7th Circuit Court of Appeals

COA ruling revives non-union subcontractor’s Antitrust Act claim

February 26, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
A non-union subcontractor presented evidence establishing a genuine issue of material fact that the company awarded a contract to build a new school violated Indiana’s Antitrust Act by unlawfully restraining open and free competition for the public project, the Court of Appeals held Thursday.
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Lack of post-verdict motion dooms fired employee’s appeal

February 26, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit court of Appeals quickly affirmed a jury verdict against a former employee in the Lake County Auditor’s Office who claimed she was unlawfully terminated for political reasons. The ex-employee failed to file any post-verdict motions, a necessary first step for the appeals court to review the case.
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7th Circuit reverses denial of disability benefits

February 20, 2015
Dave Stafford
An administrative law judge’s denial of Social Security disability benefits for a man who the Veterans Administration determined was totally disabled cannot be sustained, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Friday.
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Absence of evidence douses tobacco charge

February 20, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
An Indiana inmate’s punishment for allegedly trafficking in tobacco was snuffed out when the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals found he was convicted without evidence of guilt.
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7th Circuit grants habeas relief for man on death row

February 18, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
An Evansville man sentenced to death for the 2001 murders of his wife and two daughters is not entitled to habeas relief on his claim of intellectual disability, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday. But his petition should be granted because the state courts unreasonably applied federal due process standards in adjudicating his competency to stand trial.
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Enhancement affirmed after man exaggerated mental deficits to delay trial

February 16, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
Although a defendant has a mental disorder, he tried to exaggerate his mental deficits in order to delay or prevent a criminal trial on a bank robbery charge. The federal court saw through his act and enhanced his sentence for obstruction of justice, which the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed Friday in a case of first impression.
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Couple needed expert testimony to show proximate cause in defective air bag suit

February 11, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
A couple suing Ford Motor Company, alleging their 2003 Mercury Mountaineer was defective because the air bags did not deploy in an accident, lost their case because they failed to designate expert testimony to support their claim.
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Man fails to prove Supreme Court would rule against established caselaw

February 11, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the grant of an insurance adjuster’s motion to dismiss it from an injured man’s lawsuit alleging negligence in how it handled his case. The judges pointed out that the Indiana Court of Appeals has held that an insurance adjuster owes no legal duty to the insured and the plaintiff didn’t show that the Indiana Supreme Court would disagree with that decision.
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7th Circuit affirms carjacking enhancement stemming from bank robbery

February 5, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals quickly dismissed a defendant’s argument that his sentence for bank robbery should not include a two-level sentence enhancement for carjacking because the keys to the car were obtained by rummaging through the victim’s purse and not through force or intimidation.
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7th Circuit stresses holding Pavey hearing separate from summary judgment hearing

February 5, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment for the Indiana Department of Correction and its commissioner on a disabled inmate’s claims of violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act. The judges also suggested that courts do not hold a Pavey hearing at the same time as a hearing on a motion for summary judgment.
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7th Circuit rules man entitled to new hearing on crack-cocaine sentence

January 30, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the denial of a prisoner’s motion for a reduced sentence for distributing crack cocaine, finding that he is allowed to bring his petition for relief under 28 U.S.C. Section 2255.
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7th Circuit upholds new conviction, cannot address registration requirement

January 28, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
Although a judge communicated that a man must register as a sex offender based on the Sex Offender and Registration Notification Act, because that decision was not incorporated into the judge’s final ruling, there is nothing for the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals to review regarding his challenge to that part of his sentence.
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7th Circuit affirms dismissal of workplace discrimination suit

January 28, 2015
Dave Stafford
A Sudanese woman’s discrimination suit against a Jeffersonville shipyard where she had worked as a welder was properly dismissed, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday.
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Partial-termination dispute gets full treatment from court

January 28, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
After nearly 19 years and five appearances before the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, a dispute over retirement benefits has ended where it began and elicited an admission of mistaken interpretation from the court.
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7th Circuit affirms Michigan law applies to Visteon pollution claims

January 23, 2015
Dave Stafford
A federal court in Indianapolis properly dismissed a lawsuit Visteon Corp. filed against its insurer seeking to recover damages resulting from toxic pollution at its former Connersville plant that also contaminated neighboring properties.
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Full 7th Circuit declines to rehear right-to-work appeal

January 15, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
An even split among all of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals judges as to whether to rehear an appeal challenging Indiana’s right-to-work law means that its previous affirmation of the law will stand.
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7th Circuit upholds use of GPS unit on car in 2011

January 14, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a defendant’s claim that his motion to suppress drugs and guns found by police at a storage locker through the use of a GPS unit should have been granted because attaching the device to his car for purposes of gathering information was a search under the Fourth Amendment.
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ALJ’s numerous errors require denial of benefits reversed

January 8, 2015
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the decision of a federal judge to uphold the denial of a man’s request for disability insurance benefits. The appeals court held that an administrative law judge made a number of errors when considering the record.
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First impression: Suspect’s recorded talk in police car admissible

January 6, 2015
Dave Stafford
What a South Bend man said to another suspect while they were alone in the back of a police cruiser was recorded by an in-car video camera and properly presented to a federal jury, a panel of judges decided in a matter of first impression for the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.
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7th Circuit dismisses case because dispute arose after lawsuit was filed

January 5, 2015
Marilyn Odendahl
A man who claimed State Farm Insurance Co. owed him a higher rate of interest and attorney fees had his case dismissed because the controversy did not exist when the lawsuit began.
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7th Circuit: Jury correctly ruled in favor of gas station in personal injury suit

December 23, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
The District Court properly excluded an ordinance a woman sought to introduce at trial to bolster her case that a gas station should be liable for her injuries sustained after she fell off a curb walking around a display outside the gas station store, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday.
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Family did not follow statutory remedies before suing bank

December 23, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
A federal court properly dismissed a family’s lawsuit against an Indiana bank and employee alleging they breached a fiduciary duty to a veteran in managing his benefits, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals held Monday. The family is required to seek review of the fiduciary appointment as outlined under statute.
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7th Circuit upholds bank robbery conviction despite errors

December 22, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
Although a federal court in Indianapolis committed some errors in admitting certain evidence at a man’s bank robbery trial, those errors were harmless based on DNA evidence and the defendant matching the robber’s description, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals held Friday.
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New trial ordered after expert testimony improperly excluded

December 18, 2014
Jennifer Nelson
A couple who brought a products liability claim against a ladder manufacturer and the store that sold the ladder are entitled to a new trial after the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals found the magistrate judge should not have struck their expert witness’s testimony. The couple lost their case as a result of the judge’s decision.
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Conour pursues wire fraud appeal

December 17, 2014
Dave Stafford
As ex-attorney William Conour’s appeal of his conviction and 10-year sentence on a federal wire fraud charge moves ahead, so do victim lawsuits that seek to collect damages from colleagues who practiced with him years earlier and from a Conour creditor.
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  1. Where may I find an attorney working Pro Bono? Many issues with divorce, my Disability, distribution of IRA's, property, money's and pressured into agreement by my attorney. Leaving me far less than 5% of all after 15 years of marriage. No money to appeal, disabled living on disability income. Attorney's decision brought forward to judge, no evidence ever to finalize divorce. Just 2 weeks ago. Please help.

  2. For the record no one could answer the equal protection / substantive due process challenge I issued in the first post below. The lawless and accountable only to power bureaucrats never did either. All who interface with the Indiana law examiners or JLAP be warned.

  3. Hi there I really need help with getting my old divorce case back into court - I am still paying support on a 24 year old who has not been in school since age 16 - now living independent. My visitation with my 14 year old has never been modified; however, when convenient for her I can have him... I am paying past balance from over due support, yet earn several thousand dollars less. I would contact my original attorney but he basically molest me multiple times in Indy when I would visit.. Todd Woodmansee - I had just came out and had know idea what to do... I have heard he no longer practices. Please help1

  4. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  5. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

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