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

April 2012 Archives

Court Finds Offer and Acceptance in Email

Get ready for a flashback to first-year Contracts, with a modern twist.

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled recently that a bank and a hospital had formed an enforceable contract regarding the sale of medical equipment in an offer-and-acceptance-based breach of contract dispute.

Cancel the Subscription: SCOTUS is Over Sua Sponte Issues?

A Colorado inmate is heading back to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals to challenge his murder conviction 25 years after a court convicted him.

Patrick Wood was convicted of murdering a pizza shop assistant manager and other crimes in 1987. In 2008, he filed a federal habeas petition. Though the government never argued that Wood’s petition was untimely, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals raised the issue sua sponte and rejected Wood's petition as time-barred.

So are the Nine over sua sponte issues?

ADX Prison Transfer Didn't Violate Terrorists' Due Process Rights

The ADX Florence supermax prison has been described as "the Alcatraz of the Rockies" and "a clean version of Hell." It's not surprising that prisoners hope to avoid the secluded facility in Central Colorado. But should transfer to ADX Florence come with due process rights?

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals doesn't think so.

No Substantial Evidence: Tenth Circuit Reverses ALJ's Ruling

Thanks to Astrue v. Capato -- and most federal benefits cases we’ve come across in the last year -- we're stuck with this idea that the courts are constantly denying Social Security requests. The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, however, tried to help us overcome our Social Security cynicism this week by reversing a blanket denial and giving an Oklahoma woman another shot at her disability claim.

(Don’t get too excited; this is an unpublished Tenth Circuit opinion.)

Crumbling Prison Doesn't Qualify as Eighth Amendment Violation

Is the sky falling or is that a piece of concrete from a crumbling prison ceiling?

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against a prisoner proceeding pro se in an Eighth Amendment violation case this week, finding that the prisoner failed to make his case that the prisoner officers acted with deliberate indifference to the allegedly shoddy construction of the prison.

Court Finds Insubordination, Dismisses FMLA Retaliation Claim

Timing isn't everything. For example, a plaintiff is not guaranteed to prevail in a Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) lawsuit simply because his FMLA leave and his termination date overlap.

Michael Sabourin sued the University of Utah, claiming, among other things, that it had violated the FMLA by deciding to eliminate his position and then firing him for cause while he was on leave for childcare in June 2006. Though the timing of the University's decision may have seemed suspect, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last week that Sabourin's termination was based on insubordination, not FMLA retaliation.

Does the Rooker-Feldman Doctrine Bar Your Foreclosure Appeal?

The old saying, “If at first you don't succeed, try, try again,” does not ring true in the law. While the appellate process provides a certain number of second chances, you can’t relitigate final decisions after you’ve exhausted the appellate process, thanks to double jeopardy and res judicata.

In certain criminal cases, state and federal prosecutors can collaborate on a double jeopardy workaround: criminal defendants can be charged and tried separately for state and federal violations stemming from the same conduct.

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals reminds us this week that foreclosure appeals do not enjoy a similar state vs. federal backdoor.

The Nine Eye the Tenth: Briefs Requested, Sentence Vacated

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals doesn't get as much love from the Supreme Court as its Ninth Circuit neighbors -- and by love, we of course mean reversal -- but the Denver-based appellate court and the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals have been on the High Court's radar over the last week.

The Supreme Court recently issued two orders related to the Tenth Circuit.