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

When it comes to providing equal access to county services, a Wisconsin school district was accused of discriminating against a Catholic school because it refused to provide school bus service to it.

Unfortunately for the school, both a federal district court and the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeal agreed, the school district's rule preventing the Catholic school from getting bus service was not discriminatory. As both courts noted, the district already provided bus services to another Catholic school under the same policy.

A group of plaintiffs in the city of Chicago have filed a lawsuit against the state of Illinois for not doing enough when it comes to gun control.

The plaintiffs are all individuals who have lost at least one family member to gun violence. And the lawsuit blames the state's failure to implement common sense gun control for the 2,000 gun related murders over the past three years. The lawsuit explains that the gun violence is beyond an epidemic and is having a disproportionate impact on the African American community.

Court: Village Can't Confer 'Right-To-Work' Law

A local municipality can't confer a right to work on employees who opt not to join unions, a federal appeals court said.

In International Union of Operating Engineers Local 399 v. Village of Lincolnshire, the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals said a municipality's "right-to-work" agreement violated the National Labor Relations Act.

The only problem is that not everybody agrees -- including the Sixth Circuit. Sooner or later, the issue could go to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Dog Treat Class Action Hiccup

Dog people can be a little crazy about their dogs (Exhibit A: My dog's Instagram). However, when a group of dog owners discovered that a popular treat they'd been giving their furry little friends was the cause of serious medical problems for their pups, the gloves came off and a class action lawsuit got filed.

Unfortunately for the dog owners, the district court in Illinois recently rejected their motion for class certification, but it didn't completely close the door. The court found that the individual dog owners with claims that their dogs were harmed could still proceed.

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld subsidies passed by the state of Illinois in 2016 to support clean and nuclear energy producers in the state.

The state law, as the challengers alleged, allowed in state energy producers to undercut out of state producers in the federally regulated interstate energy auction markets, thereby violating a federal law preventing states from interfering with interstate energy commerce. However, as the appellate court found, the Illinois law didn't infringe upon the interstate energy trade as much as it just gave in state producers more of an incentive to produce clean energy.

Judge Denies New Evidence Motion for 'Making a Murderer' Defendant

Convicted murderer Steven Avery became famous after the Netflix documentary about his case, "Making a Murderer."

The publicity gained some sympathy for his nephew and co-defendant Brendan Dassey, who confessed to participating in the murder of Teresa Halbach. Avery, however, is a different story.

He raped and killed the woman, then burned her body in a fire pit. Denying a motion that could have set up another appeal, a judge cut him off.

State Farm to Pay $250M to End RICO Trial

Forget about Russians interfering with elections. We should worry about State Farm.

The insurance giant has reportedly agreed to pay $250 million to settle a lawsuit that claims the company tried to buy a judicial election. The company allegedly poured $3.5 million into Judge Lloyd Karmeier's campaign for the Illinois Supreme Court, hoping to get a friendly judge on the state's highest court.

Plaintiffs sued under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. The defendant denied the allegations, but agreed to settle right before opening statements.

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed the dismissal of a sexual orientation discrimination and retaliation case brought by a resident of a senior center.

The case alleges that the resident was subjected to pejorative verbal attacks, and even physical attacks, on multiple occasions. Furthermore, despite notifying the staff, nothing was done to protect her from the abusive tenants. The district court came down on the side of senior center as it agreed the Fair Housing Act only imposed liability on landlords for acting with discriminatory animus. However, the circuit court had a different reading of the FHA.

Last year, a jury returned a sizable verdict against GlaxoSmithKline, for the widow of a BigLaw partner that took his own life while on anti-depressant medication.

The case alleged that the maker of the anti-depressant Paxil failed to adequately warn adult users of the risk of suicide. The drug maker argued that it was the stress of BigLaw that drove him to it. But, despite the fact that a jury found the drug maker liable, on appeal, as it turned out, the jury shouldn't have even had the chance. The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeal reversed the $3 million jury verdict and remanded with instructions to dismiss.

Smart meters have been a curiously controversial issue. Though most of the uproar that local news captured seemed to be from delusional paranoid individuals, it turns out there was another, more serious, and real danger.

Smart meter data can tell law enforcement a lot about an individual or household. And though the use of smart meters may not seem like such a huge intrusion upon a person's individual civil liberties and right to privacy, the Seventh Circuit explained that smart meter data does fall under the Fourth Amendment's protections; however, city utilities, generally, have a reasonable purpose for accessing the information and therefore do not need a warrant.