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

April 2016 News

P.F. Chang's Data Hack Case Revived by 7th Circuit

A class action suit against ersatz-Chinese food chain P.F. Chang's is allowed to proceed, said the Seventh Circuit, because two separate plaintiffs had alleged "enough" to meet the Twombly standards of standing in this breach of data case.

The circuit's ruling upholds the 2014 finding that a breach and increased risk of identity theft is "injury" enough for justiciability.

Indianapolis Horse Racing Track Was a Business, 7th Cir. Rules

It turns out that a horse racing track in Indianapolis was a horse racing business and not just a rich man's hobby. But the Seventh Circuit came to this conclusion for reasons altogether different than those used by the lower tax court.

The lower court got the result right, but used erroneous and "goofy" reasoning, according to Judge Posner.

Jail Ignored Inmate's Pain Complaints, Unaware He Had Cancer

When Kevin Dixon entered into Cook County Jail in Illinois, he probably didn't know that the persistent pain in his back and abdomen was cancer. Neither did his jailers.

A mere four months later, he was dead. The subsequent wrongful death lawsuit was recently decided by the Seventh Circuit.

When Wisconsin passed a voter ID law in 2011, requiring voters to present photo identification at the voting booth, opponents argued that the law unfairly punished those who had difficulty obtaining photo IDs. Such laws often make voting disproportionately difficult for minorities and the poor. But when those opponents sued, they lost. The Seventh Circuit ruled that the entire law cannot be enjoined just because "some voters faced undue difficulties."

But in a ruling by Judge Easterbrook on Tuesday, the Seventh Circuit breathed new life into the laws challenge, finding that individuals who faced extreme difficulty in obtaining a photo ID could still challenge the law.

Indiana's Child Services Is Immune From FLSA Suit

In the recent case Martinez v. Indiana Dept. of Child Services, the Seventh Circuit upheld a long held doctrine in the law: sovereign powers cannot be sued in federal court unless there is an alleged violation of the state's constitution or the U.S. Constitution.

Alternatively, the state can consent to being sued, but how often does that happen?

7th Cir. Affirms 'Substance Over Form' Doctrine in Fraud Case

The Seventh Circuit recently affirmed a lower district court's decision to slap a defending company with liability arising out of a fraudulent transfer to insiders. A creditor, the Continental Casualty Company, who was owed a substantial sum of money in its accounts receivable sued a debtor, IGF Insurance, for siphoning off funds to friends and family, leaving the creditor holding the bag. IGF had argued that it's clever structuring of sales protected it from liability, but when it comes to fraudulent transfers, the Seventh Circuit declared, "substance trumps form."

Overall, the decision is a cautionary tale to those who seek to use the statutory language of the law to try and pull corporate shenanigans.