7th Circuit affirms dismissal of plaintiffs

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Before the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals could rule on the dismissal of multiple plaintiffs from a civil rights and breach of contract lawsuit, the appellate court had to determine if it had jurisdiction to rule on the plaintiffs’ appeal.

In Adrianna Brown, et al. v. Columbia Sussex Corp., et al., No. 10-3849, 224 of the original 268 plaintiffs were dismissed from the lawsuit against the Baton Rouge Marriott because they continually missed formal and informal deadlines throughout pre-trial discovery. The plaintiffs – a group of people traveling to visit historically black universities – had their reservation at the Marriott canceled, forcing the group to drive through the night to their next destination. The plaintiffs believe the decision to cancel was racially motivated.

On Nov. 10, 2010, the District Court concluded it had to dismiss the plaintiffs who hadn’t responded as a sanction. A month later, 53 of those dismissed appealed, but a review by the 7th Circuit showed the District Court ruling wasn’t a final judgment. The District Court on Jan. 7, 2011, granted the appellants’ Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 54(b) motion, finding their claims are separate from the claims of the remaining plaintiffs and entered a final judgment.

The Marriott argued that the 7th Circuit lacked jurisdiction to even rule on the matter because the plaintiffs prematurely filed their appeal and never filed another one after the District Court entered final judgment in January. The appellate court looked at the interplay among 28 U.S.C. Section 1291, Rule 54(b), and Rule 4(a) of the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure, as well as FirsTier Mortgage Co. v. Investors Mortgage Ins. Co., 498 U.S. 269 (1991), to find that they could rule on the appeal.

“We therefore hold that, in the context of a multi-party or multi-claim suit, a premature notice of appeal from the dismissal of a party or claim will ripen upon the entry of a belated Rule 54(b) judgment under Rule 4(a)(2) and FirsTier,” wrote Judge Joel Flaum.

Addressing the appellants’ arguments, the 7th Circuit found the District Court was within its discretion to find that the appellants acted willfully, in bad faith or with fault in their discovery delays despite the appellant’s claims otherwise.

“In the case at hand, the district court made a finding that appellants displayed a pattern of ‘willful delay and avoidance,’ thus meeting the (Federal Rule of Civil Procedure) Rule 37 standard of willfulness, bad faith, or fault. A comparison to relevant case law clearly illustrates that this finding was not erroneous,” he wrote.



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  1. I think the cops are doing a great job locking up criminals. The Murder rates in the inner cities are skyrocketing and you think that too any people are being incarcerated. Maybe we need to lock up more of them. We have the ACLU, BLM, NAACP, Civil right Division of the DOJ, the innocent Project etc. We have court system with an appeal process that can go on for years, with attorneys supplied by the government. I'm confused as to how that translates into the idea that the defendants are not being represented properly. Maybe the attorneys need to do more Pro-Bono work

  2. We do not have 10% of our population (which would mean about 32 million) incarcerated. It's closer to 2%.

  3. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  4. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  5. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.