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

August 2017 Archives

Court Affirms Defunding Planned Parenthood

Women have the right to get an abortion anywhere in America, but they may have a hard time paying for one in Arkansas.

The U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals said in Does v. Gillespie that Arkansas can kick Planned Parenthood out of its network of Medicaid-approved health providers. Setting up a possible showdown in the U.S. Supreme Court, the Eighth Circuit has changed the abortion litigation landscape.

"The plaintiffs are asserting a right -- the absolute right to a particular provider of their choosing -- that (the law) does not grant them," Judge Steven Colloton wrote for the Eighth Circuit, which includes Arkansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North and South Dakota.

In June 2017, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the $11 million judgment against Toyota stemming from an unintended acceleration case that left three people dead, and put the driver behind bars for over two years. Toyota requested reconsideration of the matter, and a month later, in August 2017, the Eighth Circuit upheld the judgment against them once again.

The big issue that Toyota sought reconsideration on, apart from the size of the judgment, involved the evidence of "other similar incidents." In the case, testimony from three other individuals, unrelated to the accident in the present case, described situations where their Toyota Camrys (of the same model year) suffered the unintended acceleration problem alleged to have caused the accident in the present case.

Civil rights can sometimes be a bit confusing. The case of Anthony Runion is definitely one of those 'I-may-not-agree-with-what-you're-saying-but-I-support-your-right-to-say-it' situations in the view of the Eighth Circuit.

Runion was picketing his employer, Cooper Tire, after striking union employees were locked out. As a group of strike-breaking employees crossed the picket line, Runion made racist comments, which were not heard by the strike-breaking employees. Nevertheless, Cooper Tire terminated Runion for making the racist comments.

Runion appealed the termination, and at arbitration it was upheld as a "for cause" termination. However, Runion appealed the arbitrator's decision to the NLRB, which reversed, and ordered Runion reinstated with back pay. The NLRB found that despite the content of the comments, precedent required ruling in Runion's favor.

Lawyers Avoid Federal Sanctions in Forum Shopping Case

Usually, judges like to see cases settled.

But Judge P.K. Holmes was not one of those judges in Adams v. USAA Casualty Insurance Company. He found out that the parties in one of his former cases had settled in another court, and he wanted to know why he shouldn't sanction the lawyers for forum shopping.

One sanctions order and an appeal later, the U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals gave the lawyers a reprieve because the federal rules allowed it.

Eighth Circuit Sends Back Abortion Decision

A Planned Parenthood victory dance over an abortion law lasted shorter than most White House jobs, as a federal appeals vacated an injunction in Arkansas.

The U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals said Planned Parenthood didn't show that the state's law was a substantial obstacle to women seeking abortion services. The law required that doctors who provide miscarriage pills must have hospital privileges in the event of complications.

"This common sense law will help ensure that medication abortions are conducted in a safe, responsible manner and with appropriate protections for women," said Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge.