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Unitherm filed suit against Hormel, alleging that Hormel wrongfully terminated a Joint Development Agreement (JDA) and breached a Mutual Confidential Disclosure Agreement (MCDA). Hormel counterclaimed and alleged that Unitherm breached the JDA and sought a declaratory judgment that Hormel owned the patented "Unitherm Process" for precooking bacon in a spiral oven. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment, dismissing Unitherm's breach of contract claims and Hormel's breach of contract and declaratory judgment counterclaims. The court held that Unitherm failed to present evidence permitting a reasonable jury to find that Hormel wrongfully terminated the JDA; Hormel was under no contractual duty to disclose to Unitherm whether it intended to continue exploring a commercially viable method to produce precooked bacon using a process that included superheated steam in a spiral oven; the spiral test oven did not qualify as confidential information; Hormel did not breach the MCDA; and the district court did not err in denying Unitherm's request for discovery. Finally, no reasonable jury could find that Hormel became the rightful owner of Unitherm's patented process. View "HIP, Inc. v. Hormel Foods Corp." on Justia Law

Posted in: Contracts

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Officers Richter and Sullivan, patrolling a high crime neighborhood, observed McLemore standing by a BMW parked at a residence frequented by gang members. Days earlier, investigating reports of a nearby shooting, Richter and Officer Del Valle had seen Rode exit the BMW. They learned that Rode was affiliated with the gang and may have been the victim of an unreported shooting. Richter radioed Del Valle, patrolling in a different car, and told her to follow the BMW. Del Valle saw that it had a dealer advertising plate instead of a rear license plate and a temporary paper card taped inside of the rear window. Del Valle radioed that she had “no violations yet” but “you can see a plate, but you can’t read what’s on it.” Sullivan replied, “there you go.” Del Valle made an “equipment stop.” She did not examine whether the temporary card was valid (it was) because “I already had the probable cause.” During the stop, Del Valle smelled marijuana, and Richter discovered a firearm during his pat-down search of McLemore. The district court ruled that the stop violated the Fourth Amendment. The Eighth Circuit affirmed. The government failed to identify what violation of state law the BMW operator was suspected of committing and did not introduce into evidence either the BMW’s temporary registration card or a copy of the standard-form card; neither officer testified that they can usually read temporary cards at night or that they had previous problems with fraudulent or invalid cards. View "United States v. McLemore" on Justia Law

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After being arrested, Whitney was taken to the St. Louis University Hospital for treatment of an irregular heartbeat. He attempted to escape and said that he wanted the police to take his life so that he would not be sent back to prison. He was determined to be suicidal. After being treated by psychiatry and showing improvement, he was released and transported to the St. Louis City Justice Center. Two days later, Whitney was moved to a medical unit, suffering from detoxification from heroin use, congestive heart failure, hypertension, and diabetes. Sharp was assigned to monitor Whitney in his cell via closed-circuit television. Sharp last saw Whitney pacing by the shower area at 9:05 a.m. Within the next 14 minutes, she discovered that he had hanged himself, using his ripped hospital gown. The district court dismissed 42 U.S.C. 1983 claims by Whitney’s estate. The Eighth Circuit affirmed. The complaint failed to allege that Sharp knew that Whitney presented a suicide risk. There was no claim that any identifiable jail official had knowledge or suspected that Whitney was suicidal or was harming himself; the complaint fails to allege any constitutional violation arising out of a municipal policy that would expose the city to Monell liability. View "Whitney v. City of St. Louis" on Justia Law

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After being arrested, Whitney was taken to the St. Louis University Hospital for treatment of an irregular heartbeat. He attempted to escape and said that he wanted the police to take his life so that he would not be sent back to prison. He was determined to be suicidal. After being treated by psychiatry and showing improvement, he was released and transported to the St. Louis City Justice Center. Two days later, Whitney was moved to a medical unit, suffering from detoxification from heroin use, congestive heart failure, hypertension, and diabetes. Sharp was assigned to monitor Whitney in his cell via closed-circuit television. Sharp last saw Whitney pacing by the shower area at 9:05 a.m. Within the next 14 minutes, she discovered that he had hanged himself, using his ripped hospital gown. The district court dismissed 42 U.S.C. 1983 claims by Whitney’s estate. The Eighth Circuit affirmed. The complaint failed to allege that Sharp knew that Whitney presented a suicide risk. There was no claim that any identifiable jail official had knowledge or suspected that Whitney was suicidal or was harming himself; the complaint fails to allege any constitutional violation arising out of a municipal policy that would expose the city to Monell liability. View "Whitney v. City of St. Louis" on Justia Law

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Defendant pleaded guilty to one count of failure to register as a sex offender after traveling in interstate commerce in violation of the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act, 18 U.S.C. 2250(a). On appeal, defendant challenged a special condition prohibiting him from possessing or using any electronic device with internet access without the prior approval of his probation officer. The Eighth Circuit dismissed the appeal because defendant knowingly and voluntarily entered a plea agreement waiving his right to appeal. Even if the appeal were not barred by the appeal waiver, defendant was not entitled to relief because the district court did not abuse its discretion. In this case, defendant's use of computers and the internet was justifiably concerning to the district court. View "United States v. Dallman" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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Leonetti's filed suit against Crew for negligence, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and trade libel. Leonetti's alleged that an email sent by the president of Crew caused Sam's Club to decline to purchase Leonetti's stromboli products. The district court granted summary judgment for Crew on each count except the breach of contract count, which was later dismissed with prejudice. The Eighth Circuit reversed the district court's grant of summary judgment, holding that there was a genuine issue of material fact as to the causation of the project termination. In this case, the district court failed to consider Leonetti's evidence offered to rebut an email explaining that Sam's Club was terminating the project for product quality concerns. View "Leonetti's Frozen Foods,Inc. v. Crew, Inc." on Justia Law

Posted in: Business Law, Contracts

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Plaintiffs filed suit against defendants under the Endangered Species Act, 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq., seeking to enjoin defendants' mistreatment of endangered species. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's order that the endangered species be transferred to another facility and denied plaintiffs' request for attorney fees and costs. Determining that plaintiffs had standing, the court held that the district court did not err in finding defendants had harassed the lemurs by keeping them in social isolation; by not developing, documenting, and following an appropriate plan for environmental enhancement; and by not providing clean water and sanitary conditions. The district court also did not err by ruling that defendants had injured, and thereby harmed, the tigers by failing to provide timely and appropriate veterinary care. Furthermore, the decision to imposed upon defendants the responsibility of finding an appropriate, licensed facility for the lemurs and tigers was well within the district court's broad equitable powers. The court held that the circumstances of this case justified the denial of attorney fees and costs. The court rejected the remaining arguments and affirmed the judgment. View "Kuehl v. Sellner" on Justia Law

Posted in: Animal / Dog Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed defendant's sentence after he pleaded guilty to possessing heroin with intent to distribute. The court held that defendant's prior Missouri convictions under section 195.211, RSMo 2002 qualified as controlled substance offenses for calculating defendant's offense level. The court also held that defendant's 151 month, within-guidelines sentence was substantively reasonable. View "United States v. Reid" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed defendant's sentence after he pleaded guilty to possessing heroin with intent to distribute. The court held that defendant's prior Missouri convictions under section 195.211, RSMo 2002 qualified as controlled substance offenses for calculating defendant's offense level. The court also held that defendant's 151 month, within-guidelines sentence was substantively reasonable. View "United States v. Reid" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed defendant's sentence after he pleaded guilty to two counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm. The court held that defendant's prior Missouri convictions under section 195.211, RSMo 2003 and section 195.242, RSMo 2000 qualified as controlled substance offenses for purposes of calculating defendant's offense level. The court explained that, by comparison to the generic Guidelines definition, defendant's convictions under sections 195.211.3 and 195.242.1 require more than "mere words of an offer" for a sale, thus qualifying as controlled substance offenses. View "United States v. Thomas" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law