7th Circuit Court of Appeals

Courts announce July 4 holiday closures

July 1, 2013
IL Staff
Indiana appellate courts and the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals are extending the Independence Day holiday to a four-day weekend.
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Lawyer’s suit alleging malicious prosecution, emotional distress may proceed

June 26, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the decision by a federal court in Indianapolis that dismissed a Muncie criminal defense attorney’s lawsuit against the United States for malicious prosecution and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Michael Alexander brought the suit after he was acquitted on charges of bribery in 2009.
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Dismissal of Navistar workers’ complaint upheld by 7th Circuit

June 18, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A group of unionized workers laid off by an Indianapolis engine plant who brought an action for breach of the collective-bargaining agreement didn’t provide enough factual content in their complaint to allow it to proceed in court, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday.
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7th Circuit: Deputy was within rights to restrain feuding neighbor from evidence

June 14, 2013
Dave Stafford
When Tippecanoe Deputy Sheriff Jonathan Lendermon got between some long-feuding neighbors in 2009, one of them, Jason Findlay, suggested that he might have trespassed. It became clear to Lendermon the acknowledgement might have been recorded on video surveillance.
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Judge’s dismissal of claim contesting forfeiture was on ‘unsound’ ground

June 11, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals sent a man’s claim contesting forfeiture of nearly $200,000 found in his home during a police search back to the District Court for reconsideration. The judges ruled that the ground for dismissal given by the judge, as well as the alternative ground argued by the government, were “unsound.”
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Jury to decide whether woman was fired for being pregnant

June 11, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed summary judgment in favor of a company on a fired employee’s claim that her employment was terminated because she was pregnant, finding the company’s explanations for her firing were shifting, inconsistent, and/or facially implausible.
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Judges: Integration clause doesn’t preclude introduction of parol evidence

June 11, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals held Tuesday that in the absence of a factual inquiry, the mere presence of an integration clause doesn’t preclude a party from introducing parol evidence that it was fraudulently induced to enter into the agreement as a whole. The decision came in a dispute involving a settlement agreement that one party sought to invalidate based on claims of fraudulent inducement.
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Defendant breached plea agreement by fleeing to Mexico

June 10, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A defendant was unable to convince the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals that despite his decision to flee the country for five years before he was sentenced in a drug case, the government should have to stick to the terms of his original plea agreement.
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7th Circuit finds meth dealer was acting like a merchant, not a manager

June 3, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
Although an Indiana man determined how much and how often his buyers received methamphetamine as well as pressured them to sell, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals concluded his sentence should not have been enhanced because his actions were not coercive.
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Specificity requirement does not extend to limitations of liability, 7th Circuit rules

June 3, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that a contract clause limiting liability stands because the two commercial entities that entered into the agreement were sophisticated and knowingly negotiated the terms.
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Judge’s opinion keeps colleague in suspense

May 30, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
7th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Richard Posner had a fellow judge on the edge of his seat Thursday waiting to see how the opinion in a murder case would be decided. The court upheld a prisoner’s conviction of first-degree murder of the prisoner’s cellmate.
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7th Circuit orders Indiana case sent back to Ohio

May 23, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A federal judge in the Southern District of Indiana erred when she determined that a claims adjuster from Ohio was fraudulently joined to a case that was transferred out of federal court in Ohio to Indiana, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled. The case also presented two issues of first impression for the Circuit.
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Easterbrook: 7th Circuit 'nation's leader' in productivity

May 22, 2013
Dave Stafford
Chief Judge Frank Easterbrook of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals presented his final State of the Circuit address during the Circuit conference this month in Indianapolis, describing the federal appellate court for Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin as perhaps the nation’s most industrious.
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Lugar: I paid the price for support of Obama picks

May 22, 2013
Dave Stafford
Former Indiana Sen. Richard G. Lugar told members of the federal judiciary May 6 that his support of President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court appointees, opposed by many in his party, may have carried the greatest political cost of any decisions during his 36 years in the Senate.
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Memorable moments from the 7th Circuit Bar Association and Judicial Conference of the 7th Circuit

May 22, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl, Dave Stafford
Here are some highlights from the recent 7th Circuit Bar and Judicial Conference in Indianapolis.
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Lengthy gun sentence affirmed in 2011 hotel standoff

May 20, 2013
Dave Stafford
A federal prison sentence of more than 33 years was upheld Monday for a career criminal convicted of leading police on a chase, assaulting an officer until he lost consciousness and staging an armed, four-hour standoff at an Indianapolis hotel in August 2011.
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7th Circuit orders resentencing, muses ‘wine speaks truth’ in felon gun case

May 20, 2013
Dave Stafford
An Elkhart felon’s defense that he was drunk at the time he told police that guns they confiscated from his girlfriend’s apartment belonged to him failed to sway the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, which did find another error and order him to be resentenced.
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Man’s prior conviction doesn’t render him a career offender

May 10, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the denial of a man’s habeas petition, finding his conviction of arson in the third degree in Delaware doesn’t qualify as a crime of violence under U.S.S.G. Section 4B.1. As such, his current sentence should be reduced to reflect he isn’t a career offender.
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7th Circuit rejects claim that FMLA should be extended to non-eligible employees

May 8, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment for a transportation company on a fired worker’s claims that her termination violated the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act. The judges didn’t agree with the woman that FMLA protection should extend to non-eligible employees who request leave for future periods.
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7th Circuit: ‘Ransom demand’ requires third-party involvement

May 8, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
In order to enhance a criminal sentence on the basis of a ransom demand, that demand must be conveyed to a third-party, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals held Wednesday.
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Chief Justice Roberts says budget cuts translate into judicial furlough and layoffs

May 7, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
Chief Justice of the United States John Roberts used part of his address to the 7th Circuit to highlight the fiscal constraints judges and courts are facing today.
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7th Circuit reaffirms drug conviction over claims of ineffective counsel

May 7, 2013
Dave Stafford
A man convicted of federal drug charges failed to convince a panel of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals that his conviction should be vacated due to ineffective assistance of counsel. The court affirmed a conviction from the District Court for the Northern District of Indiana.
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Lugar: Votes for Obama Supreme Court nominees carried heavy cost

May 6, 2013
Dave Stafford
Former Indiana Sen. Richard G. Lugar told members of the federal judiciary Monday that his support of President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court appointees, opposed by many in his party, may have carried the greatest political cost of any decisions during his 36 years in the Senate.
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Bankruptcy filings drop in Indiana, U.S.

April 29, 2013
IL Staff
Bankruptcy filings are down 14.4 percent for the 12-month period ending March 31 as compared to the same 12-month period ending March 31, 2012, according to statistics from the Administrative Office of the United States Courts.
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7th Circuit denies petitions seeking review of mine safety regulations

April 26, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Friday found that the Federal Mine Safety and Health Administration acted within its statutory and constitutional authority in demanding review of employee medical records to ensure mines were not under-reporting injuries or illnesses.
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  2. Mr. Levin says that the BMV engaged in misconduct--that the BMV (or, rather, someone in the BMV) knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged fees but did nothing to correct the situation. Such misconduct, whether engaged in by one individual or by a group, is called theft (defined as knowingly or intentionally exerting unauthorized control over the property of another person with the intent to deprive the other person of the property's value or use). Theft is a crime in Indiana (as it still is in most of the civilized world). One wonders, then, why there have been no criminal prosecutions of BMV officials for this theft? Government misconduct doesn't occur in a vacuum. An individual who works for or oversees a government agency is responsible for the misconduct. In this instance, somebody (or somebodies) with the BMV, at some time, knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged. What's more, this person (or these people), even after having the error of their ways pointed out to them, did nothing to fix the problem. Instead, the overcharges continued. Thus, the taxpayers of Indiana are also on the hook for the millions of dollars in attorneys fees (for both sides; the BMV didn't see fit to avail itself of the services of a lawyer employed by the state government) that had to be spent in order to finally convince the BMV that stealing money from Indiana motorists was a bad thing. Given that the BMV official(s) responsible for this crime continued their misconduct, covered it up, and never did anything until the agency reached an agreeable settlement, it seems the statute of limitations for prosecuting these folks has not yet run. I hope our Attorney General is paying attention to this fiasco and is seriously considering prosecution. Indiana, the state that works . . . for thieves.

  3. I'm glad that attorney Carl Hayes, who represented the BMV in this case, is able to say that his client "is pleased to have resolved the issue". Everyone makes mistakes, even bureaucratic behemoths like Indiana's BMV. So to some extent we need to be forgiving of such mistakes. But when those mistakes are going to cost Indiana taxpayers millions of dollars to rectify (because neither plaintiff's counsel nor Mr. Hayes gave freely of their services, and the BMV, being a state-funded agency, relies on taxpayer dollars to pay these attorneys their fees), the agency doesn't have a right to feel "pleased to have resolved the issue". One is left wondering why the BMV feels so pleased with this resolution? The magnitude of the agency's overcharges might suggest to some that, perhaps, these errors were more than mere oversight. Could this be why the agency is so "pleased" with this resolution? Will Indiana motorists ever be assured that the culture of incompetence (if not worse) that the BMV seems to have fostered is no longer the status quo? Or will even more "overcharges" and lawsuits result? It's fairly obvious who is really "pleased to have resolved the issue", and it's not Indiana's taxpayers who are on the hook for the legal fees generated in these cases.

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