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

October 2011 News

7th Flashback: Halloween, Free Speech Rights, and Qualified Immunity

In honor of Halloween, we're looking at a Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals blast-from-the-past that examines Halloween decorations, free speech rights, and the legal consequences at the cross-section of the two.

After Hurricane Katrina, there was an evacuee who parked his camper outside of our house for two months. Neighborhood rules prohibited recreational vehicle parking of that variety on the street, but no one wanted to report him because he had just lost his home in the storm.

Perhaps if he had left his camper on the street for two years, tempers would have flared.

Sheriff David Clarke Wins Unlawful Retaliation Appeal

Outspoken Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke won big this week in the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

Deputy David Hutchins sued Sheriff Clarke in 2007, alleging unlawful retaliation and violations of the Wisconsin Open Records Law following an on-air dispute on the "Eric Von Show." The district court granted summary judgment for Deputy Hutchins. This week, the Seventh Circuit reversed the district court in favor of Sheriff Clarke.

Seventh Circuit Dismisses State Law Claim for Chewy Bar Fraud

We enjoy Judge Richard Posner’s opinions for the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals because no one escapes his ire. This week, in Turek v. General Mills, Judge Posner criticized the district court judge for his lack of understanding of federal jurisdiction and class action complaints, and the plaintiff for bringing frivolous, unintelligible claims.

Ultimately, the plaintiff committed the greater sin in the court’s eyes, and the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed dismissal.

On to the case.

Cert Granted: Will SCOTUS Side with Seventh on Alien Tort Act?

The Supreme Court will decide whether corporations can be held liable under the Alien Tort Act (ATA). The Court granted cert in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum on Monday.

The question now is whether the Court will agree with the Seventh, Eleventh, and D.C. Circuits that the ATA applies to corporations, or if it will affirm the Second Circuit on Kiobel, the lone opinion that denied liability.

Conviction Reversed: Roger Loughry Wins FRE 403 Objection Appeal

The number of child pornography appeals in the appellate courts is disturbing, and writing about the perpetrators was killing our soul, so we consciously decided to avoid the topic for a while.

This Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals reversal of a child pornography conviction, however, warranted a lapse in our topic moratorium.

Roger Loughry, known online as Mayorroger, was convicted of advertising, distributing, and conspiring to advertise and distribute "lascivious exhibition" child pornography through an online depository. Loughry was not charged with possession of child pornography.

Free Speech Rights are Triable Issue in Prison Lawsuit

Even in prison, an employee can be fired from his job, and appeal his dismissal.

Jeremy Greene, a Wisconsin prisoner serving time for a murder conviction, worked as a clerk in the prison library. John Doruff, the prison’s director of education, ordered Green’s firing after concluding that Green had highlighted photocopies of judicial opinions and stolen a judicial opinion for personal use while on the job.

Greene responded by filing a complaint in the prison grievance system against Doruff, charging that Doruff had had no cause for firing him. A month later, but, apparently just a day after the Greene had told the librarian that he had filed a grievance against Doruff, Doruff filed a conduct report attempting to justify Greene’s dismissal.

Seventh Circuit: Wrongful Termination Suit Has Issues

Freedom Bank recruited Belinda Egan to serve as one of its vice presidents. Seven months later, Freedom dismissed Egan.

No, she wasn’t stealing from the company, yelling at clients, or doing anything considered bad business behavior. The bank claimed that it was reducing inefficiencies. Egan claimed she was penalized for rejecting sexual advances from a board member, and filed a wrongful termination suit.

Sounds like an issue for a jury to decide, right?

Seventh Circuit Orders Briefs in U. of Illinois FOIA Case

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments last week in a freedom of information case involving a University of Illinois policy which afforded greater weight to admissions applications from well-connected students.

In case you haven't heard, the University of Illinois has been in a bit of a pickle over the last two years for unsound admissions practices. Now, the University wants the Seventh Circuit to protect it from releasing records that would reveal the extent of the scandal.