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At issue in this appeal was the certification of a class composed of individuals whose payment card information was compromised as a result of the 2013 Target security breach. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's recertification of the class on remand, holding that the district court did not err in certifying the proposed class, which included both persons who suffered an actual financial loss and those who had not yet suffered a loss. The court also held that the district court did not abuse its discretion by including the costs of notice and administration expenses as a benefit to the class as a whole in calculating the total benefit to the class, and in finding that the settlement agreement was fair, reasonable, and adequate. Finally, the court affirmed the attorneys' fee award. View "Sciaroni v. Target Corp." on Justia Law

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Brazil spent over three decades working for the Arkansas Department of Human Services. A 2010 disagreement with her supervisor eventually led her to seek a transfer to another division. When she did not receive a transfer, she sued the Department and several officials for alleged civil rights violations. None of her claims survived summary judgment. Brazil’s work environment did not improve. Brazil believes that she received lower performance evaluations in retaliation for the lawsuit. Brazil’s supervisors reassigned her from performing traditional administrative-assistant tasks to working in a document-scanning room, which required heavy lifting, long periods of sitting, and repetitious activities. Though her official title remained the same, Brazil regarded the assignment as a demotion because it required manual labor and diminished her opportunities for promotion. Brazil filed suit alleging retaliation and racial discrimination. A year into the litigation, Brazil changed positions. In her current job, Brazil reports to different supervisors and performs only administrative-assistant duties. The district court dismissed all of Brazil’s claims, except those against her former supervisors, which it rejected on summary judgment. The Eighth Circuit concluded that her claims were moot, vacated, and instructed the district court to dismiss the claims. View "Brazil v. Arkansas Department of Human Services" on Justia Law

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Dr. Solman performed arthroscopic surgery on Grussing’s knee in June 2014. At her July 9 appointment, Grussing reported swelling in her knee to a physician's assistant, who recommended physical therapy. Dr. Solman did not examine Grussing. Grussing returned to Dr. Solman’s office on July 18, again reporting pain and swelling. Dr. Solman aspirated Grussing’s knee, observed that the synovial fluid looked normal, and did not test the fluid for infection. Grussing continued to experience pain and swelling. In October, a different physician aspirated Grussing’s knee and sent the fluid for analysis. The knee was chronically infected. Grussing underwent a total knee replacement. The primary issue in Grussing’s malpractice suit was whether Dr. Solman breached the standard of care when he decided not to test the synovial fluid aspirated during her July 18, appointment. Grussing opened her case with Dr. Solman’s deposition testimony; he acknowledged that fluid that does not appear cloudy can test positive for bacterial infection. The defense’s expert, Dr. Matava testified that there was no way to confirm that Grussing’s knee was infected on July 18. The Eighth Circuit affirmed a defense verdict, rejecting arguments that the district court erroneously limited Grussing’s cross-examination of Matava during an attempt to elicit testimony that fluid that is not cloudy can test positive for bacterial infection and that it failed to correct defense counsel’s misstatement of law during closing argument. The correct burden of proof was properly emphasized throughout trial. View "Grussing v. Orthopedic and Sports Medicine, Inc." on Justia Law

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Under Missouri campaign finance law, chapter 130, a “campaign committee” is formed to receive contributions or make expenditures solely to support or oppose particular ballot measures, "such committee shall be formed no later than thirty days prior to the election for which the committee receives contributions or makes expenditures." Thirteen days before the November 2014 general election, a group formed MFA as a campaign committee, to accept contributions and make expenditures in support of Proposition 10. MFA sued to enjoin enforcement of the formation deadline, citing the First Amendment. The district court granted MFA a temporary restraining order. MFA received contributions and made expenditures before the election. After the election, MFA terminated as a campaign committee. The Eighth Circuit affirmed summary judgment in favor of MFA. While a formation deadline by itself might not expressly limit speech, the deadline here is more than a disclosure requirement because it prohibits (or significantly burdens) formation of a campaign committee, a requisite for legally engaging in speech, even if the individual or group is willing to comply with organizational and disclosure requirements. Even if the state’s interest in preventing circumvention of chapter 130’s disclosure regime is compelling, the formation deadline is unconstitutional because it is not narrowly tailored, given its burden on speech and its modest effect on preventing circumvention of the disclosure regime. View "Missourians for Fiscal Accountability v. Klahr" on Justia Law

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Defendant pleaded guilty in 2008 to conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance. His advisory guidelines range was 324-405 months’ imprisonment, but the statutory maximum for his offense was 240 months’ imprisonment, 21 U.S.C. 841(b)(1)(C). The court varied downward under 18 U.S.C. 3553(a) and imposed a term of 210 months’ imprisonment. In 2013, the court reduced that sentence to 150 months under FRCP 35(b), based on the government's motion to reflect the defendant’s provision of substantial assistance. In 2016, the defendant moved to reduce his sentence under 18 U.S.C. 3582(c) based on Guidelines Amendment 782, which retroactively reduced his base offense level by two levels and resulted in an amended guideline range of 262-327 months’ imprisonment. The district court concluded that because the statutory maximum sentence of 240 months’ imprisonment was lower than the minimum of the appellant’s amended guideline range, his “guideline range remains unchanged and he is not eligible for a further reduction.” A court may reduce a defendant’s sentence if he was sentenced “based on a sentencing range that has subsequently been lowered by the Sentencing Commission,” 18 U.S.C 3582(c)(2). The Eighth Circuit affirmed. The lowered guideline range played no relevant part in determining the defendant’s sentence; he is ineligible for a reduction under section 3582(c). View "In re Sealed Case" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment to Walmart in an action alleging employment discrimination. The court held that plaintiff failed to file a charge of discrimination with the EEOC within 180 days of the alleged Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) violation. The court also held that plaintiff's failure to file his EEOC claim within 180 days was not the result of any misconduct by Walmart. In this case, failing to respond to a settlement demand made ten days before the statutory deadline, and accompanied by a statement that the employee would file a charge with the EEOC if the matter could not be settled, was not conduct that the employer should unmistakably have understood would cause the employee to miss the filing deadline. View "Rodriguez v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc." on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit denied a petition for review of the BIA's order reversing an IJ's decision to grant petitioner withholding of removal. The court held that petitioner's proposed social group consisting of "former taxi drivers from Quezaltepeque who have witnessed a gang murder" did not constitute a cognizable particular social group. The court reasoned that the proposed social group would not be perceived, considered or recognized by Salvadoran society to be a distinct social group. In this case, petitioner failed to show that he would experience future persecution on account of a protected ground and therefore he was not entitled to withholding of removal. View "Miranda v. Sessions" on Justia Law

Posted in: Immigration Law

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Defendants challenged their sentences after being convicted of various crimes related to their involvement in a scheme to purchase and ship firearms to Lebanon for resale. The Eighth Circuit held that the district court did not clearly err in determining that Defendant Ali was an organizer or leader of the conspiracy and by imposing a ten-level sentencing enhancement after finding that his offense conduct involved 200 or more firearms; the district court did not clearly err in denying acceptance of responsibility to Ali in light of his attempt to minimize his conduct and his frivolous objections to his relevant conduct; and Ali's sentence was substantively reasonable. The court held that the district court did not err by imposing a three-level sentence enhancement based on Defendant Bassem's role as a manager or supervisor or by finding that the conspiracy was otherwise extensive; the district court did not err in denying Bassem's motion to hold a hearing and in refusing to compel the government to file a substantial assistance motion; and Bassem's sentence was substantively reasonable. Finally, the court held that the district court did not err in denying Defendant Zeaiter a three-level mitigating role adjustment and the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying her a downward variance. View "United States v. Zeaiter" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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After plaintiffs were exonerated for the murder of Helen Wilson in 2008, they filed a 42 U.S.C. 1983 action, alleging that their arrests and imprisonment were the result of a reckless investigation and manufactured false evidence, as well as parallel conspiracy claims under 42 U.S.C. 1985. Plaintiffs were awarded approximately $28.1 million in damages. The Eighth Circuit held that it would not review or reverse its prior rulings as to whether Gage County could be held liable; the evidence was sufficient to support the jury's verdict finding Gage County liable; the facts developed at trial continued to support the district court's conclusion that the sheriff's deputies were not entitled to qualified immunity; the deputies conducted a reckless investigation and fabricated evidence; limited references to plaintiffs' innocence did not warrant a new trial in light of the curative actions and overwhelming evidence; and there was no error in the reckless investigation jury instruction. View "Dean v. Searcey" on Justia Law

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Act 900, Arkansas Code Annotated 17-92-507, an amendment to the state's then-existing maximum allowable cost (MAC) law that governed the conduct of pharmacy benefits managers, was preempted by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) and Medicare Part D statutes. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's ERISA ruling in this case, but reversed the Medicare Part D ruling. The court remanded for entry of judgment for PCMA. View "Pharmaceutical Care Management v. Rutledge" on Justia Law

Posted in: ERISA, Health Law