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

Recent Court News Decisions

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.

Cop Justified in Killing Teen in Pizzaria Robbery

Four young men walked into a pizza parlor to rob it; one pulled a gun on the manager.

Frank Pobjecky, a customer waiting there for his order, was an armed, off-duty officer. What happened next was like a scene from a Dirty Harry movie.

Unfortunately for one of the robbers, it was not a movie. That was the day he died, and now his family's lawsuit for excessive force is over, too.

Lawyer's Mistake Dooms Client's Case at 7th Circuit

Once in a while, a case matters more to the lawyer than to the client.

That is no doubt the case in Jaworski v. Master Hand Contractors. The defendant appealed a $340,000 judgment, but the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed.

Unfortunately for defense counsel, the appeals court also said it was the lawyer's fault. Add to that an attorney's fee sanction, and you're having a really bad day.

Indiana Beer, Wine, and Liquor Battle Continues

A legal battle over beer, wine, and liquor licensing has been brewing for years in Indiana.

Monarch Beverage -- the state's largest beer distributor -- won't let go of a state law that prohibits companies from holding permits for both beer and liquor wholesaling at the same time.

After the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled, however, one thing is clear: the strange brew battle is not over yet.

Judge Refuses to Order School to Suspend Transgender Policy

When you lose a case at trial, sometimes it's better to just let it go.

Gary McCaleb, a lawyer for the Alliance Defending Freedom, doesn't think that way. He lost a ruling in Chicago that says anti-discrimination laws protect transgender students.

"It's not a defeat until the Supreme Court rules the wrong way," McCaleb said. "And I don't think they will."

'Go Topless' Day at the Seventh Circuit

Some cases naturally get more attention than others, like the 'Go Topless' case.

It started in 2014 when Sonoku Tagami celebrated "GoTopless Day" by walking half-naked around Chicago. She wore nothing over breasts but body paint, and received a $100 fine for violating a public nudity law.

The case could have ended there, but the woman sued, saying she has a right to bare her breasts in public. Now the case is back in the news, and one appeals court judge agrees with her.