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7th Cir. Round-Up for Judges and Lawyers

By William Vogeler, Esq. on May 01, 2019 12:44 PM

Ever since President Trump put Judge Amy Coney Barrett on his short list for the U.S. Supreme Court, she has been under the political microscope.

Some pundits say Barrett, of the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, would have been a better choice than Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Meanwhile, Barrett has been soldiering on at the Seventh Circuit. And if March came in like a lion on the court's docket, it went out like a lamb in April.

Barrett Dissents

Barrett distanced herself from colleagues in Kanter v. Barr, a decision that barred non-violent felons from owning firearms. Applying an original construction argument, she said legislatures don't have the right to do so. "History is consistent with common sense: it demonstrates that legislatures have the power to prohibit dangerous people from possessing guns," she wrote in March. "But that power extends only to people who are dangerous." By April, Barrett was done with dissents. She wrote two majority decisions.

Meanwhile, the appeals court weighed in on a variety of criminal, labor, and civil matters. One featured a case against a law firm.

Bona Fide Error

In Abdollahzadeh v. Manadarich Law Group, the law firm sent a collection letter to a debtor and then sued him in state court. The trial court dismissed the case because it was past the statute of limitations.

The debtor then sued the law firm for attempting to a collect a time-barred debt in violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The firm moved for summary judgment, citing an bona fide error as a defense.

A trial judge agreed, and the appeals court affirmed. It was a win for the law firm, but not the kind most law firms would want published. It's kind of like choosing a controverisal nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court. It might be a win, but still really embarrassing.

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