Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Recent News
Home / Opinions / 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals / 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Digest: Jan. 18, 2023
8th Circuit seal

8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Digest: Jan. 18, 2023

Civil Rights

 

§1983

Excessive Force; Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies

Plaintiff appealed the dismissal of his §1983 action. Plaintiff alleged that defendants violated his due process rights during his pretrial detention by using excessive force that included placing plaintiff in a restraint chair for several hours in response to his passive resistance to officer commands during an incident. The district court dismissed the action, finding that plaintiff had failed to exhaust his administrative remedies. The district court discredited plaintiff’s allegation that prison officials failed to deliver or destroyed his written grievances, finding the allegations contradicted by his deposition testimony.

Where the court had no basis to disturb the district court’s credibility determinations, there was sufficient evidence for the district court to conclude that plaintiff had not exhausted his administrative remedies.

Judgment is affirmed.

22-2764 Walther v. Habtermariam, per curiam. Appealed from U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Missouri.

 

Consumer Law

 

Newspaper Subscription

Double-Billing; Standing

Plaintiff appealed the dismissal of his putative class action. Plaintiff sued defendants, the owner and publisher of a daily newspaper for which plaintiff had a home-delivery subscription. Plaintiff alleged that defendants double-billed him for overlapping days on consecutive subscription invoices. Defendants moved for summary judgment, arguing that plaintiff could not show loss because he paid less than the value of the newspapers he received and that the evidence showed plaintiff never paid twice for any issue of the newspaper. The district court agreed and granted defendants’ motion.

Where defendants’ uncontroverted statement of material facts demonstrated that plaintiff could not show an ascertainable loss due to defendants’ alleged improper billing practices, the district court correctly concluded that there were no genuine issues of material fact on plaintiff’s breach of contract claims.

Judgment is affirmed.

21-3927 Goldsmith v. Lee Enterprises, Inc., Loken, J. Appealed from U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Missouri.

 

 

Criminal Law

 

Conspiracy to Distribute Drugs

Appeal Waiver; Reasonableness of Sentence

Defendant appealed the sentence imposed after he pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute a mixture or substance containing methamphetamine. As part of his plea deal, defendant agreed to waive his rights to appeal his conviction and sentence. However, defendant appealed the reasonableness of his sentence, arguing that the district court erred in applying the Sentencing Guidelines despite their disparate treatment of methamphetamine offenders and in treating the Guidelines as mandatory.

Although part of defendant’s appeal did not fall within the scope of the waiver because he raised a constitutional challenge by asserting an equal protection argument, the court found no precedent holding the Guidelines unconstitutional due to their alleged disparate treatment of certain drug offenders.

Judgment is affirmed in part and dismissed in part.

21-3863 U.S. v. Lugo-Barcenas, Arnold, J. Appealed from U.S. District Court, Western District of Missouri.

 

 

Conversion

Bankruptcy Fraud; Ineffective Assistance of Counsel

Defendant appealed her guilty plea conviction for conversion and bankruptcy fraud, asserting that her prior counsel provided ineffective assistance during post-plea proceedings.

Where the record did not contain sufficient evidence to entitle defendant to relief, the court affirmed defendant’s conviction.

Judgment is affirmed.

22-2014 U.S. v. Rosenbaum, per curiam. Appealed from U.S. District Court, Northern District of Iowa.

 

 

Felon in Possession of Ammunition

Base Offense Level; Cross-Referencing Different Offense

Defendant appealed the judgment of sentence imposed after he pled guilty to being a felon in possession of ammunition, found after defendant shot Tremain Rogers in a convenience store. On appeal, defendant argued that the district court erred by cross-referencing to the base offense level for attempted first-degree murder, claiming that he shot Rogers in self-defense and therefore lacked the required mens rea for homicide.

Where the evidence demonstrated that defendant made swift but deliberate actions to shoot Rogers and that Rogers appeared to pose no threat to defendant, the district court did not err in cross-referencing the base offense level for attempted murder, and any error would be harmless because the district court would have imposed the same sentence regardless of how the guidelines were scored.

Judgment is affirmed.

21-3757 U.S. v. Greer, Loken, J. Appealed from U.S. District Court, Southern District of Iowa.

 

 

 

Felon in Possession of Firearm

Admission of Evidence; Plain Error

Defendant appealed his conviction for being a felon in possession of a firearm, arguing that the district court committed plain error by admitting evidence found during a traffic stop. Officers stopped defendant’s vehicle for having stolen plates and saw a firearm in plain view. Knowing defendant was a felon, officers placed defendant in custody and searched the vehicle, including the locked trunk.

Where defendant failed to demonstrate good cause for his failure to file a suppression motion and where police were entitled to search the vehicle’s trunk with probable cause to believe that contraband or evidence of a crime could be found in the trunk, the court found no error with the admission of evidence found in the search.

Judgment is affirmed.

22-1107 U.S. v. Taylor, per curiam. Appealed from U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Missouri.

 

 

Guilty Plea

Motion To Withdraw

Where a defendant challenged the denial of his motion to withdraw his guilty plea, the district court did not abuse its discretion by denying the motion because he failed to show that the plea was not knowing and voluntary, and he did not establish a fair and just reason for withdrawal.

Judgment is affirmed.

22-2450 U.S. v. Longie, per curiam. Appealed from U.S. District Court, District of North Dakota.

 

 

Possession with Intent to Distribute

Career Offender Designation; Controlled Substance Offenses

Defendant appealed the sentence imposed after he pled guilty to possession with intent to distribute. Defendant had two convictions in Missouri for distribution of hemp. The district court concluded that the convictions qualified as predicate offenses that made defendant eligible for designation as a career offender. On appeal, defendant argued that Missouri’s removal of hemp from the controlled substances list should disqualify his convictions as predicate offenses.

Where the court was not permitted to look to current state law to define a previous offense, the district court correctly considered defendant’s prior convictions as predicate offenses for a career offender designation.

Judgment is affirmed.

22-1119 U.S. v. Tate, per curiam. Appealed from U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Missouri.

 

 

Restitution

Waiver; Wire Fraud

Where a defendant challenged the restitution amount following a plea agreement in a wire fraud case, the defendant waived his argument by withdrawing his previous objections and agreeing to the amount ordered by the district court.

Judgment is affirmed.

21-3781 U.S. v. Murphy, per curiam. Appealed from U.S. District Court, Northern District of Iowa.

 

 

 

Sentencing

Substantive Reasonableness

Where a defendant challenged the sentence imposed after he pled guilty in a drug case, the district court did not impose a substantively unreasonable sentence.

Judgment is affirmed.

22-3027 U.S. v. Green, per curiam. Appealed from U.S. District Court, Western District of Arkansas.

 

 

 

Sentencing
Supervised Release; Treatment Alternative

Where a defendant appealed the revocation of his supervised release, the district court did not err, and the court sufficiently considered the treatment alternative, so the judgment is affirmed.

Judgment is affirmed.

22-2691 U.S. v. Haney, per curiam. Appealed from U.S. District Court, Western District of Arkansas.

 

 

Torts

 

Motor Vehicle Accident

FTCA; Sovereign Immunity

Plaintiff appealed the dismissal of his lawsuit against the government. An employee of the Rosebud Comprehensive Healthcare Facility suffered a seizure while driving to the facility after his lunch break and struck plaintiff. The employee had previously suffered seizures and was instructed by his doctor not to drive until he was seizure-free for at least six months, although the doctor cleared the employee to drive four months later. The district court dismissed the case, ruling that the employee was not acting within the scope of his employment, that the discretionary function exception applied to claims against the employee’s supervisor, and that the employee’s doctor was not a federal employee.

Where the decision to allow the employee to resume driving or to not prohibit the employee from driving involved a judgment call or discretionary action, the district court correctly applied the discretionary function exception to the FTCA to find that the government’s sovereign immunity barred plaintiff’s claims.

Judgment is affirmed.

22-1683 Two Eagle v. U.S., Buescher, J. Appealed from U.S. District Court, District of South Dakota.


Leave a Reply