court granted Chubb's motion for summary judgment, and the Friedbergs appealed.

Reasonable Accommodation Can't Eliminate Essential Functions

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals confirmed this week that an employer doesn't have to reallocate or eliminate the essential functions of a job to accommodate a disabled employee.

Terri Kallail began working at Alliant Energy Corporate Services in 1996 as a Customer Service Consultant. She eventually became a Resource Coordinator at the Distribution Dispatch Center (DDC) in Cedar Rapids. To provide 24/7 coverage, Alliant requires Resource Coordinators at the DDC to work 9-week schedules that rotate between 12-hour and 8-hour shifts, and day and night shifts.