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

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The civil rights case of Arkansas judge Wendell Griffen against the Arkansas Supreme Court, and each of its members, was just dismissed by a three-judge panel of the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Judge Griffen's case is a fascinating one, as he is an outspoken advocate against the death penalty and the state's high court barred him from hearing death penalty cases due to his alleged bias, and in accordance with the state's judicial ethics. And while that may seem extreme, not only has Judge Griffen blogged about his views against the death penalty, he participated in a protest where he laid down on a gurney in front of the governor's mansion while wearing an anti-death penalty button.

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.

'Wal-Mex' Derivative Suit Dismissed on Quasi-Procedural Grounds

The Mexican arm of Walmart (known as Wal-Mex) has been at the center of several Walmart lawsuits recently. The latest, involving allegations that top brass at Walmart knowingly engaged in violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, has been dismissed by the Eighth Circuit, largely on quasi-procedural grounds and particularity.

Litigators, should take note: Demand clear specifics from your clients when they allege fraudulent activity. It could defeat a dismissal.

8th Circuit Affirms Denial of SSDI Benefits for Injured Vet

The Eighth Circuit affirmed an administrative court's ruling of denial of SSI benefits for injuries a soldier sustained while in combat in Iraq. The issue at hand involved whether or not the petitioning soldier was injured enough to be eligible.

The outcome of this review should be used as a means to warn injured plaintiffs to follow a medical regimen with painstaking care.

Ventura's 'American Sniper' Reward Cut Down to Size by 8th Circuit

It appears that former Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura's recent $1.8 million victory against the estate of Chris Kyle of American Sniper fame will be reduced following a ruling by the Eighth Circuit. The overturned award related to disputes over Ventura's defamation win, which the circuit found had been tainted with improper testimony of insurance.

Obviously, the MPAA and other producers reacted warmly to the Eighth Circuit's ruling.

8th Affirms Denial to Let Fraudster Represent Himself Pro Se

Calling all experienced motion practice attorneys out there: what does the following mean? "Affidavit of Truth Notice of Conditional Acceptance of Offer Upon Proof of Claim."

We've seen some awful motion captions before, but the above takes the cake. And because of ridiculous behavior by a litigant who wanted to represent himself pro se, the circuit court affirmed a lower court's decision that he should lose that privilege.

Infamous pornographer Larry Flynt may be allowed to intervene in two Missouri death penalty cases and access previously sealed records following a ruling by the Eight Circuit today. The cases challenged the constitutionality of Missouri's execution methods.

Flynt, who gained notoriety as the outspoken founder of Hustler magazine, sought to intervene in the lawsuits as a publisher and death penalty opponent. Intervention could give him access to documents previously sealed by the court, including the identities of participants in the states' executions. Joseph Franklin, who shot and paralyzed Flynt in 1978, was also a party to the suits before he was executed for other crimes in 2013.

Have No Fear, New Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure Are Here

On Sunday, December 1st, 2013, a handful of amendments to the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure are scheduled to go into effect. The most significant change entails consolidation of Rule 28.

Here's a summary of the changes:

Government Shutdown? No Problem! 8th Cir. Is Open for Business

When October 17th rolls around, if the judiciary funding is exhausted due to the government shutdown, the Eighth Circuit will still keep its doors open.

As we've discussed before, federal courts are financially running on fumes, trying to maintain operations set at the minimum required for Article III obligations.

But the Eighth Circuit is holding sown the fort. Chief Judge William Jay Riley entered an order last week declaring that "the work of all Eighth Circuit Court Staff is necessary and essential to support the exercise of the Court's Article III judicial power," according to the memo released by Clerk of Court Michael E. Gans.

'Younger' But Wiser? SCOTUS to Hear Sprint v. Jacobs

The U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari to a fee dispute case that sprung from the Eighth Circuit between a Sprint Nextel Corp. subsidiary and the utilities regulator in Iowa, reports Reuters.

But it's not actually about fees.

Central to the dispute is whether the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals erred in applying the abstention doctrine set forth by Younger v. Harris. The Eighth Circuit concluded that the Younger abstention is warranted when there is a related state proceeding that is "remedial" as opposed to "coercive," rejecting a distinction between the two.