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

Appeals panel: Taxpayers' rights not violated by county assessments raising property taxes in only one township

By Scott Holland | Oct 12, 2018

A federal appeals panel has shelved an attempt by a group of downstate landowners to sue their county for setting property tax bills after only reassessing the properties in their township, effectively raising their tax bills by 25 percent, allegedly violating their constitutional rights to equal protection.

Attorney: Court's denial of Lincolnshire right-to-work ordinance could forebode SCOTUS fight

By Gabriel Neves | Oct 9, 2018

A recent decision by a federal appeals court in Chicago likely forebodes a legal fight before the U.S. Supreme Court over the fate of so-called local right-to-work zones in Illinois and throughout the country.

Chicago Joe's Tea Room group asks court to strike down IL law barring Broadview strip club

By Jonathan Bilyk | Oct 5, 2018

A group of investors have renewed their long-running legal fight win the chance to open a strip club in suburban Broadview, now asking a federal judge for permission to directly challenge the constitutionality of an 11-year-old state law the would-be club operators contend effectively bans all adult entertainment establishments from opening anywhere in the town.

Appeals judges: Lincolnshire, other towns can't create right-to-work zones, despite home rule powers

By Jonathan Bilyk | Oct 1, 2018

Saying to find otherwise would create “catastrophic” consequences for labor law in Illinois and across the country, a federal appeals panel has backed a federal judge’s decision to toss an attempt by a northwest suburban village to use its home rule powers to create a local right-to-work zone within its borders.

Judge: Lawyers must justify fee requests for investor suits withdrawn vs Akorn over proxy disclosures

By Jonathan Bilyk | Sep 27, 2018

A federal judge says a group of lawyers must demonstrate why they should be allowed to collect more than $300,000 in attorney fees for their work representing clients who withdrew a potential class action against generic drug manufacturer Akorn Inc. over its attempted sale to German pharmaceutical company Fresenius.

Appeals court: Office Depot commission policies don't negate obligation to pay workers within month

By Cook County Record | Sep 24, 2018

Businesses who employ commissioned sales representatives may need to reevaluate their policies for paying commissions, after appeals judges said company policies don't trump Illinois law requiring employers to promptly pay commissioned sales reps.

Federal appeals court won’t review its decision to toss $3M verdict v. GSK; Plaintiff: ‘Dangerous precedent’

By Dan Churney | Sep 24, 2018

A Chicago federal appellate court has refused to reexamine its decision last month that reversed a $3 million verdict against drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline, on grounds the company was not responsible for the labeling of the generic version of its product Paxil, despite plaintiff’s urging a rehearing was needed, because she said the appeals panel set a “dangerous precedent.”

Appeals panel: IL law OK letting committees controlled by legislative leaders give unlimited campaign cash

By Scott Holland | Sep 18, 2018

Brushing aside assertions the law allows party leaders to consolidate power statewide, a federal appeals panel has upheld an Illinois campaign finance law which restricts what individual donors can give to political campaigns, while allowing unlimited contributions from legislative caucus committees controlled by partisan leaders within the state's House and Senate.

Appeals court: IL doesn’t usurp feds’ power by making coal, gas burners subsidize Illinois nuke plants

By Dan Churney | Sep 17, 2018

A federal appellate court has affirmed a Chicago federal judge’s ruling that switched off suits by a group of electricity producers and Chicago-area power consumers, which sought to invalidate a state law requiring coal and gas burning electricity companies buy credits to prop up two failing Exelon nuclear plants, saying the law doesn’t infringe on federal regulatory prerogatives.

Anti-union IL state worker asks judge to let him defend state vs union attempt to 'discriminate' vs non-union workers

By Jonathan Bilyk | Sep 13, 2018

Saying Illinois’ attorney general’s defense is “inadequate” and is “bordering on malpractice,” an Illinois state employee who factored in the court action that led to the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision to strike down rules requiring non-union workers to pay fees to unions has again jumped into a federal court action, this time asking a judge to allow his legal team to defend the state against a union’s attempt to secure a court order striking down labor laws requiring them to represent all workers in a collective bargaining unit.

Judges nix consumer antitrust vs steelmakers; Production chain too complex to undergird sprawling class action

By Jonathan Bilyk | Sep 7, 2018

While noting the plaintiffs had presented statements which could indicate price-fixing activity, a federal appeals panel has refused to melt down a lower court’s decision to slice up a potentially massive class action lawsuit accusing U.S. steelmakers of conspiring to jack up prices for raw steel.

Appeals panel: Retirement home liable under federal housing law for residents' harassment of lesbian resident

By Scott Holland | Aug 30, 2018

A federal appeals panel has ruled an independent and assisted living facility can be held liable for a harassment suffered by a lesbian resident at the hands of other residents, because of her sexuality.

Appeals court rules Cook County Sheriff Dart shouldn’t be blamed for loss of jail inmates’ property

By Dan Churney | Aug 27, 2018

A Chicago federal appeals has refused to upset a jury’s verdict against onetime Cook County Jail inmates, who alleged in a lawsuit the sheriff violated their constitutional rights by not protecting their possessions when they were booked, saying plaintiffs failed to show any crime was committed, much less a breach of their rights.

Appeals panel: Caterpillar didn't discriminate vs older workers by nixing benefits plan to boost early retirement

By Scott Holland | Aug 24, 2018

A federal appeals panel in Chicago has ruled Caterpillar can’t be sued for age discrimination simply because it changed a benefits plan that led to widespread worker retirement.

Appeals court tosses $3M verdict vs GSK, says FDA, not drugmaker, controlled Paxil warning label

By Jonathan Bilyk | Aug 22, 2018

A federal appeals panel has tossed out a $3 million verdict vs GSK for the widow of a Chicago lawyer who committed suicide after taking the generic equivalent of GSK's drug, Paxil. The judges said the company can't be held responsible for language on the warning label when that language was controlled by the FDA.

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.

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