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


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.

Justice is often less than precise. Some cases are easily tied in a neat little bow. Then there are cases involving 26 indictments and 40 defendants, and sentencing enhancements that get misapplied due to a deficient defense counsel filing frivolous motions.

Recently, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals had the pleasure of handling one such, let's just say, rare appeal. The defendant, LeeAnn Brock-Miller, pleaded guilty to a conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute heroin charge, and received a 10 year sentence. On appeal, the court seemed to agree with Brock-Miller that her attorney failed her, and the system messed up badly.

Jury Awards $3M for AndroGel Heart Attack

When you win more than $3 million in a case, it should be cause for celebration.

For the plaintiff in his case against a drug company, however, it was a big let down. Jesse Mitchell had won $150 million against the company three months earlier, but the judge threw out the verdict and ordered a new trial.

The latest decision wasn't exactly good news for the defendant either. AbbVie, which is facing more than 4,000 similar lawsuits, plans to appeal.

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals is sure to be spreading joy and cheer in this most wonderful time of the year. A three judge panel just ruled that Concord High School's Christmas Spectacular is not unconstitutional.

The high school's performance had gone on for over four decades before anyone objected. Surprisingly, when an organization that advocates for the separation of church and state objected, the school actually changed the play. However, the group did not believe the changes were adequate and filed a lawsuit and won. In response, the school changed the play even more, and then put the new version on, prompting a new lawsuit from the same group.

Court Takes a Time-Out for a Question in Fantasy Sports Case

Judge Frank Easterbrook, reviewing the law on fantasy sports and publicity rights, punted.

Writing for the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, Easterbrook asked the Indiana Supreme Court to interpret a state statute on publicity rights. He said there is no clear law on the subject.

The case depends on whether Indiana views paid fantasy sports as illegal gambling, and whether it treats illegality as material to the right-of-publicity. In Daniels v. FanDuel, Inc., the appeals court told the state supreme court to figure it out.

Dairy Churns Battle Over Wisconsin's Butter-Grader Law

Wisconsin is known as America's Dairyland.

So it seems strange that a dairy company is having such a hard time selling butter there. Minerva Dairy, an Ohio company which produces Amish butter, has sued the state over its butter-grader law.

In Minerva Dairy, Inc. v. Brancel, the dairy says the law is unfair to "artisanal butter." Unless you are a Wisconsinite, you may need to look that up.

A transgender individual seeking a name change in Indiana has been denied that right by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. However, the court did not rule against the individual person so much as they rigidly applied the law to the case at hand, as this was no ordinary name change.

The individual seeking a new name came to the United States at the age of 5, over 20 years ago. Recently, in addition to marrying a U.S. citizen and having a child, they obtained asylum status as returning to their home country as a transgender individual is not safe. Unfortunately, as a result of the asylum status and not being a U.S. citizen, the Indiana courts could not process the name change.