Justia U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries

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The government appealed the district court's grant of defendant's motion to suppress evidence, a firearm in this case, found on his person incident to arrest for an unrelated crime. The court concluded that the district court did not err in finding that the officers lacked probable cause to arrest defendant for rape where the victim did not provide a positive identification of defendant sufficient to establish probable cause. The court explained that defendant lacked the essentially defining features of the victim's identification of her attacker, and the subsequently developed discrepancies were so significant that they constituted a significant obstacle to a finding of probable cause. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "United States v. Evans" on Justia Law
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Defendant appealed his conviction and sentence for firearm possession and possession of crack cocaine with intent to distribute. The court concluded that the district court did not abuse its discretion by admitting a Facebook video showing defendant holding a firearm because it was relevant and the potential prejudice did not substantially outweigh its probative value; the handling of the firearm in the video was nearly identical to the manner in which defendant would have handled the firearm found in the vehicle based on the placement of his prints; the video was not overly remote in time; defendant's use of foul language in the video and the video's caption did not make the video unfairly prejudice in light of the district court's limiting instruction; and defendant's claim that the revocation of his Extended Juvenile Jurisdiction (EJJ) for Minnesota aggravated robbery does not constitute an "adult conviction" for purposes of the career-offender enhancement was foreclosed by United States v. Nash. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "United States v. Rembert" on Justia Law
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Hanzada, an Egyptian company that imports and exports beef, appealed the jury verdict and judgment against it on plaintiff's breach of contract claim. The district court relied on the Seventh Circuit's widely adopted Sadat v. Mertes rule that only the American nationality of the dual citizen should be recognized for purposes of 28 U.S.C. 1332(a). The court concluded that the district court properly found diversity jurisdiction because plaintiff was a U.S. citizen and his Egyptian citizenship did not defeat jurisdiction. The court also concluded that the district court properly exercised personal jurisdiction over Hanzada where there was sufficient minimum contacts with Missouri for the Missouri long-arm statute to authorize personal jurisdiction. Finally, the district court properly found the statute of frauds inapplicable in this case where, under Missouri law, an oral contract for an indefinite period of time does not violate the statute of frauds. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Aly v. Hanzada for Import & Export Co." on Justia Law

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Petitioner, a citizen of Mexico, challenged the denial of his motion to reopen an order of removal in absentia when he failed to appear for a removal hearing in an immigration court. The court concluded that petitioner failed to develop an argument explaining why his failure to appear was because of exceptional circumstances within the meaning of 8 U.S.C. 1229a(b)(5)(C). Assuming for the sake of analysis that petitioner's alleged absence from the United States could be an exceptional circumstance, the court concluded that the Board reasonably determined that petitioner was in the United States when the Department filed the Notice to Appear to initiate the removal proceedings, and the Board gave reasonable weight to the fact that petitioner's counsel verified the accuracy of the address and made no objection to the immigration court's jurisdiction. View "Alvarado-Arenas v. Sessions" on Justia Law
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Defendant appealed his 110 month sentence after pleading guilty to possessing firearms as a felon. The court concluded that the record supported the district court's conclusion that defendant's prior convictions for attempted-aggravated-assault in Kansas required violent force and fell under the force clause of USSG 4B1.2(a). The court also concluded that the district court did not err by applying a four-level enhancement under USSG 2K2.1(b)(6)(B) for possession in connection with another felony, possessing marijuana. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "United States v. Price" on Justia Law
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Plaintiff filed suit against CSM, alleging civil rights violations after she was terminated. The district court granted summary judgment to CSM. The court concluded that plaintiff failed to establish the causation element of her prima facie case of retaliation and reprisal based on the attenuated temporal proximity of the decline in her work performance and the her complaints, and the lack of evidence from which a jury could infer a discriminatory motive. Therefore, the district court properly granted summary judgment to CSM on these claims. The court also concluded that the district court properly dismissed plaintiff's gender discrimination claims where plaintiff had a history of satisfactory performance and the evidence demonstrated that her supervisors and coworkers had on numerous occasions informed her of perceived deficiencies in her work. Finally, the court concluded that the district court properly granted summary judgment to CSM on plaintiff's hostile work environment claim where she failed prove that the comments at issue were so objectively and subjectively offensive that they altered the terms and conditions of her employment. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Liles v. C.S. McCrossan, Inc." on Justia Law

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Defendant appealed his sentence after pleading guilty to unlawful possession of a firearm as a previously convicted felon. The court held that United States v. Pulliam is controlling law and rejected defendant's argument to the contrary. In Pulliam, this court held that a conviction for unlawful use of a firearm under Mo. Rev. Stat. 571.030 is a "violent felony" under the force clause of USSG 4B1.2(a)(1) for purposes of the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA), 18 U.S.C. 924(e). Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "United States v. Hudson" on Justia Law
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Omega filed suit against Mayo, alleging claims of fraud, negligent misrepresentation, breach of contract, and breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing. The parties had entered into an Exclusive Patent License Agreement in which Omega, a start-up company, agreed to, among other things, pursue Mayo's pending patent application. After the patent application was abandoned when the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office denied an elected group of claims as anticipated by prior art, Omega alleged damages because it relied on Mayo's pre-Agreement false representations. The court concluded that the Agreement and the patent application file squarely contradict Omega's general, conclusory allegation of reasonable reliance. Therefore, the district court properly dismissed these claims grounded in fraud for failure to state plausible claims of reasonable reliance. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "OmegaGenesis Corp. v. Mayo Foundation" on Justia Law
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After Kelly D. Williams died when her car was hit by Dylan A. Meyer's vehicle, her parents submitted a claim for underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage. AMCO filed suit seeking a declaration of no coverage under Kelly's auto policy, and the district court granted summary judgment for AMCO. Under Missouri law, the court applied the general rules of contract construction when interpreting the policy. In this case, the court concluded that, because the bodily-injury liability for Meyer's vehicle was greater than the policy's UIM liability limit, Meyer's vehicle was not an "underinsured motor vehicle." The court rejected plaintiffs' claims that the policy was ambiguous and concluded that the district court did not err in finding the policy was neither ambiguous nor misleading. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "AMCO Insurance v. Williams" on Justia Law
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Defendant appealed his 98 month sentence after pleading guilty to one count of possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance and two counts of distribution of a controlled substance. The court concluded that the district court did not abuse its discretion by giving more weight to defendant's criminal history than to the drug quantity in his charge; the district court did not give significant weight to an improper factor and the court rejected defendant's contention that it improperly weighed the unsubstantiated assertion that he got a "rush" from selling drugs; and the district court did not abuse its discretion in its final determination of defendant's sentence where the sentence was necessary to achieve the statutory aims of federal criminal punishment, which include deterrence. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "United States v. Boykin" on Justia Law
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