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Home / Opinions / 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals / 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Digest: Oct. 18
These opinions were released by the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Digest: Oct. 18

Civil opinions



Claimed Exceptions

Interests in Former Spouse’s Accounts

Retirement Funds


In his divorce proceeding, debtor was awarded one-half the value of his ex-wife’s retirement accounts. Debtor took no action to obtain title or possession to the accounts. However, debtor claimed an exemption for the accounts as retirement funds; the bankruptcy court disallowed the exception.

Where debtor’s interest in retirement accounts merely resulted from a property settlement, funds in the accounts were not retirement funds exempt under federal law from bankruptcy proceeding as the exemption was limited to the individual who created and contributed funds into the accounts. Judgment is affirmed.

18-6018 I n re: Lerbakken, appealed from the District of Minnesota, Shodeen, J.


Civil Rights

42 U.S.C. §1981


Summary Judgment


Plaintiff appealed the District Court’s grant of summary judgment to defendants, dismissing plaintiff’s §1981 civil rights claim.

Where de novo review of the grant of summary judgment revealed no basis for reversal, court affirmed judgment in §1981 claim. Judgment is affirmed.

17-3575 Bilal v. IDS Prop. Cas. Ins. Co. , appealed from the Eastern District of Arkansas, per curiam.



Civil Rights

42 U.S.C. §1983

Americans with Disabilities Act

Denial of Appointed Counsel


Plaintiff, a former state correctional Inmate, filed §1983 and ADA claims against prison officials. The District Court dismissed some claims and granted defendants summary judgment on the remainder. The District Court also denied plaintiff’s request for appointed counsel.

Where there was no genuine issue of material fact, and where there was no constitutional or statutory right to appointed counsel for civil claims, District Court properly denied plaintiff’s request for counsel and dismissed his claims. Judgment is affirmed.

18-1131 Williams v. Wallace, appealed from the Eastern District of Missouri, per curiam.


Civil Rights

42 U.S.C. §1983


Summary Judgment


Plaintiff appealed the District Court’s grant of summary judgment to defendants, dismissing plaintiff’s §1983 action.

Where, viewing the record in the light most favorable to plaintiff, with the benefit of all reasonable inferences, plaintiff was not entitled to relief as a matter of law on his First, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendment and ADA claims, District Court correctly granted defendants summary judgment. Judgment is affirmed.

17-3371 Munt v. Larson, appealed from the, District of Minnesota, per curiam.



Civil Rights



Prosecutorial Immunity


Plaintiff appealed the District Court’s order dismissing his pro se §1983 complaint. The District Court determined that plaintiff’s claim was barred by absolute prosecutorial immunity.

Where defendants were entitled to prosecutorial immunity, District Court properly dismissed §1983 civil rights claim. Judgment is affirmed.

18-1903 Davis v. Daniel, appealed from the Western District of Arkansas, per curiam.


Civil Rights

42 U.S.C. §1983

Younger Abstention Doctrine

Bad Faith Exception


Plaintiffs filed a §1983 civil rights complaint against defendant. The District Court dismissed the action, declining to take jurisdiction under the Younger abstention doctrine. Plaintiffs argued their case fell within the bad faith exception to the doctrine and further alleged the District Court engaged in judicial misconduct.

Where plaintiffs had an ongoing state criminal prosecution against them in which they could raise relevant federal questions, the District Court properly declined to exercise jurisdiction over plaintiffs’ civil rights claim pursuant to the Younger abstention doctrine. Judgment is affirmed.

17-3800  Curd v. City of Searcy, appealed from the Eastern District of Arkansas, per curiam.


Civil Rights

Excessive Force

Qualified Immunity

Reasonableness of Violent Takedown


Plaintiff alleged that defendant police officers used excessive force in effecting her arrest, resulting in severe injuries requiring surgery. The District Court denied summary judgment to the remaining officer who conducted the physical takedown of plaintiff, ruling that he was not entitled to qualified immunity.

Where any reasonable police officer would understand that he or she could not takedown, in a violent and uncontrolled manner, a non-violent, non-threatening misdemeanor suspect not actively resisting arrest, an officer was not entitled to qualified immunity for a takedown where the evidence could support a finding that the suspect was not even passively resisting arrest. Judgment is affirmed.

17-2527 Karels v. Storz, appealed from the District of Minnesota, Wollman, J.




Disability Discrimination

Corrections Officer

Ability to Perform Essential Job Functions


Plaintiff was a 56-year old woman employed as a corrections officer. Plaintiff was injured during inmate encounters and required surgery. Plaintiff requested transfer to the DMV to accommodate her permanent injuries, but defendant terminated her employment because she could not resume her regular duties and because no transfer positions were available.

Where plaintiff could not perform essential functions of her corrections officer position with or without reasonable accommodation, employer was not liable for failing to engage in interactive process after plaintiff exhausted all light-duty available under CBA which did not require employer to provide plaintiff with a position not requiring inmate contact. Judgment is affirmed.

17-1387 Faulkner v. Douglas County. Nebraska, appealed from the District of Nebraska, Beam, J.






Plaintiff appealed the dismissal of his second amended complaint, asserting state law claims for nuisance and negligence and a claim under CERCLA.

Where plaintiff’s claims were without merit, District Court properly dismissed the second amended complaint. Judgment is affirmed.

17-3327 Smith v. Republic Services., Inc., appealed from the Eastern District of Missouri, per curiam.




Reopening of Proceedings

Adjustment of Status


Petitioners, citizens of India, moved to reopen their deportation proceedings to pursue an adjustment of their status. The BIA denied the motion.

Where an alien could only file a statutory motion to reopen removal proceedings within 90 days of the final removal order, BIA correctly denied petitioner’s motion, filed seven years after a final administrative order, as untimely. Petitioners also had no constitutionally protected liberty or property interest to give rise to a due process claim. Judgment is affirmed.

18-1471 Patel v. Sessions, appealed from the Board of Immigration Appeals, per curiam.





Motor Vehicle Accident

Exclusive Remedy of Workers’ Compensation

Dual Employment


Plaintiff was injured when defendant fell asleep at the wheel of a tractor-trailer. Defendant was transporting goods as an independent contractor and mentoring plaintiff for the carrier’s training program. The District Court dismissed plaintiff’s claim as barred by the workers’ compensation benefits he received from the carrier, concluding plaintiff was a dual employee of the carrier and defendant.

Where workers’ compensation statute included apprenticeship as a contract of service for an employer, trainee was dual employee of interstate carrier and contractor driver mentoring the trainee, thereby making workers’ compensation trainee’s sole remedy for driver’s negligence.

Judgment is affirmed.

17-3055 Quiles v. Johnson, appealed from the Southern District of Iowa, Loken, J.



Criminal Opinions


Child Pornography


Substantive Unreasonableness


Defendant pled guilty to various child pornography offenses. Defendant appealed his sentence, arguing that it was substantively unreasonable.

Where sentence was below advisory guideline range and District Court reasonably considered all statutory sentencing factors, defendant had not received substantively unreasonable sentence.

17-3781 U.S. v. Eisenach, appealed from the District of Minnesota,  per curiam.



Felon in Possession of a Firearm

Upward Variation of Sentence

Substantive Unreasonableness


Defendant pled guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm. The District Court determined defendant’s advisory guidelines sentencing range at 70 to 87 months’ imprisonment but instead imposed a 99-month sentence. Defendant appealed, challenging his sentence as substantively unreasonable.

District Court could vary upward a sentence based on prior criminal history, even when that prior history had already been accounted for in the advisory guidelines sentencing, and properly exercised discretion to vary upward based on dangerous nature of defendant’s offense and the determination that his conduct posed a danger to the public. Judgment is affirmed.

17-2846 U.S. v. Grant, appealed from the Western District of Missouri, per curiam.



Identity Theft

Use of Access Device

Ineffective Assistance of Counsel


Defendant pled guilty to various identity theft offenses. At sentencing, the District Court concluded defendant’s advisory guidelines range on three grouped offenses was 27 to 33 months. Defendant appealed, challenging the 27-month component of her sentence and arguing that counsel was ineffective for failing to argue that unusable devices should not have been calculated in her intended loss.

Where District Court rejected co-defendant making a similar unusable device argument and because an access device need not be used to be counted in intended loss, defendant’s counsel was not ineffective for failing to make the argument and the District Court correctly calculated defendant’s sentence. Judgment is affirmed.

18-1094 U.S. v. Parrott, appealed from the Eastern District of Missouri, per curiam.


Inmate Placement

Court’s Jurisdiction

Individualized Review


Plaintiff, a federal inmate, appealed the dismissal of his §2241 petition challenging the BOP’s decision to postpone his placement in a residential reentry center. The District Court dismissed plaintiff’s petition for lack of jurisdiction; alternatively, it concluded that the petition could be denied on the merits.

Where the BOP’s statutory requirement to consider “the resources of the facility contemplated” did not preclude the agency from fulfilling Its concurrent obligation to conduct an individualized review of an inmate’s circumstances when making a placement decision, District Court should have denied a §2241 petition rather than dismissing on jurisdictional grounds.

Judgment is reversed and remanded for denial.

18-2353 Bohrn v. Marques, appealed from the  District of Minnesota, per curiam.



Possession with Intent to Distribute

Suppression of Evidence

Calculation of Criminal History


Defendant was convicted of possession with intent to distribute and possession of a firearm by felon, after the District Court denied his suppression motion upon finding the search of his vehicle to be a valid inventory search. On appeal, defendant also challenged the calculation of his criminal history.

Where officers ordered tow of defendant’s vehicle after he parked and abandoned it on private property, police were justified in performing inventory search prior to tow, especially after defendant could not justify his ownership or authorization to drive the vehicle to permit officers to release the vehicle to defendant. District Court properly calculated criminal history when armed criminal action was crime of violence under residual clause. Judgment is affirmed.

16-1419  U.S. v. Long, appealed from the Western District of Missouri, Melloy, J.)  (



Above-Guidelines-Range Term

Substantive Unreasonableness


Defendant was resentenced, with the District Court imposing an above-guidelines-range term of incarceration. Defendant appealed, arguing that his sentence was procedurally and substantively unreasonable.

Where District Court did not abuse its discretion in deciding to vary a sentence upward based on defendant’s criminal history, defendant did not have an unreasonable sentence imposed. Judgment is affirmed.

18-1248 U.S. v. McMillan, appealed from the District of Minnesota, per curiam.


Supervised Release

Violation of Conditions

Unreasonable Length of Sentence


Defendant violated the terms of his supervised release by violating the rules of his halfway house, failing to provide urine samples, and removing his drug-detecting sweat patches. On appeal, defendant argued that the District Court’s 12-month prison sentence was unreasonably long.

Where defendant lied about his violation of the terms of his supervised release and already had a revocation of supervised release resulting in a 10-month sentence, District Court did not impose unreasonable sentence because a shorter sentence had proved ineffective. Judgment is affirmed.

17-3439 U.S. v. Davis, appealed from the Northern District of Iowa, per curiam.

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