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8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Digest: Jan. 11, 2023

Administrative Law

License Suspension

Qualified Immunity

Where the former commissioner of the state’s insurance department challenged the denial of qualified immunity in an action brought by an insurance agent alleging the denial of due process, the court has jurisdiction to consider the issue, and the former commissioner’s belief that the facts as he knew them qualified as an emergency justifying an emergency suspension was objectively reasonable, and the judgment is reversed because he was entitled to summary judgment based on qualified immunity.

Judgment is reversed.

22-2363 Glass v. Arkansas Insurance Department, per curiam. Appealed from U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Arkansas.

 

 

Civil Practice

 

Foreclosure Proceeding

Diversity Action

Where appellant challenged an adverse summary judgment in favor of a mortgage servicer in a diversity action related to a foreclosure proceeding, summary judgment was proper for the reasons explained by the district court.

Judgment is affirmed.

22-2310 Baker v. Cenlar Federal Savings Bank, per curiam. Appealed from U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota.

 

 

Post-Judgment Motions

Pro Se Action

Where a Minnesota resident appealed from the dismissal of his pro se civil action and the denial of his post-judgment motions, the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying reconsideration since the appellant did not present a basis for relief.

Judgment is affirmed.

22-2985 Olson v. Hennepin County, per curiam. Appealed from U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota.

 

 

Standing

Injury In Fact; Fraud Case

Where appellants brought claims of fraud, conversion and breach of contract against property owners years after the appellants lost interest in the relevant properties, the district court did not err in determining that the appellants did not have standing to bring the suit since they had no interest in the properties and could not show an injury in fact.

Judgment is affirmed.

21-3452 Finneman v. Laidlaw, Benton, J. Appealed from U.S. District Court, District of South Dakota.

 

 

Civil Rights

 

§1983

Excessive/Retaliatory Force; Qualified Immunity

Plaintiff appealed the grant of summary judgment in favor of defendants. Plaintiff attended a protest near the police academy and got into an argument with an officer over the force being used to push protestors away. Another officer saw the confrontation and believing that plaintiff and the other officer were in a fight, deployed pepper spray on plaintiff. Plaintiff filed suit alleging that the use of pepper spray constituted excessive and retaliatory force. The district court granted defendants’ motion for summary judgment based on their assertion of qualified immunity.

Where the officer had an objectively reasonable basis to fear for his fellow officer’s safety in the confrontation with plaintiff, the use of pepper spray was a reasonable response to subdue plaintiff and move him away from the barricade line, and deploying pepper spray was not retaliatory when the officer did not hear plaintiff’s complaints about the police’s treatment of female protestors.

Judgment is affirmed.

21-3530 Laney v. City of St. Louis, Stras, J. Appealed from U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Missouri.

 

 

 

§1983

First Amendment Retaliation; Under Color of State Law

Plaintiff appealed the dismissal of his §1983 lawsuit. Both parties worked for the state of Iowa, with plaintiff serving as a urologist at the University of Iowa Hospital, and defendant working as a professor at the University of Iowa College of Law. Defendant criticized plaintiff’s expert testimony in an unrelated case, which plaintiff alleged constituted retaliation against constitutionally protected speech. The district court dismissed the case, ruling that plaintiff failed to plausibly allege that defendant’s conduct was made under color of state law.

Where a state employee does not act under color of state law merely by identifying themselves as a state employee, the district court correctly dismissed the action where plaintiff failed to allege that defendant’s retaliatory conduct involved the exercise of the duties or authority of his public employment.

Judgment is affirmed.

22-1463 Brown v. Linder, Gruender, J. Appealed from U.S. District Court, Southern District of Iowa.

 

 

Negligent Investigation

Malicious Prosecution; Qualified Immunity

Defendants appealed the denial of their motion for summary judgment on plaintiff’s civil rights complaint. Plaintiff, an attorney, was charged and ultimately acquitted of state criminal charges involving sexual abuse, indecent exposure, and prostitution, based on allegations made by plaintiff’s former client. Plaintiff alleged that defendants violated his civil rights during the criminal investigation and had a policy that led to the alleged violations. The district court denied defendants’ assertion of qualified immunity.

Where the affidavit of probable cause prepared by defendants accurately summarized phone calls made by plaintiff, defendants committed no constitutional violations where there was no evidence they knew or believed that the former client’s allegations were false or had ignored evidence indicating plaintiff’s evidence. Instead, defendants recovered sufficient evidence of probable cause to believe plaintiff had committed a crime.

Judgment is affirmed.

21-3795 Newport v. Payton, per curiam. Appealed from U.S. District Court, Southern District of Iowa.

 

 

Consumer Law

 

Class Action

Remand; Amount In Controversy

Where appellant corporation challenged the remand of a consumer class action suit against it to state court, the district court did not apply the correct standard in evaluating whether the amount in controversy met the requirement for removal of a class action, and the court failed to consider the post-removal declaration of the appellant’s lead compliance consultant – that the suit would require the appellant to spend more than $7.5 million if the plaintiff prevails – effectively denied the company the opportunity to establish its claim of federal jurisdiction, so the remand order is vacated and the matter is remanded to the district court.

Vacated; remanded.

22-3468 Leflar v. Target Corporation, Stras, J. Appealed from U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Arkansas.

 

 

 

Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

Debt Collectors; Harassing Behavior

Plaintiff appealed the grant of summary judgment to defendants. Plaintiff alleged that defendants harassed her in the course of attempting to collect credit card debts from her.

Where there were no material facts in dispute, the evidence demonstrated that defendants were entitled to judgment as a matter of law.

Judgment is affirmed.

22-1931 Basham v. Midland Funding LLC, per curiam. Appealed from U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Missouri.

 

Criminal Law

 

Failure to Report for Parole

Warrantless Search of Residence; Motion to Suppress

The government appealed the district court’s grant of defendant’s motion to suppress evidence. Defendant was arrested for failing to report to his parole officer. Law enforcement received a tip that defendant was staying at a residence, eventually encountering and arresting defendant in the vicinity of the residence. Officers then executed a warrantless search of the residence. The district court suppressed evidence from the search, ruling that officers did not have reasonable suspicion that defendant lived at the residence.

Where law enforcement required probable cause to believe that a parolee resided at an address, the district court correctly suppressed evidence in the case where there was insufficient evidence to corroborate the informant tip that defendant was staying at the residence searched by police since mere proximity was not enough to establish residency.

Judgment is affirmed.

21-4028 U.S. v. Thabit, Smith, J. Appealed from U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Arkansas.

 

 

Restitution

Inmate Trust Account; Covid Relief Payments

Where an inmate challenged a district court order that required him to turnover funds from his inmate trust account to meet his restitution obligation, the funds were COVID-related tax relief payments, and the district court did not err in finding that the money was a non-exempt “windfall or substantial financial injection” that could be paid toward restitution.

Judgment is affirmed.

21-2658 U.S. v. Greywind, per curiam. Appealed from U.S. District Court, District of North Dakota.

 

 

Search

Motion To Suppress; Incident To Arrest

Where a defendant challenged the denial of his motion to suppress evidence in a felon-in-possession case, the officer did not violate the Fourth Amendment by checking on the defendant and other vehicle occupant, and the officer developed reasonable suspicion for the seizure and arrest, and the search of the defendant’s person was justified as incident to arrest, and the vehicle search was justified because an officer saw a firearm in plain view.

Judgment is affirmed.

22-2413 U.S. v. Conley, per curiam. Appealed from U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Missouri.

 

 

 

Revocation of Supervised Release

Substantive Reasonableness of Sentence; Sentencing Factors

Defendant appealed the sentence imposed following the revocation of his supervised release, challenging the substantive reasonableness of the sentence.

Where the district court imposed a sentence within the Guidelines range and statutory limits, after sufficiently considering the relevant statutory sentencing factors, the court found the sentence presumptively reasonable.

Judgment is affirmed.

22-3206 U.S. v. Williams, per curiam. Appealed from U.S. District Court, Western District of Missouri.

 

 

Sentencing

Appeal Waiver

Where a defendant challenged the within-guidelines range sentence imposed after he pled guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm, the appeal waiver was enforceable, so the appeal is dismissed.

Appeal is dismissed.

22-2347 U.S. v. Jackson, per curiam. Appealed from U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Missouri.

 

Sentencing

Revocation Proceeding; Plain Error

Where a defendant challenged his revocation sentence, the court plainly erred in stating the incorrect advisory range at the revocation proceeding, but the error did not impact the fairness, integrity or public reputation of the proceedings since the sentence imposed was significantly below the range and there was no probability that the court would have imposed a lesser sentence but for the error.

Judgment is affirmed.

22-2365 U.S. v. Chandler, per curiam. Appealed from U.S. District Court, District of South Dakota.

 

 

Sentencing

Supervised Release; Guidelines Calculation

Where a defendant challenged his sentence following the revocation of his supervised release, the district court did not err in calculating the guidelines range and the defendant’s attempt to question the initial calculation was an impermissible attack on the previous conviction and sentence, and the judgment is affirmed since the sentence was not substantively unreasonable.

Judgment is affirmed.

22-1628 U.S. v. Merriweather, per curiam. Appealed from U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Missouri.

 

 

 

Violation of Supervised Release

Failure to Report; Substantive Reasonableness of Sentence

Defendant appealed the sentence imposed for his failure to report to a halfway house, in violation of the conditions of his supervised release. Defendant argued that the sentence he received was excessive.

Where the district court imposed a within-Guidelines sentence after adequately considering the statutory sentencing factors, defendant’s sentence was substantively reasonable.

Judgment is affirmed.

22-2633 U.S. v. Watson, per curiam. Appealed from U.S. District Court, Southern District of Iowa.

 

 

Voir Dire

Juror Bias; Unlawful Arrests

Where defendants challenged their convictions for the unlawful possession of firearms arguing that the district court should not have denied their motions to suppress, the court correctly denied the defendant Finley’s motion since the totality of the circumstances was sufficient to lead a reasonable officer to believe he was fleeing with the intent to avoid arrest, and the officers had probable cause to arrest the second defendant, so the convictions are affirmed, but where the court sent the voir dire pool a written questionnaire and refused to allow the defendants to see the responses, the matter is remanded for a determination of whether concealed jury bias prejudiced the second defendant.

Judgment is affirmed; remanded.

22-1014 U.S. v. Finley, Shepherd, J. Appealed from U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota, Magnuson, J.

 


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