by
In 2006, Moreno fell off scaffolding and landed on his back while working. An orthopedist found a soft tissue injury but no signs of fracture. He continued to feel significant pain. A follow-up test revealed acute lumbar radiculopathy—lower back pain caused by compression, inflammation or injury to a spinal nerve root. Moreno also is diabetic, has high blood pressure, and is obese. Moreno sought treatment from a psychologist, who reported that Moreno manifested depressed mood, irritability, memory difficulties, inability to concentrate, and an ongoing inability to sleep, sometimes for days. Moreno took several medications. In 2007, Moreno sought Supplemental Security Income and Disability Insurance Benefits. An ALJ affirmed the denial of his application. In the district court, the parties agreed to a remand to a different ALJ, who concluded that Moreno was not disabled although he was suffering from severe impairments and could not perform his past work as a drywall taper. The Seventh Circuit reversed. The ALJ improperly relied on an outdated assessment although later evidence containing new, significant medical diagnoses reasonably could have changed the reviewing physician’s opinion. Doctors’ notes set forth problems with Moreno becoming distracted, “spacing out,” and experiencing difficulties concentrating; these limitations were not included in the hypothetical question posed to the vocational expert. View "Moreno v. Berryhill" on Justia Law

by
In 2006, Moreno fell off scaffolding and landed on his back while working. An orthopedist found a soft tissue injury but no signs of fracture. He continued to feel significant pain. A follow-up test revealed acute lumbar radiculopathy—lower back pain caused by compression, inflammation or injury to a spinal nerve root. Moreno also is diabetic, has high blood pressure, and is obese. Moreno sought treatment from a psychologist, who reported that Moreno manifested depressed mood, irritability, memory difficulties, inability to concentrate, and an ongoing inability to sleep, sometimes for days. Moreno took several medications. In 2007, Moreno sought Supplemental Security Income and Disability Insurance Benefits. An ALJ affirmed the denial of his application. In the district court, the parties agreed to a remand to a different ALJ, who concluded that Moreno was not disabled although he was suffering from severe impairments and could not perform his past work as a drywall taper. The Seventh Circuit reversed. The ALJ improperly relied on an outdated assessment although later evidence containing new, significant medical diagnoses reasonably could have changed the reviewing physician’s opinion. Doctors’ notes set forth problems with Moreno becoming distracted, “spacing out,” and experiencing difficulties concentrating; these limitations were not included in the hypothetical question posed to the vocational expert. View "Moreno v. Berryhill" on Justia Law

by
Bailey offered to sell marijuana to an informant who had already brokered the purchase of a firearm from him. The informant accepted the offer and purchased $40 worth of marijuana from Bailey contemporaneously with the firearm purchase. Bailey was convicted of possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, 18 U.S.C. 924(c)(1)(A). The Seventh Circuit affirmed, rejecting Bailey’s argument that the facts do not tie the gun and the marijuana purchase together so as to demonstrate that the gun actually furthered the marijuana sale and that his possession of the firearm was simply coincident with the marijuana transaction. Because it was the opportunity to purchase a firearm that brought the informant to Bailey and made possible the secondary sale of marijuana to the informant, the facts support the finding that Bailey’s possession of the weapon furthered the marijuana sale. View "United States v. Bailey" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

by
Bailey offered to sell marijuana to an informant who had already brokered the purchase of a firearm from him. The informant accepted the offer and purchased $40 worth of marijuana from Bailey contemporaneously with the firearm purchase. Bailey was convicted of possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, 18 U.S.C. 924(c)(1)(A). The Seventh Circuit affirmed, rejecting Bailey’s argument that the facts do not tie the gun and the marijuana purchase together so as to demonstrate that the gun actually furthered the marijuana sale and that his possession of the firearm was simply coincident with the marijuana transaction. Because it was the opportunity to purchase a firearm that brought the informant to Bailey and made possible the secondary sale of marijuana to the informant, the facts support the finding that Bailey’s possession of the weapon furthered the marijuana sale. View "United States v. Bailey" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

by
While Cureton was under investigation for dealing crack cocaine, he used a gun to demand ransom for his roommate; her grandfather agreed by telephone to wire Cureton $4,500. A jury convicted Cureton of interstate communication of a ransom demand, attempted extortion (guidelines range, 240 months, the statutory maximum), and two counts of possessing a firearm during a crime of violence, 18 U.S.C. 924(c) (ransom demand and attempted extortion). Cureton's drug possession case had a guideline range of 360-720 months. In a third appeal, following re-imposition of a 444‐month sentence, the Seventh Circuit held that the ransom demand qualified as a “crime of violence.” The Supreme Court remanded for reconsideration in light of its 2017 “Dean” holding, regarding consideration of section 924(c)'s mandatory minimum sentence when imposing sentences for other crimes. The Seventh Circuit noted that each of Cureton's sentencings has included the statutory maximum 240 months for the ransom demand, signaling that the judges were not inclined to reduce the sentence for that predicate crime; the 360 months of non‐924(c) sentences take into account several very serious crimes. No judge gave any sign that he believed that the reduced total sentence of 444 months was too severe. The Seventh Circuit ordered a limited remand so that the district court can determine whether it would have imposed the same sentence, knowing that under Dean, it may consider the mandatory sentence under section 924(c) when deciding the sentences for other crimes. View "United States v. Cureton" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

by
While Cureton was under investigation for dealing crack cocaine, he used a gun to demand ransom for his roommate; her grandfather agreed by telephone to wire Cureton $4,500. A jury convicted Cureton of interstate communication of a ransom demand, attempted extortion (guidelines range, 240 months, the statutory maximum), and two counts of possessing a firearm during a crime of violence, 18 U.S.C. 924(c) (ransom demand and attempted extortion). Cureton's drug possession case had a guideline range of 360-720 months. In a third appeal, following re-imposition of a 444‐month sentence, the Seventh Circuit held that the ransom demand qualified as a “crime of violence.” The Supreme Court remanded for reconsideration in light of its 2017 “Dean” holding, regarding consideration of section 924(c)'s mandatory minimum sentence when imposing sentences for other crimes. The Seventh Circuit noted that each of Cureton's sentencings has included the statutory maximum 240 months for the ransom demand, signaling that the judges were not inclined to reduce the sentence for that predicate crime; the 360 months of non‐924(c) sentences take into account several very serious crimes. No judge gave any sign that he believed that the reduced total sentence of 444 months was too severe. The Seventh Circuit ordered a limited remand so that the district court can determine whether it would have imposed the same sentence, knowing that under Dean, it may consider the mandatory sentence under section 924(c) when deciding the sentences for other crimes. View "United States v. Cureton" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

by
CNH, which manufactures “New Holland” brand farming and construction machinery, hired the real estate services firm, JLL, to manage a corporate re-branding program that involved the replacement of signage more than 1,400 North American dealerships. The vinyl used in the new signs was defective, necessitating the re-manufacture and replacement of virtually all of the installed signs. After the vinyl manufacturer repudiated its commitment to replace, at its own cost, the defective signs, CNH sued, alleging that JLL had failed to perform adequate quality control in the manufacturing of the signs, failed to negotiate the best possible warranty on the vinyl and the signs, and failed to properly document and manage the warranties. The district court found that CNH had suffered damages of $5,482,735 but reduced JLL’s liability to $3,026.361.60—the sum CNH paid to JLL in project management fees—plus such other amounts JLL might recover from third parties (the vinyl manufacturer and the sign fabricators) in the future. The Seventh Circuit affirmed. The district court’s findings were supported by the evidence and make clear that JLL’s own failures with respect to quality control in the manufacturing process and with respect to the vinyl warranty made the defective-sign problem much worse for CNH than it otherwise would have been. View "CNH Industrial America LLC v. Jones Lang LaSalle Americas, Inc." on Justia Law

Posted in: Business Law, Contracts

by
CNH, which manufactures “New Holland” brand farming and construction machinery, hired the real estate services firm, JLL, to manage a corporate re-branding program that involved the replacement of signage more than 1,400 North American dealerships. The vinyl used in the new signs was defective, necessitating the re-manufacture and replacement of virtually all of the installed signs. After the vinyl manufacturer repudiated its commitment to replace, at its own cost, the defective signs, CNH sued, alleging that JLL had failed to perform adequate quality control in the manufacturing of the signs, failed to negotiate the best possible warranty on the vinyl and the signs, and failed to properly document and manage the warranties. The district court found that CNH had suffered damages of $5,482,735 but reduced JLL’s liability to $3,026.361.60—the sum CNH paid to JLL in project management fees—plus such other amounts JLL might recover from third parties (the vinyl manufacturer and the sign fabricators) in the future. The Seventh Circuit affirmed. The district court’s findings were supported by the evidence and make clear that JLL’s own failures with respect to quality control in the manufacturing process and with respect to the vinyl warranty made the defective-sign problem much worse for CNH than it otherwise would have been. View "CNH Industrial America LLC v. Jones Lang LaSalle Americas, Inc." on Justia Law

Posted in: Business Law, Contracts

by
Jaworski provided construction services to Master Hand, an Illinois general contractor, over several years. Some of these services went unpaid. Jaworski alleged violations of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, the Illinois Minimum Wage Law, the Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act, and the Employee Classification Act, which makes it unlawful for construction firms to misclassify an employee as an independent contractor. The Classification Act presumes that the complainant is an employee unless the contractor proves otherwise; a misclassified employee is entitled to double “the amount of any wages, salary, employment benefits, or other compensation denied or lost to the person by reason of the violation.” The judge held that Master Hand had misclassified Jaworski and was entitled to the compensation guaranteed by the Minimum Wage Law and Wage Payment and Collection Act without having to prove that he is an employee. Those statutes do not include the presumption that plaintiffs are employees. The judge rejected Master Hand’s insolvency defense and ordered Master Hand to pay $200,000 in damages, plus $150,000 in attorneys’ fees. The Seventh Circuit affirmed, adding attorneys’ fees for the frivolous appeal. The court declined to review the rulings challenged by Master Hand, as a sanction for failure to follow court rules. View "Jaworski v. Master Hand Contractors, Inc." on Justia Law

by
Atlas, an authorized interstate transporter of household goods, contracts with agents to perform its shipments. One of its agents, Ace, leases trucks and driving services from owner-operators. In 2009, owner-operator Mervyn entered into a lease agreement with Ace to haul shipments for Atlas. In 2013, Mervyn sued Atlas and Ace in a purported class action, alleging breach of contract and violations of the federal Truth-In-Leasing regulations under 49 C.F.R. 376.12(d). The Seventh Circuit affirmed summary judgment in favor of Atlas and Ace. Mervyn advanced claims that are necessarily inconsistent: that he was not paid according to the plain terms of the lease and that the lease violated the Truth-In-Leasing regulations because the terms were not “clearly stated.” Mervyn never disputed the financial entries he complained of until he filed this lawsuit, in violation of a contract provision allowing a 30-day window to dispute financial entries. Mervyn was compensated according to the plain and ordinary terms of the lease. View "Mervyn v. Atlas Van Lines, Inc." on Justia Law