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


When walking into or out of a medical facility in Chicago, the law prohibits others from coming within eight feet of that person to distribute literature or protest. The law has been dubbed the "bubble zone" law because it creates a bubble around the individual entering or exiting the facility that protesters cannot invade.

So-called pro-life "sidewalk counselors" challenged the Chicago law on the basis that it violated their First Amendment rights. But both the federal district court and the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals agree that, as precedent stands, the challenge is without merit.

Chicago Police Reforms Approved

Al "Scarface" Capone. Frank "The Enforcer" Nitti. Louis "Little New York" Campagna.

These were the names of Chicago's famous crime bosses, but things have changed since then. Now names like Laquan McDonald and Jason Van Dyke make headlines there.

Van Dyke, a Chicago police officer, was convicted of murdering McDonald. That led to a plan for police reforms, which a federal judge has now approved.

For 19-year-old political hopeful David Krupa, Chicago-style politics aren't something he's afraid of. Krupa has filed a lawsuit against both the House Speaker, Michael Madigan, and his opponent, Alderman Marty Quinn, alleging the two have attempted to strongarm him out of the election.

The lawsuit alleges that agents of Madigan and Quinn followed and threatened Krupa, telling him: "You're a nice kid, but I'd hate to see something bad happen to you." Krupa also alleges they intimidated individuals that signed his petition to be included on the ballot so that those individuals would retract their signatures from the petition. However, Madigan and Quinn blast Krupa as being a part of the right-wing propaganda machine.

7th Circuit Limits Age-Based Protections

The Age Discrimination in Employment Act applies to employees, not job applicants.

That's the ruling in Kleber v. CareFusion Corportion, a case from the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. A majority said the plain language of the law protects only current employees.

It was an 8-4 decision by a 12-member panel, setting the stage for a possible appeal. But for attorney Dale Kleber, it's been too long already.

A recent Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals decision affirmed a lower court holding that the differential treatment received by disabled students seeking to transfer schools in Wisconsin is not unlawful.

Rather, as the opinion notes, Wisconsin's school district transfer program requires schools to accept transfer students if they have the "excess capacity," which is a number the school chooses based on an individual assessment of available resources, but schools have a separate "excess capacity" number for disabled students. Despite the fact that disabled students are literally competing for a different category of "excess capacity," the courts ruled that they are not being categorically discriminated against.

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has done more than just uphold the lower district court's decision against one Chicago-area pro-Airbnb group's challenge to the city's recent anti-Airbnb ordinance; the appellate court has all but ordered the matter dismissed due to a standing problem.

As it turns out, none of the plaintiffs, nor the non-profit group Keep Chicago Livable, have standing to challenge the city of Chicago's Shared Housing Ordinance. The ordinance, among its many requirements, forces individuals who want to list their properties on Airbnb or similar sites to get a business license from the city, as well as comply with reasonable regulations like providing clean linens.

In a recently filed federal lawsuit in the Northern District of Illinois court, the mother of Jordan Hankins, the Northwestern University basketball player that took her own life in early 2017, alleges that Jordan's sorority's hazing motivated her suicide.

The case seeks to hold the sorority, and several individuals, liable for Jordan's death. It is alleged that she told members of her sorority that the hazing was triggering her PTSD and causing her to have suicidal thoughts. It's further alleged that despite her explaining this, the hazing continued and prompted her suicide.

Google Wins Facial Recognition Lawsuit

Google did not violate privacy laws by creating face templates of people who uploaded their photos to the company's cloud service, a federal judge ruled.

In Rivera v. Google, Inc., the plaintiffs sued under a unique law that allows individuals to sue for collection of their biometric data. The Illinois law was also the first state statute to regulate the practice.

The problem, the judge said, was that the Fourth Amendment doesn't really recognize an expectation of privacy in a person's face.

Tribes Sue State Over Property Taxes On Reservation Lands

Native American tribes sued Wisconsin officials for trying to tax their land, renewing a battle they thought had ended more than 150 years ago.

By treaty in 1854, the Chippewa tribes claim their land was forever exempt from property taxes. Until recently, that seemed to be true.

Now the tribes want a court to settle the dispute and an injunction in LAC Court Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin v. Walker.

Challenge to Illinois Liquor Law Revived

A federal appeals court revived a challenge to an Illinois liquor law, but forewarned the plaintiffs their case may not be easy.

In LeBamoff Enterprises v. Rauner, the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a trial court that had dismissed the plaintiffs' case with prejudice. The appeals court said the trial judge acted too quickly, noting there are material issues about the reasons for the state statute.

The 21st Amendment permits states to regulate liquor sales, the appeals panel said, but they cannot engage in "unlawful economic protectionism."