U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit News

Appeals court lets pilots’ suit take off again, says fliers’ union may have breached representation duty

By Dan Churney | Aug 21, 2018

A dismissed suit by United Airlines pilot instructors, which alleged their union unfairly divided retroactive pay among different pilot categories, is flying again, courtesy of a Chicago federal appeals panel that ruled a lower court should not have grounded the suit, because the instructors plausibly argued the union gave them the short end of the stick.

Home energy use info gleaned from 'smart meters' is 4th Amend 'search,' but not 'unreasonable': Appeals panel

By Jonathan Bilyk | Aug 16, 2018

Noting their conclusions could change based on what other cities and utilities may choose to do with information gleaned from homeowners’ energy use, a panel of federal appeals court judges has found Naperville can continue collecting and storing electricity usage data transmitted directly by so-called “smart meters,” even though the data harvest essentially amounts to a governmental search under the Fourth Amendment.

Appeals panel upholds $500K verdict for butcher vs South Side grocer for sexual, racial harassment

By DM Herra | Aug 8, 2018

A federal appeals panel has upheld a lower court’s order requiring a Chicago grocery store to pay more than $500,000 to an African American former butcher who claimed he suffered severe racial and sexual harassment at the hands of his Hispanic coworkers.

Appeals panel: Objector earned $80K atty fees for getting Southwest passengers class two more free drinks each

By Scott Holland | Aug 6, 2018

A federal appeals panel has cleared an objector to claim attorney fees for his role in landing a class of eligible Southwest Airlines passengers two more free in-flight drinks, amid a long-running class action lawsuit over drink vouchers the airline formerly provided to passengers.

Appeals panel: Attorneys didn't do enough to merit fees topping amount paid to plaintiffs in junk fax suit

By DM Herra | Aug 2, 2018

A federal appeals court rejected a request for attorney’s fees that exceeded the amount paid to claimants in a quickly settled lawsuit over faxed ads, as judges faulted the attempt by plaintiffs’ lawyers to lay claim to one-third of a potential settlement amount, rather than basing their fee request on the actual deal.

Appeals judges: Cook Forest Preserve's try to get horse ranch in foreclosure not unconstitutional seizure

By Scott Holland | Jul 27, 2018

The U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals dealt a blow to the owners of a horse ranch near Barrington in their property ownership battle with the Cook County Forest Preserve District, as judges said the Forest Preserve’s attempt to use the foreclosure process to acquire the land did not amount to an unconstitutional taking.

Appeals panel: $15M fees not too big for lawyers behind $76M Caribbean cruise telemarketing settlement

By Jonathan Bilyk | Jul 27, 2018

A federal appeals panel will allow a group of Chicago lawyers to keep their potential $15 million to $18 million payday for their work in securing a $76 million settlement from a cruise line and others accused of using nonprofit surveys to mask telemarketing calls, as judges said the size of the fee award doesn’t necessarily mean it is too large.

Appeals panel revives black workers' hostile work environment claims vs Advocate Christ Medical Center

By Cook County Record | Jul 26, 2018

A federal appeals panel has partially reversed a federal judge's order, which had granted a win to Advocate Christ Medical Center, against claims brought by a group of African American hospital workers who alleged they faced a hostile work environment.

Court: IL tax collectors can’t ‘jump the queue’ of creditors to collect unpaid taxes from bankrupt debtors

By DM Herra | Jul 12, 2018

Illinois state tax collectors cannot jump ahead of other creditors when collecting unpaid taxes from bankrupt estates, a federal appeals panel has ruled, rejecting the Illinois Department of Revenue’s attempt to collect delinquent taxes from two bankrupt businesses whose debts far outweighed their assets.

Jam Productions alleges theatrical union bought votes to unionize workers

By Dan Churney | Jul 6, 2018

A Chicago federal appeals panel has ordered the National Labor Relations Board to hold a hearing into allegations by Jam Productions that Theatrical Stage Employees Union Local 2 gave lucrative jobs to non-unionized Jam workers so they would vote to install the union local at Jam Productions venues.

Appeals court upholds dismissal of Chicago School of Professional Psychology student

By Sandra Lane | Jul 3, 2018

A federal appeals court in Chicago has shut down a legal action brought by a former student at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology, who had alleged the school had improperly disciplined her over an image she posted to her personal Instagram account, and then later wrongly accused her of plagiarism.

SCOTUS takes Merck's Fosamax appeal, could boost GSK's appeal of $3M verdict over lawyer's suicide

By Jonathan Bilyk | Jul 3, 2018

The U.S. Supreme Court has decided to wade into the contentious question over whether a pharmaceutical company can be held liable for failing to warn consumers and doctors of a drug’s potential effects, potentially portending significant implications for a $3 million verdict a jury awarded to the widow of a Chicago lawyer who committed suicide in the Loop after taking the generic version of an antidepressant drug.

Post-Janus Landscape: Decision will impact union coffers, membership; more litigation on its way, say lawyers

By Jonathan Bilyk | Jul 2, 2018

In the wake of the U.S Supreme Court’s landmark decision to declare unconstitutional forced union fees, the legal and political landscape will undoubtedly change. But precisely what will change, and how and when those changes will roll out, remains anybody’s guess.

U.S. appeals panel lets lawsuit reform advocate Ted Frank explore possible class action 'objector blackmail'

By Dan Churney | Jun 29, 2018

A Chicago federal appeals court is giving a lawsuit watchdog group a chance to show whether attorneys for three objectors to a $9 million class action settlement allegedly tried to squeeze extra money for themselves from the settlement by lodging objections on behalf of their clients.

Appeals panel: IL law nixes Chicago Joe's Tea Room try to force open Broadview strip club

By Jonathan Bilyk | Jun 29, 2018

A group of investors – most of whom have remained concealed by what judges called an “obscure trail of contracts, trusts, and illusory commitments” – seeking to open a strip club in Broadview have suffered another setback as they try to force the suburban community to grant them the permit they need to open the establishment, in a ruling from the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

Janus decision could give IL caregivers new shot at reclaiming $32M in unconstitutional union fees: SCOTUS

By Jonathan Bilyk | Jun 28, 2018

A day after overturning the legal precedent that allowed public sector unions to use the state to grab a share of non-union workers’ paychecks, the U.S. Supreme Court has ordered a federal appeals court in Chicago to use its ruling to take another look at his decision forbidding a group of home caregivers from suing a labor union to claw back some of the $32 million in similar fees the state had taken from the caregivers and paid to the union.

Appeals court upholds NCAA rule requiring transfers to sit out one season before playing

By Jonathan Bilyk | Jun 26, 2018

The NCAA can require student athletes to wait at least one full academic year before playing when transferring to a new Division 1 university or college, a federal appeals court in Chicago has ruled.

EEOC doesn't owe CVS' legal bills for failed suit; Not frivolous, even though agency didn't follow rules

By Dan Churney | Jun 18, 2018

A Chicago federal appeals court ruled that although the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission should not have filed a labor law suit against the CVS Pharmacy chain without first trying conciliation, the EEOC should not have to pay the company’s legal costs, because the suit was not frivolous.

No constitutional right to referendums, appeals panel says, ending Calumet term limits tussle

By Scott Holland | Jun 18, 2018

A federal appeals panel said citizens have no constitutional right to place referenda on ballots, rejecting an appeal from a Calument City official and state lawmaker challenging state rules limiting the number of referendums that can appear on the ballot at the same time.

Chicago federal appeals panel slaps down man’s try for more cash from hip replacement settlement

By Dan Churney | Jun 14, 2018

A Chicago federal appeals panel made quick work of a “dubious” suit by an Arkansas man, who attempted to extract more money from a class action lawsuit over allegedly defective artificial hip devices, by claiming the “settlement agreement” he signed with the hip device maker was not an agreement, but actually a nonbinding offer.

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