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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. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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