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

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Whether a conviction for a particular state offense qualifies as a basis for removability as an aggravated felony under 8 U.S.C. 1227(a)(2)(A)(iii) is a question of law under de novo review. The Eighth Circuit denied a petition for review of the BIA's final order of removal. The BIA granted DHS's appeal of an IJ's order granting petitioner deferral of removal under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). The Eighth Circuit held that defendant's conviction for willful injury causing bodily harm was a crime of violence in satisfaction of 18 U.S.C. 16(a) and a valid basis for removal under 8 U.S.C. 1227(a)(2)(A)(iii) because it was impossible to cause bodily injury without applying the force necessary to cause the injury. The court held that the BIA conducted a logical, clear error analysis and reached a permissible conclusion. View "Jima v. Barr" on Justia Law

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After defendant pleaded guilty to two Iowa felonies in September 2016, but before his sentencing, he possessed two firearms. A grand jury returned an indictment charging defendant with being a felon in possession of a firearm. The district court determined that defendant's guilty plea constituted a conviction under Iowa law and found him guilty of being a felon in possession of a firearm. The Eighth Circuit agreed with the district court's conclusion that defendant's guilty pleas constituted convictions under Iowa law. Under Rehaif v. United States, 139 S. Ct. 2191 (2019), the court held that the Government did not prove that defendant knew he had been convicted of a felony at the time he possessed the firearms. Therefore, in light of Rehaif, the court vacated defendant's conviction and remanded for a new trial. View "United States v. Davies" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law
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A driver who causes an accident on a highway is not liable for a second one occurring in the traffic backup that follows. The Eighth Circuit applied Missouri law and held that the backup along the interstate did not lead the driver in the second accident to drive too fast or limit his ability to see the traffic ahead. Nor was it foreseeable that another accident would occur under these circumstances—eight-or-more minutes later in a spot nearly half a mile back—when every driver before the driver in the second accident had managed to stop. In this case, the court held that the causal chain stops with the driver in the second accident, not the driver in the first accident. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment to the driver in the first accident. View "Simler v. Dubuque Paint Equipment Services, Inc." on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury
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CitiMortgage filed suit against Equity, demanding that Equity repurchase 12 residential mortgage loans. CitiMortgage had notified Equity that it needed to take action under the cure-or-purchase provision in the parties' Agreement. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the magistrate judge's ruling that Equity's duty to repurchase was limited to the six loans that had not gone through foreclosure. In regard to the loans that had not gone through foreclosure, the court affirmed the district court's holding that Equity breached the Agreement. The court rejected Equity's claims that CitiMortgage's letters lacked the necessary detail to trigger its duty to perform and that CitiMortgage waited too long to exercise its rights. In regard to the six loans that had gone through foreclosure, the court affirmed the district court's holding that Equity owed nothing to CitiMortgage. In this case, CitiMortgage has not explained what, exactly, Equity was supposed to repurchase. View "CitiMortgage, Inc. v. Equity Bank, N.A." on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs filed suit challenging an Arkansas anti-loitering law that bans begging in a manner that is harassing, causes alarm, or impedes traffic. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of a statewide preliminary injunction preventing Arkansas from enforcing the ban while plaintiffs pursue their claim that the law violates the First Amendment. The court held that plaintiffs had standing to seek a preliminary injunction where plaintiff's chilled speech amounted to a constitutional injury, the injury was fairly traceable to the potential enforcement of the anti-loitering law, and the injury would be redressable by an injunction. The court held that plaintiffs were likely to prevail on their First Amendment claim, because Arkansas failed to establish that the law was narrowly tailored to achieve a compelling interest. Furthermore, plaintiffs have established that the law likely violates the First Amendment, and thus they have satisfied the remaining three Dataphase factors. Finally, the court held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in applying the preliminary injunction statewide rather than limiting its application to plaintiffs. View "Rodgers v. Bryant" on Justia Law

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Petitioners appealed the BIA's denial of their motion to reconsider the IJ's denial of their applications for asylum, withholding of removal, and relief under the Convention Against Torture (CAT). The Eighth Circuit held that circuit precedent, Ali v. Barr, 924 F.3d 983 (8th Cir. 2019), foreclosed petitioners' claim that the IJ lacked jurisdiction over their removal proceedings because the proceedings commenced with notices to appear that did not specify the date or time of their removal hearings. The court also held that the filing of a motion to reconsider does not toll the time for appeal of the underlying order; the BIA did not abuse its discretion in denying the motion to reconsider where the agency applied the proper standard and considered petitioners' contentions; and the BIA did not commit legal error or abuse its discretion when it denied petitioners' motion to reconsider the denial of CAT relief and its analysis of their torture claim was not inconsistent with the court's binding precedent. In this case, there was no evidence that the police official provided evidence to the Mara 18 gang, was aware that this act would result in torture, and thereafter breached his legal responsibility to intervene to prevent such activity. View "Rodriguez de Henriquez v. Barr" on Justia Law

Posted in: Immigration Law
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MHA filed suit challenging the part of DSH's 2017 Rule defining "costs incurred" as "costs net of third-party payments, including, but not limited to, payments by Medicare and private insurance." The Eighth Circuit reversed the district court's grant of summary judgment for MHA, holding that the statute did not delegate to the Secretary unfettered discretion to determine "costs incurred;" the terms "costs incurred" and "net of payments" have plain, unambiguous meanings; and MHA's interpretation of "costs" and "payments" was not plainly mandated by the structure of the statute. Therefore, the court held that the Secretary's interpretation was reasonable in light of the statute's purpose and design. Under Missouri's plan, the court explained that the State redistributes overpayments above a particular hospital's DSH annual limit proportionately among other DSH hospitals that are below their hospital-specific limits, redistributions that should benefit the most imperiled DSH members of the MHA. View "Missouri Hospital Assoc. v. Azar" on Justia Law

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Defendant appealed his 125 month sentence imposed after he pleaded guilty to two counts of cocaine distribution and one count of conspiracy to distribute 28 grams or more of cocaine. The district court determined that defendant's base offense level was 26, based on unchallenged drug quantity facts stated in the Presentence Investigation Report (PSR). The Eighth Circuit reversed in part, holding that the government failed to prove estimated drug quantity above base offense level 24 with information that "has sufficient indicia of reliability to support its probable accuracy." However, the court held that the district court did not err by imposing a two-level sentencing enhancement under USSG 2D1.1(b)(1) for possession of a dangerous weapon. Accordingly, the court remanded for resentencing. View "United States v. Sterling" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law
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The Eighth Circuit reversed the district court's order certifying a nationwide class of plaintiffs in a case involving allegedly deceptive advertising practices. The action arose out of allegedly deceptive advertising associated with RIDGID brand vacuums. The district concluded that all class members' claims would be governed by Missouri law and thus determined class resolution was appropriate. The court held that the claims of non-Missouri residents did not relate to “trade or commerce . . . in or from the state of Missouri” and the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act could not be applied to them. The court also held that the district court should have conducted separate choice of law analyses for the breach of warranty and unjust enrichment claims. Accordingly, the court remanded for further proceedings. View "Hale v. Emerson Electric Co." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983 against Defendants McCarber and LaLuzerne, alleging that defendants violated his constitutional rights by carrying out an arrest without probable cause and in retaliation for speech, falsifying a police report, using excessive force against him, and conspiring to violate his rights. The district court denied defendants qualified immunity. The Eighth Circuit held that defendants were entitled to qualified immunity on the false arrest, retaliatory arrest, and due process claims, because defendants at least had arguable probable cause to arrest plaintiff. In this case, the night club was closed, the lead security guard told plaintiff that he was no longer allowed in the club and needed to leave, and plaintiff admitted that he did not leave promptly after receiving defendants' instructions to exit. Even if plaintiff initially had a right to wait in the lobby, the court held that a reasonable officer could have believed that the guard or defendants themselves revoked that right by asking plaintiff to leave. Furthermore, the court held that plaintiff was not deprived of liberty after his trial. Finally, the court held that defendants were entitled to qualified immunity on the excessive force claims involving pushing and applying pepper spray, but were not entitled to qualified immunity to use tasers where it was clearly established that it was unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment to apply a taser to a nonviolent, suspected misdemeanant who was not fleeing or resisting arrest, and who posed little to no threat to anyone's safety. View "Johnson v. McCarver" on Justia Law