U.S. Tenth Circuit - The FindLaw 10th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

Post-Employment Retaliation Not Covered by False Claims Act

Some ex-workers may wish they could start over, but the False Claims Act doesn't work that way.

In Potts v. Center for Excellence in Higher Education, the U.S. Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals said the Act doesn't protect employees from discriminatory retaliation after their jobs end. The unanimous panel said the law "unambiguously" does not protect workers post-employment.

In other words, an employer can't really retaliate against employees at the job if they aren't there. If they are going to blow the whistle, they better do it on the job.

Colorado Pharmacists Plead Guilty to Illegally Distributing Opioids

Two pharmacists pleaded guilty to felony charges for illegally distributing controlled substances in Colorado.

Stanley G. Callas and Scott Alan Eskanos entered guilty pleas in federal court, where they will be sentenced in March.

The case reaffirmed Colorado's commitment to enforcing drug laws as the state suffers through the deadliest year of overdoses in its history.

Chief Justice John Roberts has referred the complaints filed in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals against the rookie SCOTUS Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Notably, the complaints against Kavanaugh were filed after his nomination and do not involve his conduct while serving the D.C. Circuit bench. Nevertheless, the D.C. Circuit Court Justice tasked with conducting the investigation into the complaints requested that the matter be handled by a justice outside the D.C. Circuit.

With all the different structures these days for all sorts of different forms of employment, one creatively formed janitorial services company is facing the same age-old question as every "sharing economy" company must at some point or another: Are their workers employees or independent contractors or something else?

Jani-King is a janitorial services company that requires some of its janitors to form their own corporations as franchisees. As a result of this novel structure, the Department of Labor brought a complaint alleging violations of federal record keeping requirements, among other things. The gist the DOL's claims is that a franchisee who actually performs the janitorial labor themselves is less a private company contracted by Jani-King, and more an employee of Jani-King.

Little Caesars Lawsuit Is Getting Messy

Good luck getting Little Caesars pizza delivered in Kansas City, thanks to a federal judge and a legal mess.

Judge Mark A. Goldsmith ordered the owners of nine Little Caesars restaurants to get out of the kitchen. It stems from a hot dispute between the corporation and the local franchisees.

Alan and Beverly Knox allegedly violated a franchise agreement, charging too much for $5 "Hot-N-Ready" pizzas and other wrongs. But it's going to cost a lot more dough than that.

Florida Court Says Police Need Warrants for Stingray Cell Phone Searches

A Florida appeals court joined other states in requiring police to obtain warrants before using a controversial cell phone tracker.

A Stingray simulates a cell phone tower, transmitting cellular signals to and from nearby cell phones. When police use the device, they can follow phone signals to their location.

In State of Florida v. Sylvestre, the court said police sidestepped the warrant requirement when they tracked down an accused murderer. They found him, but this time the bad guy got away.

New Mexico Compound Suspects Indicted

Alleged jihadists were indicted on weapons and conspiracy charges in New Mexico, where authorities say the defendants were training to carry out attacks in the United States.

Magistrate Judge Kiran Khalsa denied bail to the five adults, and told them there was "clear and convincing evidence" that they are "a danger to the community."

It is an especially disturbing case because originally the Muslim adherents were arrested after police found 11 starving children and the body of a three-year-old at their desert compound.

For former missionary worker Matthew Durham, his appeal of a conviction on multiple counts of sexual abuse and rape of orphan children while working in Kenya was rejected in a detailed, 100 plus page opinion of the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Durham's challenge however did present a novel argument, challenging the foreign commerce clause's reach. Because his conduct occurred outside of the United States, the panel of Tenth Circuit justices split on whether using the foreign commerce clause to punish noncommercial illicit sexual activity was constitutional.

For Roberto Roman, the criminal justice system must seem unreal. Reading the recent Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals decision in his case, it's easy to see why.

After Roman confessed to the murder of a Utah sheriff's deputy, he then was acquitted of the murder (after a state-court jury trial where he testified that the deputy's brother, who died of a drug overdose a few months after his sister's death, and who just so happened to be riding along in the car with Roman and doing meth, murdered his own sister). Although Roman was acquitted in state court, federal charges were brought against him, and Roman was convicted for the murder in federal district court. He was sentenced to life plus 80 years.

When it comes to online services seeking to disrupt the status quo, VidAngel has taken a surprisingly polite approach, at least for its consumers.

The service focuses on censoring popular media so that it is more family friendly. However, while trying to be friendly to families, VidAngel was rather rude to the companies that made the popular media it was censoring. As the ongoing legal battles revealed, the censoring service failed to obtain proper licensing rights before editing and redistributing the creative work of others. And while the battle continues on in the Ninth Circuit, their challenge against MGM, Marvel, Fox, Castle Rock and other studios in Utah federal court has come to an end.