Weekly Case Digests - October 22 - October 26, 2018.

 
FREE EXCERPT

Byline: WISCONSIN LAW JOURNAL STAFF

7th Circuit Digests

7th Circuit Court of Appeals

Case Name: United States of America v. Martin Velazquez

Case No.: 18-1647

Officials: EASTERBROOK, ROVNER, and HAMILTON, Circuit Judges.

Focus: Motion to Suppress Evidence Denied Warrantless Search

Martin Velazquez was arrested after agreeing to sell twelve kilograms of cocaine to an undercover agent. He conditionally pled guilty to one count of possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance. He retained his right to appeal the district court's denial of his motion to suppress the fruits of a warrantless search for the key evidence against him. That evidence was contained in a suitcase that he had placed in the bed of a pickup truck parked in the driveway of his home. We conclude that the search was supported by the officers' good faith reliance on then-existing circuit precedent, and we affirm the conviction on that basis.

Affirmed

Full Text

7th Circuit Court of Appeals

Case Name: Laera D. Reed, et al. v. Charles Palmer

Case No.: 18-1429; 18-1438

Officials: FLAUM, MANION, and ROVNER, Circuit Judges.

Focus: Qualified Immunity

The State of Iowa declared Laera Reed and Paige Ray-Cluney delinquent youths and sent them to a juvenile institution in Wisconsin. Plaintiffs filed suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983 against multiple Wisconsin officials and Charles Palmer, the Director of the Iowa Department of Human Services, alleging they suffered from the excessive use of isolation cells and excessive force. A district court in the Western District of Wisconsin dismissed plaintiffs' claims against Palmer at the pleading stage on the basis of qualified immunity, and plaintiffs now appeal. For the reasons below, we reverse.

Reversed and Remanded

Full Text

7th Circuit Court of Appeals

Case Name: United States of America v. William T. Burrows

Case No.: 17-3292

Officials: FLAUM, RIPPLE, and BARRETT, Circuit Judges.

Focus: Sentencing Guidelines

William Burrows conditionally pleaded guilty to one count of receiving child pornography pursuant to 18 U.S.C. 2252A(a)(2)(A). He argues that 2252A(a)(2)(A) is void for vagueness as applied to him, and therefore, that his indictment should have been dismissed. Additionally, he maintains that the district court erred at sentencing by basing his sentence, in part, on the need for sex offender treatment. We disagree, and we affirm Burrows's conviction and sentence.

Affirmed

Full Text

7th Circuit Court of Appeals

Case Name: Darwin Ramirez v. Richard Young, et al.

Case No.: 15-3298

Officials: WOOD, Chief Judge, and BAUER and SYKES, Circuit Judges.

Focus: Statutory Interpretation PLRA

Under the Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (PLRA), "[n]o action shall be brought with respect to prison conditions under [42 U.S.C. 1983], or any other Federal law, by a prisoner until such administrative remedies as are available are exhausted." 42 U.S.C. 1997e(a) (emphasis added). This appeal concerns the availability of administrative remedies described to a prisoner by prison officials only in a language they knew he could not understand. We hold that this was not enough to render those remedies "available" to the prisoner. We therefore reverse the judgment dismissing Darwin Ramirez's federal suit for failure to exhaust and remand for further proceedings.

Reversed and Remanded

Full Text

7th Circuit Court of Appeals

Case Name: Staci Harrington, et al. v. Nancy A. Berryhill

Case No.: 17-3179

Officials: KANNE, SYKES, and ST. EVE, Circuit Judges

Focus: Statutory Interpretation Treasury Offset Program Statutory Fee Awards

The Commissioner of Social Security separately denied benefits to Staci Harrington and Andrew Banks. Both individuals sought judicial review of those decisions. To that end, each separately engaged the services of The de la Torre Law Office LLC, which agreed to represent them in federal court. In exchange, the two plaintiffs assigned to counsel any legal fees to which they might be entitled under the Equal Access to Justice Act ("EAJA"), 28 U.S.C. 2412(d). After successfully prosecuting their cases, the plaintiffs obtained the statutory fee awards.

But that was not the end of the story. The Treasury Department, which had the responsibility of processing the payments, determined that both litigants had outstanding debts to various government entities. Rather than paying out the fees directly, it reduced the litigants' debts by equal amounts under the Treasury Offset Program, 31 C.F.R. 285. The attorneys received nothing. In response, the parties brought these appeals, which we have consolidated because they pose the same legal questions. See Harrington v. Berryhill, 876 F.3d 889 (7th Cir. 2017). We believe it would be imprudent to entertain new administrative claims that are only minimally related to the judgments, so we decline to exercise ancillary jurisdiction over the plaintiffs' collateral challenges to the regulations and instead affirm the district courts' judgments.

Affirmed

Full Text

7th Circuit Court of Appeals

Case Name: Nicholas Webb v. Michael Frawley

Case No.: 18-1607

Officials: WOOD, Chief Judge, and FLAUM and HAMILTON, Circuit Judges.

Focus: Employment Contract Wrongful Termination

Plaintiff-appellant Nicholas Webb sued defendant-appellee Michael Frawley for tortiously interfering with his employment contract and for knowingly misrepresenting company policy, both of which resulted in Webb's termination. The district court granted Frawley's motion to dismiss Webb's claims. Webb appeals that decision. For the reasons that follow, we affirm the judgment of the district court.

Affirmed

Full Text

7th Circuit Court of Appeals

Case Name: Robbie J. Perry, et al. v. Coles County, Illinois,

Case No.: 17-3615

Officials: FLAUM, MANION, and SYKES, Circuit Judges.

Focus: 14th Amendment Violation Commercial and Industrial Property Tax

Robbie J. Perry and James Rex Dukeman, on behalf of themselves and others similarly situated, sued Coles County, Illinois for placing a disproportionate tax on commercial and industrial properties in Mattoon Township in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The district court dismissed plaintiffs' claims based on the comity doctrine, and plaintiffs appeal. For the reasons stated below, we affirm.

Affirmed

Full Text

7th Circuit Court of Appeals

Case Name: Barry Dayton v. Oakton Community College, et al.

Case No.: 18-1668

Officials: FLAUM, MANION, and SYKES, Circuit Judges.

Focus: Statutory Interpretation ADEA

Traditionally, Oakton Community College employed retired state employees as part-time and adjunct faculty. But in November 2014, Oakton changed its hiring practices so that as of July 1, 2015, Oakton...

To continue reading

FREE SIGN UP