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The Eighth Circuit vacated defendant's sentence for possessing a firearm and ammunition as a felon. The court held that the district court erred in determining that defendant's prior North Dakota conviction for aggravated assault was a crime of violence under the Guidelines because the conviction satisfied neither the force clause nor the enumerated-offenses clause of the definition of a crime of violence in the Guidelines. Therefore, the court remanded for resentencing. View "United States v. Schneider" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of defendant's motion for summary judgment for defendant in an action alleging that defendant's actions created "significant duress" that forced her to sell her minority interests in Progressive Swine Technologies. The court held that plaintiff failed to prove actionable economic duress under Nebraska law; the Unit Purchase Agreement was not unconscionable as a matter of law, and the district court properly determined that plaintiff failed to show a fraudulent misrepresentation on which she relied in entering into the Unit Purchase Agreement; and because plaintiff did not enter into the Agreement as the result of actionable economic duress, and the Agreement was not the result of fraudulent inducement, the Agreement's mutual release provision barred plaintiff's other claims, including a claim that defendant breached his fiduciary duty to a minority shareholder and a claim that defendant had previously deprived plaintiff of a corporate opportunity. View "Rasby v. Pillen" on Justia Law

Posted in: Business Law

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The Eighth Circuit reversed the district court's denial of summary judgment for a sheriff's deputy in an action filed by plaintiff under 42 U.S.C. 1983, alleging that the deputy used excessive force while arresting her. The court held that the deputy was entitled to qualified immunity where it was not clearly established at the time that a deputy was forbidden to use a takedown maneuver to arrest a suspect who ignored the deputy's instruction to "get back here" and continued to walk away from the officer. View "Kelsay v. Ernst" on Justia Law

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FC appealed the district court's judgment in favor of Qwest, finding FC was liable for tortious interference with Qwest's contractual relationship with Tekstar. The Eighth Circuit held that the district court did not err in finding that FC caused Tekstar to breach its tariff with Qwest; the breach was material; FC's justification defense was rejected where the district court did not clearly err in finding that, prior to contracting with Tekstar, FC was on notice that it was not an end user and that Tekstar would violate its tariff by charging Qwest tariff rates for FC’s traffic; the district court's conclusion was not precluded by collateral estoppel; the district court did not clearly err in finding that the nearly $1 million Qwest paid to AT&T and other long-distance carriers to route FC's traffic flowed directly from FC's tortious interference; and there was no error in the district court's award of attorney's fees to Qwest. View "Qwest Communications Co. v. Free Conferencing Corp." on Justia Law

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The North Dakota Secretary of State filed a motion to stay an order of the district court that enjoined parts of the North Dakota elections statutes. The district court enjoined the Secretary from enforcing a provision that required a voter to present at the polls a valid form of identification that provides the voter's current residential street address. The Eighth Circuit granted the motion and held that the Secretary demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits in his challenge to this aspect of the injunction, the State would be irreparably harmed by the injunction during the general election in November, and a stay should be granted after consideration of all relevant factors. View "Brakebill v. Jaeger" on Justia Law

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Six siblings dispute over ownership and control of OKISDA, a family corporation their mother established. The district court concluded that nearly all the claims hinge on whether the transfer of Class A stock from the mother's trust to defendant was valid. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment to defendants and dismissal of all the claims. The court held that transfer of two Class A shares did not violate the transfer restriction of OKISDA's bylaws. Furthermore, the validity of the stock transfer established that plaintiffs' other claims were foreclosed. View "Rains v. Jones" on Justia Law

Posted in: Business Law

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Under United States v. Boyle, 469 U.S. 241 (1985), an agent's failure to fulfill his duty to his principal to file tax returns and make payments on behalf of the principal does not constitute reasonable cause for the principal's failure to comply with its tax obligations unless that failure actually rendered the principal disabled with regard to its tax obligations. Disability is a high bar that is not satisfied if the errant agent is subject to the control of his principal, whether that principal sufficiently exercised that control or not. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal with prejudice of Deaton's suit seeking refund, abatement, and recovery of delinquent tax penalties assessed against it. The court held that the facts set forth in the complaint did not support a finding of reasonable cause. In this case, the facts, whether considered singularly or together, did not excuse Deaton's tax law compliance failures. View "Deaton Oil Co., LLC v. United States" on Justia Law

Posted in: Tax Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's judgment granting petitioner's application for habeas corpus relief from his death sentence pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 2254. The court held that, because the district court's partial grant of petitioner's rule 59(e) motion was not subject to this appeal, the court did not address the merits of the district court's application of Martinez v. Ryan, 132 S.Ct. 1309 (2012), and its finding of extraordinary circumstances. The court also held that the district court's finding that petitioner was prejudiced by counsel's deficient performance was supported by the evidence. Therefore, the district court properly concluded that petitioner established ineffective assistance of counsel. The court agreed with the district court that, as to Ground I, petitioner's Rule 60(b) motion was not a successive claim under 28 U.S.C. 2244(b). Finally, the district court did not err in denying respondent's Rule 59(e) motion; the judgment granting habeas relief was not the result of any manifest error; and the motion was not supported by any showing of extraordinary circumstances. View "Barnett v. Roper" on Justia Law

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This appeal stemmed from a dispute over who was the rightful owner of a Martin D-35 guitar that Elvis Presley played during his final tour in 1977. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's judgment in favor of the Museum, holding that the Museum was not bound by a prior Tennessee judgment between defendant and the guitar donor because the Museum was not a party to that action and was not in privity with the donor. In this case, the donor had already delivered the guitar to the Museum at the time defendant commenced the Tennessee action. Therefore, the donor had title to the Martin D-35 guitar when he transferred the guitar to the Museum and the Museum owned the guitar. View "National Music Museum v. Moss" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of defendant's motion to vacate his sentence. Defendant argued that he did not have the requisite three prior violent felony convictions under the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA) because his two Arkansas convictions for first-degree terroristic threatening were not violent felonies. The court held that it's decision in United States v. Myers, 896 F.3d 866 (8th Cir. 2018), that Section 5-13-301(a)(1)(A), the Arkansas first-degree terroristic threatening statute, is divisible and requires the modified categorical approach was controlling in this case where the state court documents that may be examined established that defendant was twice convicted of the ACCA violent felony of threatening to use physical force against another person. The court also held, in the alternative, that Descamps v. United States, 570 U.S. 254 (2013), and Mathis v. United States, 136 S. Ct. 2243 (2016), did not announce a new rule of constitutional law made retroactive to cases on collateral review. View "Martin v. United States" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law