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

September 2013 Archives

8th Cir. Temporarily Blocks Minn. Child-Care Provider Union Law

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals has granted an injunction to temporarily block a Minnesota law authorizing child-care providers to unionize.

The decision is a victory for the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, which is representing Minnesota providers who oppose unionization.

But the decision hasn't seemed to faze proponents of the law, who are chalking up the injunction to a "temporary roadblock," reports the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

Failure to Check 'Guilty' Gets Defendant New Trial

Jury verdict forms are intended to make the criminal justice process easier, but when forms are lacking required elements, a defendant may be entitled to a new trial.

That was the case in United States v. Amaya, where a defendant who was tried for money laundering in concert with a drug conspiracy was granted a retrial based on the fact that his verdict form lacked boxes for "guilty" or "not guilty."

Is such a small error enough to redo an entire trial?

Is Transgender Discrimination Covered by Title VII?

Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, an employer cannot discriminate against -- or refuse to hire -- an individual based on his or her sex. That includes a prohibition against gender stereotyping.

Recently, a South Dakota woman's transgender discrimination settlement joined a growing trend of cases that say transgender discrimination is applicable to Title VII.

But does the settlement jibe with the Eighth Circuit's precedent?

Ducking and Hand-Hiding: Reasonable Suspicion for a Car Search?

Shedding some light on Terry stops, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a Nebraska district court's ruling that the Omaha police violated a drug dealer's constitutional rights when they searched his car after he ducked from their line of vision and took some time to raise his hands.

The legality of the car search boils down to "furtive gestures."

JC Superstar: OK to Give Out Bibles at Pride Fest, 8th Cir. Says

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that a self-described "professing Evangelical Christian" has a First Amendment right to distribute copies of the Bible at a gay pride festival.

The 2-1 panel ruling reversed a decision by U.S. District Judge Michael Davis, who ruled last year that the Park Board had made reasonable provisions for Brian Johnson to distribute Bibles at the Twin Cities Pride Festival, which takes place each June.

Ministry of Sound Sues Spotify: Why It Matters to the 8th Cir.

Is a compilation album sufficiently original to merit copyright protection? It's a provocative question that has rattled courts across the country, including the U.S. Supreme Court and the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Ministry of Sound has brought the issue back into the limelight with its recent lawsuit against Spotify. The electronic music giant contends that Spotify users are creating playlists on Spotify that are rip-offs of their compilation albums.

Albeit filed in the UK, the Ministry of Sound's case may pique the attention of the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals and renew the copyright debate over "sweat of the brow" versus originality.

Juvenile Life-Without-Parole Sentencing: 8th Cir. May Weigh In

A 2012 decision from the U.S. Supreme Court on juvenile life sentences is creating confusion in the Eighth Circuit and beyond.

Last month, the Iowa Supreme Court concluded that the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Miller v. Alabama -- which outlawed mandatory life-without-parole sentences for juveniles -- should be applied retroactively, rather than only to future cases.

But the Minnesota Supreme Court and a number of other courts have reached the opposite conclusion. With inmates, their lawyers, lawmakers and sentencing-policy advocates in legal limbo, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals may weigh in on the matter.

Can't Ban Strip Club? Ban Business.

Florence, Minnesota really doesn't want your dirty, salacious strip club. When a businessman attempted to open The Juice Bar, a non-alcoholic adult entertainment venue, the town banned all commercial business through zoning regulations. Yes, all business.

According to the Eighth Circuit, banning the strip club and all other businesses from operating within city limits was entirely constitutional, especially since the town is only 0.27 square miles.