U.S. Seventh Circuit - The FindLaw 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog


What's Next in the #MeToo Michael Madigan Case?

Alaina Hampton, a political consultant who sued her own party for sexual harassment, is ready to settle.

She originally sued for $350,000 and attorney's fees, but her attorney says they are discussing settlement. That may include attorneys for Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan, the Democratic party chief in the state.

It just so happens there's an opening in the organization, and Hampton wants it. Suddenly, #MeToo has a new meaning in the Land of Lincoln.

The death of Derek Boogaard is sad. He overdosed on prescription painkillers while under the NHL's care for pain pill addiction. After his death, many disturbing facts came to light.

Despite specific requirements of his drug treatment program stating that he not be given certain types of pills, team doctors prescribed the exact pills he was not supposed to have. Despite him failing drug tests, consequences specifically designed to encourage compliance with drug treatment programs did not follow those failures. And as a result of the systemic failures, Boogaard's family sued for wrongful death.

But, due to procedural failings, the NHL prevailed in the recent appeal over wrongful death lawsuit.

Court: Lawyer's Strategy Didn't Matter in Murderer's Sentence

Fighting a life sentence for murder, Frederick Laux wanted his lawyer to throw in everything for his defense.

He claims that his broken marriage, his post-divorce depression, and his childhood problems all contributed to his crime. His father was an alcoholic and his mother a paranoid schizophrenic, he said.

His lawyer chose not to talk about his childhood, but that didn't matter to the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Laux v. Zatecky. The appellate court affirmed that the defendant's trial counsel did not act unreasonably, and that the sentence was proper given that the defendant broke into his ex-wife's home, and beat her with a crowbar, killing her.

Seventh Circuit Nominees Confirmed, Court Complete

It's unusual for two lawyers to agree, and practically impossible to get all of them to agree.

Yet that's what happened in the United States Senate, where most of the legislators are also lawyers. On a 91-0 vote, they confirmed the nominations of two judges to the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

The appointments were notable also because they filled the bench, which had two vacancies for nine months. The new judges will have some pretty big robes, er, shoes to fill.

A Hustler Hollywood store has lost its interlocutory appeal to Seventh Circuit of the denial of a preliminary injunction to allow the establishment to open right next door to a Chuck E. Cheese's in Indianapolis.

The primary issue boils down to a zoning rights fight which started in 2016 when the establishment believed it would be allowed to operate based on conversations it had with city officials. When Hustler Hollywood sought permits to put up signage, the city denied those permits citing zoning restrictions prohibiting adult stores. Unfortunately for the chain of adult stores, the courts have sided with the city zoning board in finding that it would be a violation of the city's zoning law to permit the store to operate next to the popular kids' restaurant, even if the store promised not to hold classes or other events.

Debt collector, Portfolio Recovery Associates, recently lost their consolidated appeal in the Seventh Circuit seeking to overturn four summary judgment orders granted to four different claimants alleging violations of federal debt collection practices.

The violation each of the four debtors alleged involved their debts being reported to the credit reporting agencies without notice that the debt was disputed. The debt collector claims that the letters they received from the debtors did not clearly state that the debts were being disputed. Fortunately for the four debtors, the court of appeals didn't agree.

Court: 'Selective' Abortions Are Unconstitutional

For the second time in a week, a federal appeals court has struck down an abortion law as unconstitutional.

In the latest ruling, the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals said an Indiana law unlawfully banned "selective" abortions. The law specifically targeted fetuses based on gender, race, or disability.

In a separate case, an appeals panel voided an Ohio law that cut off funds to abortion clinics. If the decisions alone weren't enough to inflame one of the most controversial and political fires in America, the Indiana law was signed into law by then Gov. Mike Pence.

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeal has upheld a lower district court's preliminary injunction barring federal restrictions on city and state governments that pass or enforce immigration sanctuary policies.

Specifically, the injunction, which was initially granted last September, stops the United States Department of Justice from withholding federal law enforcement grants as a consequence for cities that have immigration sanctuary policies. The Seventh Circuit affirmed extending the injunction to enjoin two additional requirements the feds sought to force on local law enforcement.

Data Breach Case Moves One Step Forward Against Barnes & Noble

In remanding a closely-watched data breach case, the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals acknowledged that it solved little.

It addressed only whether the plaintiffs had standing to sue in Diefenbach v. Barnes & Noble, Inc. They do, the appeals court said, because they alleged sufficient damages.

But that issue has taken almost six years to resolve, and the biggest practical question remains: can they be certified as a class?

Judge Wrongly 'Played Doctor' in Fybromyalgia Case

Judges sometimes wear more than one hat on the bench.

They always wear the rule-maker hat. In court trials, they also become fact-finders. And in some criminal cases, they may look like the executioner.

But the judge should not have "played doctor" in Akin v. Berryhill. That's not the judge's job, said the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.