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

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The Eighth Circuit denied a petition challenging the BIA's denial of petitioner's motion to reopen. The Board denied petitioner's motion as untimely because it was filed more than 90 days after the Board had issued a final administrative decision. The court concluded that petitioner's claims for discretionary relief fail because petitioner does not have a constitutionally protected interest in receiving a second try at a cancellation-of-removal proceeding. Furthermore, because petitioner had no protected interest in a second proceeding, her Fifth Amendment due process challenge to the BIA's decision to deny her motion to reopen failed. Finally, the court concluded that the BIA did not abuse its discretion in denying the motion based on its determination that the new evidence petitioner submitted was not new or material. View "White v. Wilkinson" on Justia Law

Posted in: Immigration Law
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Lopez worked for Whirlpool under the supervision of Gralund. Various people, including Gralund and Penning, assigned Lopez to fill in areas of the line. Penning was not a supervisor. Lopez alleges that Penning began touching her in inappropriate ways. She asked him to “back off.” There were more incidents of touching but Lopez did not report them to HR, any supervisor, or her union. Lopez later testified that she “[made] it clear to [Gralund].” Lopez and Penning subsequently had two disputes about how Lopez was to perform her job. Lopez then made her first written complaint, which noted incidents involving her working conditions but did not mention Penning’s harassment. Lopez later reported “that [she] felt like [Penning] was retaliating” by hovering and staring at her. Lopez resigned four days later, apparently without mentioning “Penning” or “harassment” in her voicemail.Lopez sued for sex discrimination and retaliation under Title VII and the Iowa Civil Rights Act. During discovery, Whirlpool spent time and money on multiple depositions that never occurred. Whirlpool invoked 28 U.S.C. 1927; the magistrate imposed a $2,000 sanction against Lopez’s counsel. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the sanction order and the subsequent entry of summary judgment in favor of Whirlpool. Lopez failed to raise a triable fact on what Whirlpool knew or should have known about Penning’s conduct; she never gave Whirlpool an opportunity to take corrective action. View "Lopez v. Whirlpool Corp." on Justia Law

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Henin began working Canadian Pacific (CP) in 2003. CP terminated Henin’s employment in 2015, citing rule violations. Henin filed a complaint with the Department of Labor, alleging violation of the Federal Railroad Safety Act. After investigating, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration dismissed Henin’s complaint in a Decision, dated January 11, 2019. Henin received the Decision on January 22. On January 28, Henin filed with the Administrative Review Board a petition for review. On February 5, the Clerk issued a notice indicating acceptance of Henin’s petition. On February 26, the Board dismissed Henin’s petition as untimely. In his motion for reconsideration, Henin explained that he did not receive the Decision until 11 days after its issuance; that before the Decision, there had been no case activity since 2017; and that between December 22, 2018, and January 25, 2019, the federal government experienced a “shutdown.”The Board reinstated Henin’s claim as timely but immediately dismissed it, citing a complaint that Henin filed in federal court under 49 U.S.C. 20109(d)(3), which grants federal district courts jurisdiction to review employee claims de novo if, like here, the Secretary of Labor does not issue a “final” decision within 210 days of the complaint’s filing date. The Eighth Circuit denied CP’s petition for review. The Board properly granted reconsideration and appropriately utilized its equitable powers to control its own docket and to recognize the record’s incongruities and the 11-day delay in service. View "Soo Line Railroad Co. v. Administrative Review Board United States Department of Labor" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed Defendants Wortham and Williams' conviction for carjacking, distributing PCP, and possessing a short-barreled shotgun in furtherance of those offenses. The court concluded that defendants waived any arguments they may have had regarding the jury instructions. In this case, they and the government jointly proposed the instruction at issue and the district court did not modify the part of the instruction that defendants now complain about. The court also concluded that the evidence was sufficient to support Wortham's convictions for aiding and abetting carjacking and distributing PCP. View "United States v. Wortham" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law
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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of defendant's motion for a sentence reduction under 18 U.S.C. 3582(c)(2). The court concluded that the district court correctly determined that defendant's 2019 motion for a sentence reduction under Guidelines Amendment 782 was untimely under Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 4(b); the Government did not forfeit its right to invoke Rule 4(b) as a time bar to defendant's 2019 motion; and the district court did not violate Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 57(b) by enforcing Rule 4(b) against defendant's 2019 motion. View "United States v. Mofle" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law
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The Eighth Circuit affirmed defendant's conviction for distribution of a controlled substance resulting in serious bodily injury and conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance. The court concluded that the evidence was sufficient to support defendant's convictions; the district court did not abuse its discretion in admitting evidence of defendant's prior drug transactions under Federal Rule of Evidence 404(b); the district court committed harmless error by admitting evidence of a prior overdose resulting from his distribution; and the district court did not abuse its discretion by admitting evidence of his prior felony conviction for aggravated assault under Federal Rule of Evidence 609. View "United States v. Cooper" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law
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The Eighth Circuit affirmed defendant's conviction for attempted enticement of a minor using the internet, holding that the evidence was sufficient to support his conviction. The court also held that there was more than sufficient evidence that the jury could have relied upon in finding that defendant responded promptly to the opportunity to solicit a minor and was, therefore, not entrapped by the government. View "United States v. Zupnik" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law
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Defendant was convicted of attempted commercial sex trafficking of a minor and sentenced to 120 months' imprisonment. The district court also imposed a $5,000 special assessment.The Eighth Circuit concluded that defendant did not raise his objection to the indictment in the district court proceedings and had failed to demonstrate good cause for his failure to timely object to the indictment. Even if he could show good cause, the court would review his argument under the same plain error standard with which the court reviewed his challenge to the jury instructions. In this case, defendant failed to show the district court obviously erred by applying the reckless-disregard standard. The court held that it was proper to use the reckless-disregard standard because defendant was convicted for attempting to recruit, entice, obtain, patronize, or solicit a minor for a commercial act. The court also held that the district court did not err by using the label "sex trafficking" when describing the charged crime to the jury in Instruction No. 4. Finally, the $5,000 special assessment was properly imposed where defendant failed to show he had the inability to pay the assessment. View "United States v. Zam Mung" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law
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The Eighth Circuit reversed the district court's order dismissing an indictment charging defendant with illegal reentry to the United States. The court concluded that the district court erred in ruling that defendant made a sufficient showing to attack the deportation order that underlies the charge in this criminal case. In this case, defendant may not challenge in this criminal case the validity of the immigration court’s underlying deportation order from 1998. Accordingly, the court remanded for further proceedings. View "United States v. Leal-Monroy" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law
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The Eighth Circuit affirmed defendant's 192 month sentence imposed after he pleaded guilty to one count of possession of methamphetamine with the intent to distribute. The court concluded that defendant's sentence was substantively reasonable where the district court varied downward after engaging in a measured and thoughtful discussion of the Guidelines and their applicability to defendant's offense and personal circumstances. The court also concluded that, while a district court may choose to deviate from the Guidelines because of a policy disagreement, it is not required to do so. Therefore, the district court did not abuse its discretion in sentencing defendant. View "United States v. Wickman" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law