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Plaintiff, by his parent and legal guardian, filed suit against the United States for negligence and negligent supervision, alleging that the Government knew or should have known of the sexual abuse history of a priest that was hired at the Tripler Army Medical Center, and that the Government was negligent in failing to warn families of the priest's sexual propensities. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of the action based on lack of subject matter jurisdiction because the United States was entitled to sovereign immunity. The court held that the decision whether to warn of the priest's sexual propensities or to take other action to restrict his contact with children was susceptible to policy analysis. The court explained that balancing safety, reputational interests, and confidentiality was the kind of determination the discretionary function exception was designed to shield and thus the Government's conduct was within the discretionary function exception. View "Croyle v. United States" on Justia Law

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The Bankruptcy Appellate Panel vacated the bankruptcy court's order allowing Lariat's claim against debtor in the reduced amount of $308,805.00. The panel held that Lariat's predicate claim had been satisfied and Lariat cannot recover any additional amount from debtor's spouse. In this case, there were no preexisting creditor rights left for MINN. STAT. 513.41-513.51 to protect. Therefore, the panel remanded for entry of an order disallowing Lariat's claim in its entirety. View "Lariat Companies, Inc. v. Wigley" on Justia Law

Posted in: Bankruptcy

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's entry of judgment for the insured in a dispute over property coverage of a building that was destroyed by fire. The court held that the district court correctly entered judgment for the insured on the bad faith claim where Met could not prove misrepresentation or deception by the insured, or any reliance thereupon by Met. The court also held that the district court properly calculated the economic damages the insured suffered as a result of Met's bad faith refusal to pay pursuant to the provisions of the improperly rescinded contract. Furthermore, the district court did not abuse its discretion in awarding reasonable attorney fees. View "Hayes v. Metropolitan Property & Casualty Insurance" on Justia Law

Posted in: Insurance Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for Saint Luke's in an employment discrimination action. The court held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying defendant's motion to reconsider under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b)(1). The court explained that, although defendant's delay was brief, Saint Luke's made no claim of prejudice and defendant did not act in bad faith, such factors did not outweigh defendant's carelessness or mistake in construing the rules and the absence of any apparent meritorious defense. Furthermore, there were no exceptional circumstances in this case that warranted relief under Rule 60(b)(6). View "Giles v. St Luke's Northland-Smithville" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of petitioner's motion under 28 U.S.C. 2255 to vacate his sentence for bank fraud and aggravated identity theft. The court held that, even assuming petitioner's allegations were true, he failed to state a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel. In this case, to the extent that petitioner argued defense counsel was constitutionally ineffective for failing to advise him to testify truthfully, the oath he swore provided him with sufficient notice of this basic obligation. Furthermore, to the extent petitioner challenged defense counsel's failure to warn him about all the possible consequences of his decision to testify, his argument failed because defense counsel did not need to warn him of the speculative risk that false testimony would lead to the unusual chain of events that occurred here. Finally, the plea agreement established that defense counsel's concession of the amount of loss at sentencing was objectively reasonable under the circumstances. View "Adejumo v. United States" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed defendant's sentence after she pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. The court held that the district court did not clearly err by imposing a two-level enhancement under USSG 2D1.1(b)(2) for making a credible threat to use violence against cooperating codefendants. In this case, defendant paid a coconspirator to carry out assaults and demanded her money back when the assaults did not take place, stating that she would find someone else to do the job. View "United States v. Lewis-Zubkin" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed defendant's conviction for conspiracy to commit, and use of a facility of interstate commerce in the commission of, murder for hire. The court held that the district court did not err by declining to instruct the jury on entrapment because there was insufficient evidence to raise a jury question that defendant was induced by a government agent. Therefore, the court need not consider whether defendant was predisposed to commit the crime of which he was convicted. View "United States v. Clarett" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Eighth Circuit enforced an appeal waiver as to a criminal history challenge and vacated a restitution award. In this case, defendant stole a car at gunpoint, killed the dog that was inside the vehicle, and caused a multi-vehicle traffic accident. The court held that defendant's appeal waiver was valid and should be enforced as to his challenge to his criminal history score, because the record demonstrated that defendant entered into the plea agreement and the appeal waiver knowingly and voluntarily; the argument fell within the scope of the waiver; and no miscarriage of justice would result from enforcing the waiver. However, the court held that defendant's challenge to the ordered restitution fell outside the scope of the appeal waiver; the restitution amount for chiropractic care for one of the victims was not supported by evidence because it was based on an estimate, not the actual loss caused by the injury; as to restitution for the death of the dog, it was properly based on the provisions of the Mandatory Victims Restitution Act addressing lost or destroyed property; and there were no other non-frivolous issues for appeal outside the scope of the waiver. View "United States v. Bagley" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed defendant's conviction and sentence for four offenses arising out of a bank robbery. The court held that the affidavit in support of search warrant was sufficient to establish probable cause to believe that he was the bank robber and that evidence would be found in his motel rooms; the district court did not plainly err in treating defendant's numerous letters to the court as complaints about his lack of access to the evidence rather than as motions for the appointment of new counsel; the district court did not plainly err by admitting an in-court identification by the driver of the van defendant attempted to carjack; the district court did not err by ruling that defendant forfeited his right to testify where defendant persisted in his view that he had the right to make irrelevant and highly inflammatory comments, despite multiple warnings that continuing to do so would cost him his right to testify; and the district court did not err in imposing a two-level enhancement for obstruction of justice. View "United States v. Evans" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Eighth Circuit reversed defendant's sentence after he pleaded guilty to one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm. The court held that defendant's prior second-degree domestic assault conviction in Missouri state court was not a crime of violence under the United States Sentencing Guidelines because the statute criminalizes reckless driving, which does not require physical force and thus does not satisfy the force clause. Therefore, the court remanded for resentencing. View "United States v. Harris" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law