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

Recent Court News Decisions

State Farm to Pay $250M to End RICO Trial

Forget about Russians interfering with elections. We should worry about State Farm.

The insurance giant has reportedly agreed to pay $250 million to settle a lawsuit that claims the company tried to buy a judicial election. The company allegedly poured $3.5 million into Judge Lloyd Karmeier's campaign for the Illinois Supreme Court, hoping to get a friendly judge on the state's highest court.

Plaintiffs sued under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. The defendant denied the allegations, but agreed to settle right before opening statements.

A recently issued opinion from the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals is making some rather interesting headlines: The First Circuit Court To Use The Poop Emoji In A Published Opinion.

Yes, it is a real court opinion. See Emerson v. Dart. But no, the court did not "use" the poop emoji in the same way you or I would with friends and family. Rather, the court reproduced the poop emoji in a quote posted by one of the litigants to a Facebook group. That quote was the central piece of evidence that the lower district court relied upon in issuing a $17K sanction award against emotive litigant.

School Escapes Liability for Sex Abuse Claim

Jane Doe is the name of countless victims of rape and sex abuse.

In Doe v. Madison Metropolitan School District, it's also the name of an eighth-grader who lost her case. The appeals court did not say whether Doe was actually abused, but did say the school was not liable even if something bad happened there.

The U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals said the plaintiff did not prove the school knew its security assistant was abusing the child. However, the court acknowledged that there were "cautionary flags."

Appeals Court Upholds NCAA Transfer Rule

Peter Deppe, a college football player, got a bad call.

When his college pulled his scholarship, he went to another school. Then that school withdrew its scholarship under an eligibility rule.

So he did what any athlete does after a bad call; he challenged the rule. In Deppe v. NCAA, that didn't work.

What's Next in the #MeToo Michael Madigan Case?

Alaina Hampton, a political consultant who sued her own party for sexual harassment, is ready to settle.

She originally sued for $350,000 and attorney's fees, but her attorney says they are discussing settlement. That may include attorneys for Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan, the Democratic party chief in the state.

It just so happens there's an opening in the organization, and Hampton wants it. Suddenly, #MeToo has a new meaning in the Land of Lincoln.

Seventh Circuit Nominees Confirmed, Court Complete

It's unusual for two lawyers to agree, and practically impossible to get all of them to agree.

Yet that's what happened in the United States Senate, where most of the legislators are also lawyers. On a 91-0 vote, they confirmed the nominations of two judges to the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

The appointments were notable also because they filled the bench, which had two vacancies for nine months. The new judges will have some pretty big robes, er, shoes to fill.

Data Breach Case Moves One Step Forward Against Barnes & Noble

In remanding a closely-watched data breach case, the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals acknowledged that it solved little.

It addressed only whether the plaintiffs had standing to sue in Diefenbach v. Barnes & Noble, Inc. They do, the appeals court said, because they alleged sufficient damages.

But that issue has taken almost six years to resolve, and the biggest practical question remains: can they be certified as a class?

Judge Wrongly 'Played Doctor' in Fybromyalgia Case

Judges sometimes wear more than one hat on the bench.

They always wear the rule-maker hat. In court trials, they also become fact-finders. And in some criminal cases, they may look like the executioner.

But the judge should not have "played doctor" in Akin v. Berryhill. That's not the judge's job, said the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

Court Takes a Time-Out for a Question in Fantasy Sports Case

Judge Frank Easterbrook, reviewing the law on fantasy sports and publicity rights, punted.

Writing for the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, Easterbrook asked the Indiana Supreme Court to interpret a state statute on publicity rights. He said there is no clear law on the subject.

The case depends on whether Indiana views paid fantasy sports as illegal gambling, and whether it treats illegality as material to the right-of-publicity. In Daniels v. FanDuel, Inc., the appeals court told the state supreme court to figure it out.

Dairy Churns Battle Over Wisconsin's Butter-Grader Law

Wisconsin is known as America's Dairyland.

So it seems strange that a dairy company is having such a hard time selling butter there. Minerva Dairy, an Ohio company which produces Amish butter, has sued the state over its butter-grader law.

In Minerva Dairy, Inc. v. Brancel, the dairy says the law is unfair to "artisanal butter." Unless you are a Wisconsinite, you may need to look that up.