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Emlployment and Criminal Matters, Plus Section 8 Due Process Claims

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By FindLaw Staff on May 10, 2010 4:01 PM

In Kodish v. Oakbrook Terrace Fire Prot. Dist., No. 08-1976, , the Seventh Circuit dealt with a former firefighter's suit alleging violation of his due process rights, his First Amendment rights by terminating him for engaging in pro-union speech, and wrongful termination and defamation under Illinois state law.  In reversing the district court's grant of summary judgment for the defendants, the court held that the Illinois Fire Protection Act grants a firefighter an entitlement to continued employment in the absence of cause for discharge after the firefighter has held the position for one year.  The court also held that the plaintiff has presented sufficient evidence that but for his protected pro-union speech, the members of the Board of Trustees of the District, influenced by the Chief, would not have voted to terminate his employment.    

Everroad v. Scott Truch Sys., Inc., No. 08-3311, concerned a plaintiff's suit against her former employer and the company's general manager for gender and age discrimination and retaliation.  First, the court concluded that any argument that the district court abused its discretion in refusing to consider the transcripts of recorded conversations is frivolous. 

Next, in affirming the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the defendants, the court held that the plaintiff is unable to make out a prima facie case of discrimination under the McDonnell Douglas analysis, and she has failed to present any evidence calling into question the sincerity of her employer's non-discriminatory reason for terminating her. Lastly, the court held that the district court properly granted summary judgment on the retaliation claim as she has failed to establish the requisite causal connection between the protected activity and her retaliation because a year is too long in the absence of any other evidence tying the protected activity to the adverse action.   

Fincher v. S. Bend Heritage Found., No. 09-1964, concerned a challenge to the district court's judgment granting summary judgment to the defendant in plaintiff's suit against the South Bend Heritage Foundation for denying his application for Section 8 housing in its building.  First, under Eidson v. Pierce, 745 F.2d 453 (7th. Cir. 1984), Section 8 housing applicants do not have a protected right that entitles them to some form of due process when they are rejected from a specific Section 8 housing unit.  Second, because Eidson was a well-reasoned opinion, and no significant changes in law have occurred between when that case was decided and now, plaintiff's argument that it should be overturned is rejected.  Finally, district court properly rejected plaintiff's claim that he is entitled to bring suit as a third-party beneficiary of a  contract entered into between defendant and its funding agencies, such as HUD.   

In US v. Collins, No. 09-2360, the court faced a challenge to a conviction of defendant for possessing crack cocaine with intent to distribute it and conspiring to distribute.  In affirming the conviction the court held that the district court did not commit clear error in its factual determination on denying defendant's motion to suppress.  Furthermore, the admission of firearm possession evidence against defendant was not so prejudicial as to constitute plain error and defendant has not shown plain error with respect to the admission of evidence of crack cocaine sales and Rule 404(b) did not apply.  The court also held that the district court properly denied defendant's motion for a mistrial.  However, with respect to defendant's sentence, because the district court believed that it could not take into account the disparity between the guidelines advisory ranges for powder and crack cocaine when determining defendant's sentence, the sentence is remanded for resentencing.    

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