7th Circuit won't rehear in vitro case

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The full 7th Circuit Court of Appeals won't rehear a case of first impression involving an Indiana woman's claim that she was wrongfully fired for taking time off for in vitro fertilization, and attorneys haven't decided whether to seek further review by the U.S. Supreme Court.

In the first of its kind for any federal appellate court, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the woman July 16 in Cheryl Hall v. Nalco Co., No. 06-3684, a case that could have implications on women workers across the country. The appellate panel reversed a ruling from U.S. District Judge David Coar in the Northern District of Illinois' Eastern Division, which granted summary judgment for the employer on the ground that Hall, in someone seeking that surgical impregnation, didn't fall within a protected class and couldn't prove sex discrimination because infertility is a gender-neutral condition.

The 7th Circuit found the District judge's emphasis on "infertility alone" and application of caselaw was misplaced based on the facts of this case.

A docket entry shows that the full court declined Aug. 15 to grant a rehearing en banc, noting that no active judge has requested a vote on that and Judges Diane Sykes, Kenneth Ripple, and Ilana Rover on the original panel denied that vote. Judge Richard Posner did not vote, the docket shows.

Nalco's attorney on the appeal, Mark Lies II in Chicago, declined to comment on the case or ruling and said his firm has a policy against that.

But Charlie Pajor, Nalco's senior manager of external communications, wrote in an e-mail to Indiana Lawyer Thursday, "We are still considering all our legal options, including further appeals, but have made no final decision. Because this issue is still in litigation, we cannot comment on the case itself."

Court rules give Nalco 90 days from the latest judgment - until mid-November - to file a petition for writ of certiorari.


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  1. This is ridiculous. Most JDs not practicing law don't know squat to justify calling themselves a lawyer. Maybe they should try visiting the inside of a courtroom before they go around calling themselves lawyers. This kind of promotional BS just increases the volume of people with JDs that are underqualified thereby dragging all the rest of us down likewise.

  2. I think it is safe to say that those Hoosier's with the most confidence in the Indiana judicial system are those Hoosier's who have never had the displeasure of dealing with the Hoosier court system.

  3. I have an open CHINS case I failed a urine screen I have since got clean completed IOP classes now in after care passed home inspection my x sister in law has my children I still don't even have unsupervised when I have been clean for over 4 months my x sister wants to keep the lids for good n has my case working with her I just discovered n have proof that at one of my hearing dcs case worker stated in court to the judge that a screen was dirty which caused me not to have unsupervised this was at the beginning two weeks after my initial screen I thought the weed could have still been in my system was upset because they were suppose to check levels n see if it was going down since this was only a few weeks after initial instead they said dirty I recently requested all of my screens from redwood because I take prescriptions that will show up n I was having my doctor look at levels to verify that matched what I was prescripted because dcs case worker accused me of abuseing when I got my screens I found out that screen I took that dcs case worker stated in court to judge that caused me to not get granted unsupervised was actually negative what can I do about this this is a serious issue saying a parent failed a screen in court to judge when they didn't please advise

  4. I have a degree at law, recent MS in regulatory studies. Licensed in KS, admitted b4 S& 7th circuit, but not to Indiana bar due to political correctness. Blacklisted, nearly unemployable due to hostile state action. Big Idea: Headwinds can overcome, esp for those not within the contours of the bell curve, the Lego Movie happiness set forth above. That said, even without the blacklisting for holding ideas unacceptable to the Glorious State, I think the idea presented above that a law degree open many vistas other than being a galley slave to elitist lawyers is pretty much laughable. (Did the law professors of Indiana pay for this to be published?)

  5. Joe, you might want to do some reading on the fate of Hoosier whistleblowers before you get your expectations raised up.