Justia U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries

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The Seventh Circuit affirmed the judgment of the district court entering judgment upon the jury's verdict in favor of Paul Reina on his claim that Walmart violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. 12112(a), (b) and acted maliciously or in reckless disregard of Reina's rights, holding that the district court did not abuse its discretion.Reina, who was deaf and legally blind, worked as a cart attendant for Walmart for almost twenty years. After providing Reina with a job coach, Walmart eventually ended Reina's employment. Reina filed an administrative charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which sued Walmart for violating the ADA. The jury concluded that Walmart violated the ADA by refusing Reina a reasonable accommodation in the form of a full-time job coach and acted maliciously or in reckless disregard of Reina's rights. The jury awarded Reina $200,000 in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages. The Third Circuit affirmed, holding (1) the district court properly denied Walmart's motion for judgment as a matter of law; and (2) the district court did not abuse its discretion by declining to issue an injunction against Walmart as proposed by the EEOC. View "Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc." on Justia Law

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The DEA was watching a suspected drug house near Indianapolis, Indiana. Detective Maples was monitoring traffic on Rockville Road. DEA agents reported that a white Audi had just departed from the suspected drug house and was heading towards Rockville Road. Maples observed the Audi pass him at approximately 40-45 miles per hour, following the car in front of it by less than a car length. He decided to conduct a traffic stop for the infraction of following too closely. During a pat-down search, Maples saw a vacuum-sealed plastic bag in Radford’s inner pocket that Maples believed contained heroin. Minutes after Radford was taken into custody, Maples learned that there was an outstanding warrant for Radford’s arrest based on charges for operating a vehicle after a lifetime suspension of his license. An inventory search of the Audi revealed a gun. The substance in the bag was fentanyl rather than heroin. Radford was charged with possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance, 21 U.S.C. 841(a)(1). Radford moved to suppress the evidence, arguing that he was driving under the speed limit, was operating his vehicle in a safe manner, and did not commit any traffic violations.The Seventh Circuit affirmed the denial of Radford’s motion. The court made appropriate findings in crediting Maples’ testimony over Radford’s with respect to both the traffic offense and Maples’ observations leading to the search. View "United States v. Radford" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law
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In 2004, six men robbed a marijuana dealer, Thomas, at gunpoint in his home. Two of the robbers shot Thomas, who died. One of those shooters also shot Landon, Thomas’s business partner. Landon survived. Reyes was convicted of Thomas’s murder, Landon’s attempted murder, and home invasion. The state’s evidence against Reyes included Landon’s identification of Reyes as the shooter after viewing a photo array. It took the police five attempts to extract that identification from Landon; several times, he seemed to confuse Reyes with another man who was not a suspect in the robbery. Reyes moved, unsuccessfully, to suppress the identification.After Reyes exhausted state-court review, he sought federal collateral relief, 28 U.S.C. 2254, arguing that the identification procedure was impermissibly suggestive and that Landon’s identification was too unreliable to pass constitutional muster. The Seventh Circuit affirmed the denial of his petition. While the identification procedure was unnecessarily suggestive, as noted by the state court, it did not taint the conviction. Error alone is not enough to entitle Reyes to relief. A section 2254 petitioner must also show prejudice. Reyes cannot because the jury that convicted him heard significant evidence of his guilt beyond the identification and had the opportunity to evaluate most of the evidence bearing on the reliability of the identification. View "Reyes v. Nurse" on Justia Law

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Famous was convicted in Wisconsin state court of four counts of first-degree sexual assault of a child and one count of exposing a child to harmful material and was sentenced to 168 years of confinement. In 2001, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals affirmed his convictions, and the Wisconsin Supreme Court denied relief. Famous did not seek certiorari in the U.S. Supreme Court. The one-year statute of limitations period under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA) began to run on February 25, 2002, the date on which the time to file a petition expired. Famous filed his federal habeas petition on August 17, 2010.The district court dismissed it as untimely, rejecting Famous’s estoppel arguments. The Seventh Circuit affirmed. Famous failed to set forth sufficient information to raise statutory estoppel to the statute of limitations defense; he failed to provide even the information reasonably available to him. “Given the laconic nature of his submission,” the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying Famous’s request to take further discovery on that issue. In rejecting the defense of equitable tolling, the court did not clearly err in concluding that, even excluding the period when his appellate attorney allegedly retained his file, Famous did not timely file his petition. A finding that Famous’s chronic mental illness did not impede a timely filing was supported by the record. View "Famous v. Fuchs" on Justia Law

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Farmer, a member of the Latin Kings street gang, brutally bludgeoned Lowry and Siegers to death with a hammer in 1999. In 2019, a federal jury convicted Farmer of conspiracy to participate in racketeering activity under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) 18 U.S.C. 1962(d), and conspiracy to possess illegal narcotics with intent to distribute, 21 U.S.C. 846. The district court sentenced Farmer to life imprisonment.The Seventh Circuit affirmed. Although the precise date of Farmer’s membership is unclear, the government presented ample evidence from which a jury could conclude Farmer was a Latin King when he killed Lowry and Siegers in 1999 and that his membership motivated the killings. The government also offered sufficient evidence of other qualifying predicate crimes. View "United States v. Farmer" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law
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Arrive and Tech, compete to help customers coordinate shipments. Six employees at Arrive departed for Tech despite restrictive covenants. Arrive sued the six individuals and Tech for injunctive relief under the Defend Trade Secrets Act, 18 U.S.C. 1836(b)(3), claiming irreparable harm because the individuals had breached their restrictive covenants and misappropriated trade secrets.The Seventh Circuit affirmed the denial of a preliminary injunction. Arrive has an adequate remedy at law for each of its claimed injuries, and faces no irreparable harm. Even if its argument were not forfeited, lost opportunities cannot support a showing of irreparable harm under these circumstances. The type of harm Arrive alleges would ultimately translate into lost profits, albeit indirectly, as in the end there is no economic value to opportunities that are not converted to sales. Given the balance of harms, the district court was within its discretion to deny injunctive relief. The court noted that the expiration of the time period of a former employee’s restrictive covenants does not render moot an employer’s request for an injunction to prevent the former employee from violating those restrictive covenants. A court could still grant Arrive effectual relief in the form of an injunction, even though certain individual defendants no longer work for Traffic Tech. View "DM Trans, LLC v. Scott" on Justia Law

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Lee‐Kendrick was charged with sexual assault of girls under the age of 16: his biological daughter; his girlfriend’s daughter, A.W.; and a friend. Lee‐Kendrick testified that the accusations arose only after he started taking away their cell phones and allowances. There was no physical evidence. The jury found him guilty. Lee‐ Kendrick unsuccessfully sought a new trial, arguing that his trial counsel provided ineffective assistance by not objecting to certain prejudicial cross‐examination.In post-conviction motions, Lee‐ Kendrick argued his postconviction counsel provided ineffective assistance by failing to raise his trial counsel’s ineffectiveness in not calling as a witness A.W.'s friend, Keeler. Lee‐Kendrick cited a memorandum from a Wisconsin State Public Defender's investigator, recounting an interview in which Keeler said that A.W. told Keeler of her plan to get Lee‐Kendrick in trouble. The state trial court did not find Lee‐Kendrick’s claims procedurally barred for having not been raised on direct appeal but applied the “Strickland” standard to reject Lee‐Kendrick’s arguments. The Wisconsin Court of Appeals affirmed, going beyond his failure to raise the argument on appeal and reasoning that the attorney’s decision was not prejudicial because Keeler had no direct knowledge of the sexual assaults; Keeler’s testimony would have been inconsistent with the defense theory.The Seventh Circuit affirmed the denial of habeas relief. His claim concerning failure to call Keeler was denied on an adequate and independent state‐law ground and is procedurally defaulted. That default is not excused by cause and prejudice. View "Lee-Kendrick v. Eckstein" on Justia Law

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In 2020, large quantities of methamphetamine and firearms were discovered at Olsem’s house. Olsem, a convicted felon, pled guilty as a felon in possession of a firearm, 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(1). The Initial PSR identified pending Wisconsin state charges against Olsem: a February 2020 arrest for domestic battery and abuse of Olsem’s then-girlfriend and a December 2020 arrest for strangulation, suffocation, and domestic battery of his then-girlfriend and another man. Probation specifically noted the district court’s “Setser” discretion to determine whether Olsem’s federal sentence would run consecutively to or concurrently with any Wisconsin state sentence. Although Olsem submitted objections to the Initial PSR, he did not express a position on that issue. A Revised PSR calculated Olsem’s Guidelines range as 78-97 months’ imprisonment. Olsem’s sentencing memorandum did not address the consecutive or concurrent issue.The district court analyzed the 18 U.S.C. 3553(a) factors and imposed a sentence of 84 months’ imprisonment, stating that “If the state court judge does not expressly impose concurrent state sentences, his term of imprisonment shall run consecutively.” Olsem did not address the district court’s Setser discretion or express a preference for consecutive or concurrent sentences. The Seventh Circuit affirmed. Setser does not obligate sentencing courts to exercise this discretion and the appropriate time for Olsem to raise his concerns was at sentencing. View "United States v. Olsem" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law
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The Board, a private, nonprofit provider of medical certifications to radiologists, is dominant in the market for radiology certifications. All states permit physicians who are not Board-certified to practice medicine, provided they possess a valid state medical license. Siva, a Board-certified radiologist, says that most insurers will not grant in-network status to physicians who are not Board-certified; uncertified physicians are often shut out from meaningful employment opportunities. When the Board began selling certifications in 1934, radiologists who passed the examination would remain certified for life. The Board later shifted to “initial certification” and “maintenance of certification” (MOC). Radiologists who wish to remain Board-certified must participate in and pay for the MOC program annually, which requires continuing education credits from third parties, completing “practice improvement” activities, and passing Board-administered examinations.The Seventh Circuit affirmed the dismissal of Siva’s antitrust suit. Siva argued that MOC should be thought of not as part of the Board’s certification product but as a unique product in its own right and that the Board’s decision to revoke the certification of radiologists who refuse to participate in the MOC program reflects not a benign product redesign but rather an illegal tying arrangement that violates the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. 1. Siva cannot identify a distinct product market in which it is efficient to offer MOC separately from certification. View "Siva v. American Board of Radiology" on Justia Law

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In 1998, Campbell pled guilty in state court to escape and felony aggravated battery. He was released with his sentence discharged in 2001. In 2006 he was convicted for possessing a controlled substance with intent to deliver; in 2013 he was convicted for unlawful delivery of a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of church property. In 2017, Campbell pled guilty to four counts of distributing controlled substances, 21 U.S.C. 841(a)(1) and (b)(1)(C) after making several sales of crack cocaine and heroin to a confidential source. The probation officer filed four different PSRs; the first three found that Campbell was a career offender under Guidelines section 4B1.1 in part because of his 2006 and 2013 convictions. The court determined that certain uncharged drug sales beginning in 2016 were relevant conduct, which stretched the beginning of the offenses of conviction back far enough that Campbell’s 1998 conviction counted as a predicate offense.The Seventh Circuit affirmed his 120-month sentence. The district court properly calculated Campbell’s range under the Guidelines but also recognized the narrow margin by which he qualified as a career offender. It was appropriate for the court to rely primarily on its consideration of the statutory sentencing factors under 18 U.S.C. 3553(a) to decide on an appropriate sentence. View "United States v. Campbell" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law