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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's order remanding a putative class action, alleging that Ferrara engaged in false, deceptive, and misleading conduct by selling substantially under-filled boxes of Red Hot candies, back to state court. The court held that, even if plaintiffs prevailed in this case, they will be entitled to monetary relief and attorney's fees well below $5 million, regardless of whether the monetary relief comes in the form of compensatory damages, restitution, or disgorgement. Furthermore, Ferrara's affidavits were insufficient to quantify, beyond mere speculation, the costs it would incur in complying with an award of injunctive relief in this case. View "Waters v. Ferrara Candy Co." on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of defendant's motion to suppress evidence obtained during a police encounter that occurred more than four years before he was indicted for misusing a social security number. The court held that the district court did not clearly err in finding that defendant's roommate's consent to enter the apartment was voluntary; the fact that the roommate was under arrest and had not received a Miranda warning did not render the consent involuntary; and agents had reasonable suspicion to believe that defendant was in the country illegally and to seize him by adjuring him to sit in the living room for questioning. View "United States v. Cobo-Cobo" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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Plaintiffs filed suit against defendants, challenging the management of a defined benefit pension plan under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), 29 U.S.C. 1001 et seq. Plaintiffs alleged that defendants violated sections 404, 405, and 406 of ERISA by breaching their fiduciary obligations and causing the Plan to engage in prohibited transactions with a U.S. Bank subsidiary, FAF Advisors. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of the case as moot based on the Plan's overfunded status where there was no actual or imminent injury to the Plan itself that caused injury to plaintiffs' interests; dismissal of the Equities Strategy claim on statute-of-limitations and pleading grounds; and dismissal of plaintiffs' motion for attorneys' fees and costs. View "Thole v. U.S. Bank" on Justia Law

Posted in: ERISA

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed defendant's 188 month sentence after he pleaded guilty to possessing heroin with intent to distribute. The court held that defendant was a career offender under USSG 4B1.1 because his prior conviction for first degree assault in Missouri was a crime of violence. View "United States v. Minnis" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed defendant's sentence of 121 months in prison after he pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. The court held that defendant's sentence was substantively reasonable where the district court considered the mitigating factors, but gave them little weight relative to the other 18 U.S.C. 3553(a) factors. Furthermore, the district court also did not commit a clear error of judgment in weighing the section 3553(a) factors. In this case, the district court did not clearly err by giving great weight to defendant's extensive history of criminal conduct, or by giving little weight to her history of drug addiction and the fact that her previous offenses were all misdemeanors. View "United States v. Ballard" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed defendant's sentence of five years probation including six months confinement and order of restitution to the Social Security Administration. Defendant pleaded guilty to theft of United States property for knowingly receiving four Social Security disability benefits to which he was not entitled, and the district court applied a six-level sentencing enhancement under 2B1.1(b)(1)(D). The court held that the district court did not err by denying defendant's motion for leave to file his untimely objections. Furthermore, the motion was futile because he failed to object with specificity and clarity to fact statements in the presentencing report; overpayments began when he became capable of substantial gainful activity, regardless of when he began earning income; and had the district court allowed defendant to raise an untimely objection to the amount of loss, the government could have presented evidence addressing when he was able to engage in substantial gainful activity, when he intended to begin receiving benefits he did not deserve, and how long he intended those benefit thefts to continue. View "United States v. Dokes" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Eighth Circuit vacated defendant's sentence after he was convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm. The court held that defendant's prior conviction for burglary under the Illinois statute used a broader definition of "building" than Taylor v. United States, 495 U.S. 575 (1990), and thus defendant's conviction did not qualify as a predicate offense under the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA), 18 U.S.C. 924(e). Accordingly, the court remanded for resentencing. View "United States v. Byas" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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Southern petitioned for review of the Board's decision ordering the company to bargain with the union. The Eighth Circuit held that substantial evidence supported the Board's determination that Southern violated section 8(a)(1) of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) by making a number of unlawful campaign statements that threatened plant closure; by making promises of benefits to employees who voted to decertify the union; by promulgating an unlawful reporting rule; by creating the impression that protected activities were under surveillance; and by unlawfully interrogating employees. However, the Board erred by determining that Southern violated section 8(a)(1) by communicating to employees that continued unionization was futile; by disparaging the union; and by threats of discipline, job loss, and other reprisals. The court also held that the evidence was sufficient to support the Board's determination that Southern violated section 8(a)(3) because the company was motivated by anti union animus, and Southern did not prove otherwise. The Board did not err in determining that the company violated sections 8(a)(5) and (1) by unilaterally restricting union meetings to a cubicle because the union's meeting space was a subject of mandatory bargaining. Finally, there was sufficient evidence to support the Board's findings that the 2012 petition was tainted by the company's unfair labor practices. View "Southern Bakeries, LLC v. NLRB" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed a putative class action, alleging that State Farm's practice of deducting "labor depreciation" from estimated replacement cost in determining actual cash value breached the insurance contract. The Eighth Circuit reversed the district court's denial of State Farm's motion to dismiss and certify a class. Although the court did not rule out the possibility that State Farm's use of the estimating methodology tool would produce an unreasonable estimate of the actual cash value of some partial losses, this issue may only be determined based on all the facts surrounding a particular insured's partial loss. Therefore, there were no predominant common facts at issue. Furthermore, the district court's order upholding premature classwide discovery was vacated. The court remanded with directions to dismiss the complaint and held that State Farm's petition for writ of mandamus was moot. View "In Re: State Farm Fire & Casualty Co." on Justia Law

Posted in: Insurance Law

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The Bankruptcy Appellate Panel affirmed the bankruptcy court's order holding that CRP holds a judicial lien against the real property of debtor and avoiding that lien under Bankruptcy Code 522(f)(1). The panel held that CRP's recording of its judgment fastened an existing, but presently unenforceable lien on the property. Furthermore, the fact that an unenforceable lien exists was buttressed by CRP's belief that upon the death of debtor's wife, it will have an enforceable lien that will survive the bankruptcy. View "CRP Holdings v. O'Sullivan" on Justia Law

Posted in: Bankruptcy