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8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Digest: May 31, 2023

Minnesota Lawyer//June 1, 2023

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8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Digest: May 31, 2023

Minnesota Lawyer//June 1, 2023

Administrative

 

SSD/SSI

Sufficiency of Evidence; Deference to Treating Physician

Plaintiff appealed the denial of her application for Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income benefits, challenging the sufficiency of the evidence.

Where there was no error in excluding impairments closely related to other severe impairments identified by the ALJ, the ALJ properly declined to address a state Medicaid report and was not required under current regulations to defer to plaintiff’s treating physician’s opinion.

Judgment is affirmed.

Porter v. Kijakazi (MLW No. 79958/Case No. 22-3270 – 3 pages) (U.S. Court of Appeals, 8th Circuit, per curiam) Appealed from U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Arkansas, Wilson, J.

 

 

Civil Practice

 

Dismissal

Failure to Prosecute; Abuse of Discretion

Plaintiff appealed the dismissal of his case.

There was no abuse of discretion by the district court in dismissing the action due to plaintiff’s failure to prosecute.

Judgment is affirmed.

Azure v. Stordahl (MLW No. 79959/Case No. 22-2946 – 2 pages) (U.S. Court of Appeals, 8th Circuit, per curiam) Appealed from U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota, Brasel, J.

 

Consumer Law

 

Deceptive Marketing Practices

CAFA; Motion to Remand

Defendant appealed the grant of plaintiff’s motion to remand the case to state court. Plaintiff filed a class action suit against defendant in Missouri state court, alleging that defendant engaged in deceptive and misleading marketing practices by selling cough suppressants with dextromethorphan hydrobromide with a “non-drowsy” label. After defendant removed the case to federal court, plaintiff moved to remand, which the district court granted after finding defendant had failed to show that the case met the Class Action Fairness Act’s amount-in-controversy requirement.

Where defendant could be liable to refund customers who bought DXM cough suppressants with “non-drowsy” labels, defendant met the CAFA amount-in-controversy requirement by declaring it had made over $5 million in sales of products, and defendant could also be liable for legal fees up to 40 percent of compensatory damages.

Judgment is reversed.

Brunts v. Walmart, Inc. (MLW No. 79955/Case No. 23-1381 – 5 pages) (U.S. Court of Appeals, 8th Circuit, Melloy, J.) Appealed from U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Missouri, Sippel, J.

 

 

Criminal Law

 

Failure to Register as a Sex Offender

Violation of Supervised Release; Substantive Reasonableness of Sentence

Defendant appealed the top-of-the-Guidelines sentence imposed following the third revocation of his supervised release following a conviction for failure to register as a sex offender. Defendant challenged the substantive reasonableness of his revocation sentence, arguing that the district court failed to properly weigh the mitigating circumstances of his age, health problems, and chronic homelessness.

Where the district court considered defendant’s mitigating circumstances and weighed them against his repeated violations of his supervised release, there was no abuse of sentencing discretion to sentence defendant at the top of the range.

Judgment is affirmed.

U.S. v. Bald Eagle (MLW No. 79953/Case No. 22-3630 – 3 pages) (U.S. Court of Appeals, 8th Circuit, per curiam) Appealed from U.S. District Court, District of South Dakota, Schreier, J.

 

 

 

Felon in Possession of Firearm

Denial of Time Served; Appeal Waiver

Defendant appealed the sentence imposed following his guilty plea to being a felon in possession of a firearm, pursuant to a plea agreement that contained an appeal waiver that excepted only claims of lack of jurisdiction, prosecutorial misconduct, and substantively unreasonable sentence above the Guidelines range. On appeal, defendant argued that the district court erred in not reducing his sentence for time served in state custody and by imposing an upward variance.

Although defendant’s challenge to the denial of time served was foreclosed by his appeal waiver, the imposition of an upward variance was not, but the variance was not an abuse of discretion where the district court cited defendant’s long criminal history that included multiple violent offenses.

Appeal is dismissed in part, judgment is otherwise affirmed.

U.S. v. Tucker (MLW No. 79956/Case No. 22-2024 –5 pages) (U.S. Court of Appeals, 8th Circuit, per curiam) Appealed from U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Arkansas, Moody, J.

 

 

 

Firearms Offense

Appeal Waiver; Challenge to Sentence

Defendant appealed the sentence imposed following his guilty plea to a firearms offense pursuant to a plea agreement that contained an appeal waiver.

Where defendant’s sentencing challenge fell within the scope of his appeal waiver, the court dismissed the appeal.

Appeal is dismissed.

U.S. v. Thompson (MLW No. 79954/Case No. 23-1075 – 2 pages) (U.S. Court of Appeals, 8th Circuit, per curiam) Appealed from U.S. District Court, Western District of Missouri, Kays, J.

 

 

 

Possession with Intent to Distribute

Motion for Judgment of Acquittal; Sufficiency of Evidence

Defendant appealed the denial of his motion for judgment of acquittal and his conviction for knowingly possessing a substance containing methamphetamine with intent to distribute. Defendant argued that the evidence was insufficient to prove that he knew that meth was inside his rental car, claiming that the meth was concealed in the car before he rented it.

Where the government presented other evidence seized from defendant consistent with drug trafficking activity, the jury could infer that defendant knew that there was meth in the rental car as it could reject defendant’s assertion that another individual had concealed the drugs but then returned the vehicle to the rental car company without removing them.

Judgment is affirmed.

U.S. v. Young (MLW No. 79957/Case No. 22-2896 – 6 pages) (U.S. Court of Appeals, 8th Circuit, Benton, J.) Appealed from U.S. District Court, Western District of Missouri, Harpool, J.

 

 

Seaman’s Manslaughter

Admiralty Jurisdiction; Duck Boat Accident

Where the government challenged the dismissal of an indictment for seaman’s manslaughter and operating a vessel in a grossly negligent manner, brought against the captain of a duck boat and the managers of the duck boat company after the boat sank during a storm killing 17 people, the indictment alleged only admiralty jurisdiction, and the district court’s admiralty jurisdiction did not extend to crimes occurring on the lake at issue because the lake was not “navigable” under circuit precedent.

Judgment is affirmed.

U.S. v. McKee (MLW No. 79970/Case No. 20-3671 – 19 pages) (U.S. Court of Appeals, 8th Circuit, Kelly, J.) Appealed from U.S. District Court, Western District of Missouri, Harpool, J.

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