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Decisions In Labor, Civil Rights, Habeas Proceedings & Antitrust Matters

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By FindLaw Staff on September 07, 2010 4:51 PM

Wilson v. O'Brien, 10-2417, involved a plaintiff's 42 U.S.C. section 1983 suit against the City of Chicago and persons associated with his prosecution for attempted murder, brought after a state court set aside the conviction.  In dismissing the plaintiff's and a witness's interlocutory appeal for lack of jurisdiction, the court held that the collateral-order doctrine does not support an interlocutory appeal by a party to the litigation who contends that the district judge erred in resolving a dispute about an evidentiary privilege.  Here, the privilege belonged to the plaintiff, not the witness, who was a law student at the time he interviewed plaintiff for the acts of which he had been convicted, and Mohawk Industries holds that the district court's resolution of the question of whether defendants may use the witness's deposition that they now possess is to be reviewed on appeal from the final decision.

 

US v. Yancey, 09-1138, concerned a challenge to a conviction of defendant for possessing a firearm as an unlawful user of marijuana.  In affirming, the court held that Congress acted within constitutional bounds by prohibiting illegal drug users from firearm possession because it is substantially related to the important governmental interest in preventing violent crime.

US v. Blitch, 08-3511, concerned challenges to the convictions of defendants for conspiring to distribute 15 kilograms of cocaine.  In vacating the convictions, the court remanded the matter as the court's failure to individually voir dire the second panel regarding its safety concerns, and her instructions to keep deliberating after the jury poll, when the jury had specifically requested to leave for the day, leads to the conclusion that the defendants should receive a new trial.

U.S. Sec. & Exch. Comm'n v. Hyatt, 08-4013, concerned a challenge to the district court's order of contempt and award of attorney's fees against nonparties for their failure to adequately respond to two subpoenas duces tecum served on them by the Securities and Exchange Commission in connection with litigation between the SEC and another party.  In vacating the judgment, the court held that Rule 45(e) does not require the court to first order compliance before imposing the sanction of contempt, although Rule 45(c) requires an intervening court order if the recipient of the subpoena objects in writing to the production of documents or things, and here, the nonparties did not serve a written objection.  Also, the SEC's notice and motion for a rule to show cause did not provide sufficient notice that the district court would decide the contempt issue at the initial hearing as the notice sought only the issuance of a show-cause order and asked the court to set a hearing at which the merits of the contempt issue would later be adjudicated.

Stock v. Rednour, 09-2560, concerned a challenge to the district court's dismissal of defendant's petition for habeas relief from his first degree murder conviction of his girlfriend.  In affirming, the court held that the Illinois court reviewing defendant's conviction did not unreasonably apply clearly established federal law, because the testimony he intended to elicit from a key witness was inconclusive for the purpose of impeachment.

Socha v. Pollard, 09-1733, concerned a challenge to the district court's dismissal of defendant's petition for habeas corpus as untimely, in concluding that another district judge's order extending the limitations period was an impermissible advisory opinion and thus of no effect because the court issued the order before defendant had filed his petition.  In vacating the dismissal, the court remanded the case as, an order accepting a filing after the limitations period has run is not beyond the power of the district court, and it is effective if it can meet the standards for equitable tolling that the Supreme Court described in Holland v. Florida, 130 S. Ct. 2549 (2010).  The court also held that the district court erred by focusing too closely on the fact that defendant had not already filed something that he had labeled as his petition as, not only does the motion anticipate an imminent action in which defendant and the state will be adverse, but also the parties have opposing interests on the immediate question of whether to toll the statute of limitations.

Goodman v. Nat'l Sec. Agency, Inc., 09-2043, involved a plaintiff's suit against her former employer under Title VII and the Equal Pay Act. In affirming the district court's grant of defendant's motion for summary judgment, the court held that plaintiff has offered insufficient evidence to establish the key elements of her retaliation and discrimination claims.  The court also held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying plaintiff's Rule 59(e) motion to alter or amend the judgment.

Flying J, Inc. v. Hollen, 09-1883, involved a plaintiff's facial challenge to Wisconsin's gasoline pricing regulations.  The court reversed the district court's grant of plaintiff's motion for summary judgment and dissolved the district court's entry of permanent injunction against enforcing provisions of the regulations, in concluding that the lack of evidence in the record supporting plaintiff's allegations of collusive conduct by gasoline dealers is fatal to its claim that the motor vehicle fuel provisions of the Unfair Sales Act are preempted by the Sherman Act as it cannot be found on the face of the statute any compelled or authorized conduct that constitutes a violation of federal antitrust law.

Chapin v. Fort-Rohr Motors, Inc., 09-1347, involved a plaintiff's suit against his former employer claiming discrimination because of his race and retaliation under Title VII.  In reversing the jury's verdict for plaintiff on a retaliation claim, the court remanded the matter as the employer was entitled to judgment as a matter of law because plaintiff did not produce sufficient evidence to find an actual or constructive discharge.

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