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8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Digest: Sept. 13, 2017

Minnesota Lawyer//September 14, 2017

8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Digest: Sept. 13, 2017

Minnesota Lawyer//September 14, 2017

Criminal Opinions

Civil Practice

John Doe Pleading; Statute of Limitations; DPPA Claims


Where a law enforcement officer and her husband brought claims under the federal Driver’s Privacy Protection Act and state law invasion-of-privacy claims against Minnesota cities, counties, state officials and hundreds of John and Jane Does, and the plaintiffs later amended their complaint to replace one of the John Does with the name of a former assistant police chief, the grant of summary judgment to the former assistant police chief is affirmed as barred by the statute of limitations because the amended complaint did not relate back to the timely original complaint since the plaintiffs did not make a “mistake” within the meaning of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(c).  Judgment is affirmed.

16-3063 Heglund v. Aitkin County, appealed from the District of Minnesota, Colloton, J.


Civil Practice

Qui Tam Action; False Claims Act; ‘Original Source’


Where a plaintiff who filed a qui tam action against a drug manufacturer challenged the dismissal of her action for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, the District Court misapplied circuit precedent on the meaning of “original source” under the False Claims Act, and precedent does not require the relator to have direct and independent knowledge of the manufacturer’s allegedly false communications to the Department of Defense, so the judgment is reversed and remanded. Judgment is reversed and remanded.

15-2220 U.S. ex rel. Laurie Simpson v. Bayer Healthcare, appealed from the District of Minnesota, Colloton, J.


Civil Rights

First Amendment; Right to Petition; Qualified Immunity


Where plaintiffs, a landowner couple one of whom was a township board clerk, brought claims of constitutional violations after they were excluded from township board meetings in a dispute over a culvert project, the denial of qualified immunity is affirmed on claims of retaliation and First Amendment association, but the denial of qualified immunity is reversed on a right-to-petition claim because there is no First Amendment right to participate in a non-public government meeting as a member of the public.  Judgment is affirmed in part; reversed in part.

16-3139 Lee v. Driscoll, appealed from the District of South Dakota, Kelly, J.



Settlement; Allocation


Where a group health plan administrator sued several insurers and dispute arose over insurance coverage for settlement amounts arising from the two different underlying lawsuits, the judgment is affirmed because the District Court did not err on the issue of allocation of the settlement amounts, and the administrator waived its objected to a sua sponte order on defense costs.

Judgment is affirmed.

15-1076 UnitedHealth Group Incorporated v. Executive Risk Specialty Insurance Company, appealed from U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota, Colloton, J.


Criminal Opinions


Firearm Conspiracy

Possession; Sufficiency of Evidence


Where a defendant who was one of several gang members in a firearm conspiracy case challenged the sufficiency of evidence to support his possession conviction, the judgment is reversed on this conviction because only speculative inferences connected a gun found on a police chase route to the defendant, but the remaining defendants’ convictions are affirmed. Judgment is affirmed in part; vacated in part; remanded.

Dissenting opinion by Colloton, J.: “In deciding whether there was proof beyond a reasonable doubt, the jury was permitted to consider whether the confluence of all these circumstances—the pledge to carry a gun at all times, the furtive movements after the initial stop, the flight from police, the discovery of the damaged gun on the chase route precisely where the vehicle went out of sight, and the employees’ testimony that no gun was seen earlier—could reasonably be explained as merely an unlucky coincidence for Black. The majority’s contrary approach of proffering innocent explanations for each piece of evidence in isolation and concluding that there must be reasonable doubt is inconsistent with the proper standard of review. The jury was not irrational to return a verdict of guilty. I would affirm the judgment of conviction in Black’s case.” Judgment is affirmed in part; vacated in part; remanded.

16-2541 U.S. v. Parker, appealed from the District of Minnesota, Smith, J.



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