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

September 2013 News

Some things are just not done. For example, demonstrative exhibits not admitted into evidence are just not sent into the jury room to assist the jury with deliberations. Yet somehow, that's precisely what happened here.

The Seventh Circuit reversed a judgment and remanded for a new trial because of a district court's error. Here's the latest case that had us scratching our head and thinking, "Did that really just happen?"

Here's a question for you: How do you prove that you were ill? In the absence of proof, how do you prove that two years after the fact?

That's what attorney Michael Finn is wondering.


Michael Finn represented Kenneth Clark in the appeal of his criminal conviction for possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine. Oral arguments were scheduled for April 14, 2011, and on that date, Finn didn't show up to oral arguments.

In a letter to counsel for the Administrator of the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission ("ARDC"), the ABA Journal reports that Finn explained his failure to show up:

Cadillac Dealer Created Hostile Workplace for Arabs, Muslims: Suit

A Chicago Cadillac dealer is being sued in federal court by the EEOC on allegations that the employer created a hostile work environment for its Muslim and Arab staff.

According to the Chicago Tribune, a suit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on Wednesday on behalf of Rizza Cadillac employees, seeking damages and injunctive relief for the discriminatory work environment created by the dealership's managers.

Suits like this one are typically losing battles when the allegations of racism are this severe.

Illinois Supreme Court Rules Gun Law Unconstitutional

The Illinois Supreme Court ruled part of the state's gun laws unconstitutional on Thursday, following the lead of the Seventh Circuit's 2012 decision.

The Chicago Tribune reports that Illinois' High Court ruled that prosecutors must abide by the Seventh Circuit's decision and stop prosecuting any cases in which defendants were charged for merely carrying a weapon in public.

This may only affect a small number of cases, but Illinois gun owners are now a bit more certain of their rights.

FRCP 58 Compliance is Not Optional: Posner

FRCP 58 requires that judgments of any federal district court be in a "separate document," and non-compliance causes an official date of judgment to be set 150 days after the court's final decision.

In Brown v. Fifth Third Bank, Judge Posner of the Seventh Circuit is confronted by a blatant disregard for the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) and decides that it's time to lay down the law. And who doesn't love it when Judge Posner lays down the law?

Reporting on a depressing case of child pornography was just too much for us, so we're trying to even things out, if possible, by letting you in on other judicial related news from around the 7th Circuit ...

New Law School Dedication

Indiana Tech is dedicating its new law school in Fort Wayne on September 14, 2013, reports the Daily Reporter. The charter class began session on August 26th. For the dedication ceremony, Judge Easterbrook of the Seventh Circuit is speaking, along with Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller.

Lacey Phillips and Erin Hall are an unmarried couple who decided to purchase a home together in 2006. Their first application for a mortgage was rejected by Associated Bank. They next applied to Fremont Investment & Loan ("Fremont"), through a referral, Brian Bowling, one of Hall's clients. Unbeknownst to Phillips and Hall, Bowling was a "crook" (Judge Posner's words), "who brokered fraudulent loans."

Fremont accepted loan applications based on "stated income," that is, they didn't verify applicants' income. And you've probably heard the rest before: Hall and Phillips couldn't make loan payments, they defaulted and lost their home. What you've probably not heard before is this little twist: Bowling's testimony helped convict Hall and Phillips for mortgage fraud, in return for a smaller sentence.

If there's one list you don't want to appear on as a judge, it's probably a list of "judges you'd totally want to hang out with this weekend." Especially, if it's because of your ability to procure "really good drugs," as Above the Law likes to put it.

But it looks like that's exactly what former St. Clair County Circuit Judge Michael Cook has done.