Category Archives: Seventh Circuit

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Seventh Circuit Returns to Full Strength

As Wisconsin lawyers well know, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has been working with less than its fully authorized complement of eleven active circuit judges since Judge Terence Evans took senior status in January 2010.  The court continued with 10 active members until February 2015, when Judge John Tinder of Indiana … Continue reading this entry

Citing Failure to Request Leave to Amend, Seventh Circuit Affirms Dismissal with Prejudice Under Rule 12(b)(6)

Federal district courts are supposed to grant leave to amend a complaint “freely … when justice so requires.”  Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(a)(2).  The Seventh Circuit has construed this directive to require, in most cases, that a plaintiff whose complaint has been dismissed under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) be given at least one opportunity … Continue reading this entry

Seventh Circuit Explains the Standard for Certification of a Question of State Law

Seventh Circuit Rule 52 allows the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, when faced with “questions arising under the laws of [a] state which will control the outcome of a case pending in the federal court” to “certify such a question to the state court in accordance with the rules of that court” … Continue reading this entry

Seventh Circuit Disqualifies Conflicted Counsel

It’s not often that a court disqualifies one of the lawyers who appears before it. That’s what makes the Seventh Circuit’s recent decision in Doe v. Nielsen, No. 17-2040 (7th Cir. Feb. 26, 2018), one for the history books. The decision, written by Judge Diane Sykes, took the “drastic measure” of disqualifying counsel who appeared … Continue reading this entry

Seventh Circuit Explains Unique Feature of Diversity Statute

A feature of 28 U.S.C. § 1332, the diversity-jurisdiction statute, may make you scratch your head and wonder why it’s there. In the Seventh Circuit’s March 15, 2018 decision in Hyland v. Liberty Mutual Fire Ins. Co., No. 17-2712, Judge Frank Easterbrook explained the origin of § 1332(c)(1) and the role that Wisconsin law played in … Continue reading this entry

Seventh Circuit Sanctions an Appellant for Failing To Include the District Court’s Rulings with Its Opening Brief

Seventh Circuit Rule 30(a) requires an appellant to “append to [its] opening brief[] the judgment under review and its adjoining findings of fact and conclusions of law.” Rule 30(b) further requires an appellant to include any other opinions or orders that bear on the issues on appeal, and subparagraph (d) requires an appellant to certify … Continue reading this entry

Seventh Circuit Considers Diversity Jurisdiction in Trust Dispute

In Doermer v. Oxford Fin’l Group, Ltd., No. 17-1659 (7th Cir. Mar. 7, 2018), the Seventh Circuit had before it an example of what Chief Judge Diane Wood called a “depressingly common” type of litigation: “[f]amily disputes over who owns what.” In resolving the appeal, the court resolved a couple of interesting diversity jurisdictional issues … Continue reading this entry

In the Age of Airbnb, the Seventh Circuit Explains the “Reasonable Diligence” Required for Personal Service in Wisconsin

Wis. Stat. § 801.11(1)(c) allows a plaintiff to resort to service by publication when, through efforts that amount to “reasonable diligence,” he has been unable to serve the defendant in person. The Seventh Circuit’s recent decision in Cunningham v. Montes, No. 17-2516 (7th Cir. Feb. 21, 2018), written by Judge Frank Easterbrook, considered whether the plaintiff … Continue reading this entry

Seventh Circuit Explains When an Award of Attorney’s Fees Is Final for Purposes of an Appeal

The law clerks of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit might be excused for thinking of the court’s recent decision in Cooke v. Jackson National Life Insurance Co., No. 17-2080 (7th Cir. Feb. 9, 2018), as the one that got away. So pervasive and fundamental were the case’s jurisdictional issues on appeal … Continue reading this entry

Seventh Circuit To Welcome First New Judge Since 2009

The Senate yesterday confirmed the nomination of Professor Amy Coney Barrett of the Notre Dame University Law School to the vacant Indiana seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Her appointment makes her the first judge to join the court in eight years, since Judge David F. Hamilton of Bloomington, … Continue reading this entry

“You Can’t Beat Something with Nothing”: 7th Cir. Explains the Importance of Disclosing Experts

Some cases present issues that are difficult for the parties to litigate or for the courts to decide. But those cases tend to be the exception. Much of litigation—at least when practiced successfully—requires the mastery of a fundamental set of skills or tasks, the blocking and tackling of the craft. This week’s decision by the … Continue reading this entry

A Softer, Gentler Seventh Circuit Reconsiders “Substantial Compliance” under Rule 11

Those who practice regularly before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit know that the court has not been reluctant to punish a misbehaving lawyer. So the court’s recent decision in Riffner v. PNC Bank, No. 15-2142 (7th Cir. Mar. 10, 2017), might come as a bit of a surprise. Unlike (apparently) all … Continue reading this entry

Seventh Circuit Explains Disclosure of Hybrid Witnesses under Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(a)(2)(C)

The Seventh Circuit’s recent decision in Indianapolis Airport Authority v. Travelers Property Casualty Co. of America, No. 16-2675 (7th Cir. Feb. 17, 2017), written by Judge David Hamilton, is one for civil litigators to take note of. It appears to be the first time the Seventh Circuit has used Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26(a)(2)(C). … Continue reading this entry

Waiting for Gorsuch: SCOTUS Kicks Important Class-Action Waiver Case to Next Term

Last week, the United States Supreme Court informed litigants in Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis that it is pushing the case to its October 2017 term. The lawsuit, which rose up through the Western District of Wisconsin and the Seventh Circuit, presents the High Court with a chance to resolve a robust circuit split on … Continue reading this entry

Seventh Circuit Confirms that Parties Seeking Review of an Interlocutory Order Have 30 Days to Request a Rule 54(b) Judgment

The rule of 28 U.S.C. § 1291 limits the appealability of district court orders to “final decisions.” Although an order resolving fewer than all claims of all parties is not a final decision for purposes of appeal, Rule 54(b), Fed. R. Civ. P., permits district courts to make such orders appealable by expressly determining that “there … Continue reading this entry

Simultaneous Decisions from the 7th Circuit: How the Later-Argued Case Became Binding Precedent

The Seventh Circuit is very serious about treating its panel decisions as the “law of the court” unless and until they are overruled by the en banc court or a higher authority. Hence, its Circuit Rule 40(e) requires a panel that contemplates issuing an opinion that would overrule a prior decision or create a conflict … Continue reading this entry

The Case of the Vanishing § 1292(b) Certification

Nothing about the Seventh Circuit’s recent per curiam decision in Kenosha Unified School District No. 1 Board of Education v. Whitaker, No. 16-8019 (7th Cir. Nov. 14, 2016), could be considered much of a mystery, but file the case away as something you don’t see often. It answers the question of what happens to the … Continue reading this entry

Seventh Circuit Recognizes “Substantial Truthfulness” Defense to Tortious Interference Claims under Wisconsin Law

As we wrap up another election cycle that has kept “fact checkers” working overtime analyzing the many dubious claims by candidates of all political persuasions, the Seventh Circuit has issued a decision that reminds us of the value of the truth—at least insofar as it concerns truth (or “substantial truthfulness” in this case) as a … Continue reading this entry

Seventh Circuit Determines that Service-of-Suit Clauses Can Waive Statutory Right of Removal

Pine Top Receivables has returned to the published opinions of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. We previously wrote about Pine Top’s successful attempt to compel arbitration with a Uruguayan company and the intersection of the Federal Arbitration Act and the Panama Convention. Pine Top was again before the Seventh Circuit in … Continue reading this entry

Coming Up Short: When There Aren't Enough Judges Eligible To Rehear A Case En Banc

Every now and then we see something in the reported decisions of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit that seems noteworthy because we’ve never seen it before. The following is one such example. Seventh Circuit Rule 40(e) is entitled “Rehearing Sua Sponte before Decision,” and it provides, in relevant part, that a … Continue reading this entry

Seventh Circuit Reverses Promotional Service Decision Under the Robinson-Patman Act

On August 12, 2016, the Seventh Circuit decided Woodman’s Food Market, Inc. v. Clorox Co., No. 15-3001, and held that Clorox’s refusal to sell bulk-sized packages of certain products to some retailers, like Woodman’s, when it sold bulk-sized items to “big box” retailers, like Costco and Sam’s Club, was not a violation of the Robinson-Patman … Continue reading this entry

Seventh Circuit Ditches “Convincing Mosaic” Standard in Employment Cases

In the past, we have counseled our clients on steps they can take to avoid creating a “convincing mosaic” of employment discrimination. The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals first discussed the convincing mosaic of discrimination more than 20 years ago as a metaphor to explain one way that an employee could combine lots of different … Continue reading this entry

Seventh Circuit Cuts Through First Amendment Forum Jargon and Issues Robust Defense of Free Expression

Like many cities across the country, Fort Wayne, Indiana raises money through advertisements that it sells on the inside and outside of the buses it operates. And like many cities, Fort Wayne has a number of regulations on the content of those ads. Most of these regulations are uncontroversial – think of prohibitions on images … Continue reading this entry

The Seventh Circuit Empowers Litigants to Revisit Class Definitions

Class actions, and Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, have long been rife with controversy. It’s safe to assume that the Seventh Circuit’s decision last week in Fonder v. Sheriff of Kankakee Cnty., No. 15-2905 (7th Cir. May 26, 2016), will likely garner mixed reviews from the bar. Fonder is a reminder … Continue reading this entry