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Home / Opinions / Courts / 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals / 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Digest: Aug. 2, 2021

8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Digest: Aug. 2, 2021

Administrative Law

OSHA Citation

Uncovered Hole

Where an employer sought review after the Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued a citation for failing to protect its employees from falling through holes after a man was injured, the petition is denied because the administrative law judge properly found that the employer was required to protect employees from falling through an uncovered hole by means of an alternative floor protection.

Petition denied.

Tessier’s, Inc. v. Secretary of Labor (MLW No. 77087/Case No. 20-2359 – 7 pages) (U.S. Court of Appeals, 8th Circuit, Wollman, J.) Petition for review of an order of the Occupational Safety & Health Review Commission. (Kelly C. Engebretson, Minneapolis, MN argued for petitioner) (Louise McGauley Betts, Washington, D.C., argued for respondent).

https://ecf.ca8.uscourts.gov/opndir/21/07/202359P.pdf

 

 

Social Security
Denial Of Benefits

Mental Disorder

Where a claimant challenged the denial of disability insurance benefits and supplemental security income, the record supported the finding that the claimant’s impairments did not meet the mental disorder listing, so the adverse judgment is affirmed.

Judgment is affirmed.

Eaton v. Kijakazi (MLW No. 77090/Case No. 20-2932 – 2 pages) (U.S. Court of Appeals, 8th Circuit, per curiam) Appealed from U.S. District Court, Western District of Missouri.

https://ecf.ca8.uscourts.gov/opndir/21/07/202932U.pdf

 

 

Social Security

Denial Of Benefits

Severity

Where a claimant challenged the denial of disability insurance benefits and supplemental security income, the evidence supported the adverse decision, and the correct standard was used to determine impairment severity, so the judgment is affirmed.

Judgment is affirmed.

Clines v. Kijakazi (MLW No. 77091/Case No. 21-1109 – 2 pages) (U.S. Court of Appeals, 8th Circuit, per curiam) Appealed from U.S. District Court, Western District of Missouri.

https://ecf.ca8.uscourts.gov/opndir/21/07/211109U.pdf

 

Appellate Practice

Issue Preclusion

Bankruptcy Case

Where the district court held, in a dispute over the ownership of farmland, that the appellants did not have any interest in the property, the issue of interest was actually litigated in a prior suit between the parties, and the decision was binding in this case, so the dismissal is affirmed.

Judgment is affirmed.

Finstad v. Gord (MLW No. 77077/Case No. 20-1857 – 7 pages) (U.S. Court of Appeals, 8th Circuit, Loken, J.) Appealed from the U.S. Bankruptcy Appellate Panel for the 8th Circuit.

https://ecf.ca8.uscourts.gov/opndir/21/07/201857P.pdf

 

Bankruptcy

Dischargeability

Damages

Where appellants challenged a bankruptcy court’s decision that the debt owed by them was nondischargeable, the court properly found that the debt was nondischargeable under Section 523(a) (2) (A), and the bankruptcy court did not err in ruling on the amount of damages.

Judgment is affirmed.

Madison Resource Funding Corp. v. Marsh (MLW No. 77082/Case No. 20-6018 – 8 pages) (U.S. Bankruptcy Appellate Panel, 8th Circuit, Schermer, B.J.) Appealed from U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Minnesota.

https://ecf.ca8.uscourts.gov/opndir/21/07/206018P.pdf

 

 

Civil Practice

Attorney Fees

Prevailing Party

Where in a voter registration dispute the parties entered into a settlement agreement without resolving the issue of attorney fees, the defendants did not dispute that the plaintiff was the prevailing party, so the district court did not abuse its discretion by awarding fees and costs.

Judgment is affirmed.

League of Women Voters of Missouri v. Ashcroft (MLW No. 77095/Case No. 20-2440 – 6 pages) (U.S. Court of Appeals, 8th Circuit, Kelly, J.) Appealed from U.S. District Court, Western District of Missouri, Wimes, J. (Melanie Pennycuff, St. Louis, MO argued for appellant) (Anthony E. Rothert, St. Louis, MO argued for appellee; Omri E. Praiss, Denise Debra Lieberman, Gillian R. Wilcox, Jessie M. Steffan, Kayla M. DeLoach, Chiraag Bains, Davin M. Rosborough, Joshua B. Picker, Naila S. Awan, Sabrina Shermin Khan, Sarah Brannon and Molly E. Carney appeared on the brief).

https://ecf.ca8.uscourts.gov/opndir/21/07/202440P.pdf

 

 

Indian Law

Subject Matter Jurisdiction

Where appellants challenged the dismissal of an action claiming violations of an Indian treaty, the dismissal for lack of subject matter jurisdiction was proper.

Judgment is affirmed.

Montileaux v. Diocese of South Dakota (MLW No. 77097/Case No. 21-1570 – 2 pages) (U.S. Court of Appeals, 8th Circuit, per curiam) Appealed from U.S. District Court, District of South Dakota.

https://ecf.ca8.uscourts.gov/opndir/21/07/211570U.pdf

 

 

Civil Rights

Race Discrimination

Causation

Where a tenured professor sued his college employer for race and national origin discrimination and retaliation, the district court correctly dismissed the freestanding Section 1981 claims against the state actors, and the court properly held that the plaintiff could not establish causation to support the Section 1983 retaliation claims, so the judgment is affirmed.

Judgment is affirmed.

Oniyiah v. St. Cloud State University (MLW No. 77084/Case No. 19-3162 – 12 pages) (U.S. Court of Appeals, 8th Circuit, Grasz, J.) Appealed from U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota. (Jordan W. Anderson, Minneapolis, MN argued for appellant) (Joseph David Weiner, Saint Paul, MN argued for appellee).

https://ecf.ca8.uscourts.gov/opndir/21/07/193162P.pdf

 

 

Search Warrant

Collateral Estoppel

Where a plaintiff sued a city and a police officer, alleging that a search warrant compelling his forced catheterization violated the Fourth Amendment, the district court did not err in finding that the plaintiff was collaterally estopped from relitigating his claim because he had already litigated the issue before state trial court in a criminal proceeding.

Judgment is affirmed.

Riis v. Shaver (MLW No. 77089/Case No. 20-2752 – 8 pages) (U.S. Court of Appeals, 8th Circuit, Smith, J.) Appealed from U.S. District Court, District of South Dakota, Lange, J. (James D. Leach, Rapid City, SD argued for appellant) (James Ellis Moore, Sioux Falls, SD argued for appellee).

https://ecf.ca8.uscourts.gov/opndir/21/07/202752P.pdf

 

 

Subject Matter Jurisdiction

Rooker-Feldman Doctrine

Where appellant challenged the dismissal of his civil rights action, the district court did not err in dismissing count three because the appellant did not allege a pattern of unconstitutional conduct in claiming that the county failed to adequately train or supervise an officer, but the court erred in finding that it lacked subject matter jurisdiction over the remaining claims under the Rooker-Feldman doctrine as they did not arise from the state civil judgment.

Judgment is affirmed in part; reversed in part.

Carter v. Ludwick (MLW No. 77081/Case No. 20-3042 – 3 pages) (U.S. Court of Appeals, 8th Circuit, per curiam) Appealed from U.S. District Court, Southern District of Iowa.

https://ecf.ca8.uscourts.gov/opndir/21/07/203042U.pdf

 

 

Contracts

Bottling Contract

Territory Dispute

Where a bottling company claimed that the beverage seller failed to protect its interests under their exclusive bottling contracts, the district court did not err in finding that the contracts did not expressly require the seller to protect against certain shipments of the product into the plaintiff’s territory, and the breach of contract claim failed as a matter of law, and the judgment is affirmed because the court also did not err in finding for the seller on the claims for breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing and tortious interference.

Judgment is affirmed.

Northern Bottling Co., Inc. v. Pepsico, Inc. (MLW No. 77085/Case No. 20-1065 – 11 pages) (U.S. Court of Appeals, 8th Circuit, Grasz, J.) Appealed from U.S. District Court, District of North Dakota, Hovland, J. (Kyle Anne Gray, Billings, MN argued for appellant) (Sondra Hemeryck, Chicago, IL argued for appellee).

https://ecf.ca8.uscourts.gov/opndir/21/07/201065P.pdf

 

 

Construction Contract

Damages

Prompt Payment Act

Where the district court awarded damages to the defendant in a construction contract dispute for additional excavation work, the court properly found that defendant substantially complied with the contract, and the defendant proved the damages, and the award of attorney fees to the defendant was proper under the Missouri Prompt Payment Act. The court remanded on one issue for the district court to review the damages claim for site lighting.

Judgment is affirmed.

Timber Ridge Escapes, LLC v. Quality Structures of Arkansas, LLC (MLW No. 77096Case No. 20-2640 – 12 pages) (U.S. Court of Appeals, 8th Circuit, Erickson, J.) Appealed from U.S. District Court, Western District of Missouri, Harpool, J. (Bryan O. Wade, Springfield, MO argued for appellant; JoAnn T. Sandifer and Larissa Marie Whittingham appeared on the brief) (Richard Theodore Ashe, Springfield, MO argued for appellee).

https://ecf.ca8.uscourts.gov/opndir/21/07/202640P.pdf

 

 

Criminal Law

Child Pornography

Warrantless Search

Peer-To-Peer Network

Where a defendant challenged his conviction in a child pornography case, arguing that an officer who downloaded the relevant files had conducted a warrantless search in violation of the Fourth Amendment, the defendant had no reasonable expectation of privacy in files that he shared over a peer-to-peer network including files shared anonymously with law enforcement, and the judgment is affirmed because the district court did not err in denying the request for independent testing of the software used by law enforcement.

Judgment is affirmed.

U.S. v. Shipton (MLW No. 77088/Case No. 20-2570 – 5 pages) (U.S. Court of Appeals, 8th Circuit, Arnold, J.) Appealed from U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota, Schiltz, J. (JaneAnne Murray, Minneapolis, MN argued for appellant) (Miranda Dugi, Minneapolis, MN argued for appellee).

https://ecf.ca8.uscourts.gov/opndir/21/07/202570P.pdf

 

 

Effectiveness Of Counsel

Capital Murder Trial

Informed Decision

Where a defendant petitioned for a writ of habeas corpus arguing that his trial counsel was ineffective for not providing closing argument during the penalty phase of his capital murder trial, the defendant insisted that counsel forgo the closing argument despite being otherwise advised, so the defendant’s voluntary and informed decision prevented the counsel’s compliance from constituting ineffective assistance.

Judgment is affirmed.

Taylor v. Steele (MLW No. 77092/Case No. 19-2763 – 12 pages) (U.S. Court of Appeals, 8th Circuit, Smith, J.) Appealed from U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Missouri, Sippel, J. (Kent E. Gipson, Kansas City, MO argued for appellant; Kevin L. Schriener appeared on the brief) (Katharine Dolin, Jefferson City, MO argued for appellee).

https://ecf.ca8.uscourts.gov/opndir/21/07/192763P.pdf

 

 

Justification Defense

Sentencing

Where a defendant sought to present a justification defense for being a felon in possession of a firearm, the district court did not err in denying the defense because the defendant failed to produce evidence that he took reasonable steps to dispossess himself of the weapon once the threat abated, and the defendant did not take advantage of reasonable, legal alternatives to continued possession of the gun, and the court also did not err in applying a voluntary manslaughter cross-reference or an obstruction of justice enhancement, so the judgment is affirmed.

Judgment is affirmed.

U.S. v. Still (MLW No. 77118/Case No. 20-3103 – 10 pages) (U.S. Court of Appeals, 8th Circuit, Wollman, J.) Appealed from U.S. District Court, Southern District of Iowa, (Bradley Ryan Hansen, Des Moines, IA argued for appellant) (Michael Brian Duffy, Council Bluffs, IA argued for appellee).

https://ecf.ca8.uscourts.gov/opndir/21/07/203103P.pdf

 

 

Motion To Suppress

Protective Sweep

Consent

Where a defendant argued that the district court improperly denied his motion to suppress evidence of guns found in his attic, a protective sweep of the house was justified by the facts known to the officers, and the defendant did not show that a later consent to the search was ineffective, so the judgment is affirmed.

Judgment is affirmed.

U.S. v. Thompson (MLW No. 77093/Case No. 20-1228 – 10 pages) (U.S. Court of Appeals, 8th Circuit, Kobes, J.) Appealed from U.S. District Court, Western District of Missouri, Ketchmark, J. (Chad Garrett Gardner, Kansas City, MO argued for appellant) (David Wagner, Kansas City, MO argued for appellee).

https://ecf.ca8.uscourts.gov/opndir/21/07/201228P.pdf

 

Revocation Sentence

Supervised Release

Where a defendant challenged his sentence upon the revocation of supervised release, the district court properly considered the applicable factors, so the judgment is affirmed.

Judgment is affirmed.

U.S. v. Watson (MLW No. 77083/Case No. 21-1536 – 2 pages) (U.S. Court of Appeals, 8th Circuit, per curiam) Appealed from U.S. District Court, Southern District of Iowa.

https://ecf.ca8.uscourts.gov/opndir/21/07/211536U.pdf

 

Sentencing
Enhancement

Mootness

Where a defendant challenged a sentencing enhancement, the sentence he received was also the mandatory minimum, so nothing could make the sentence shorter, so the issue is moot and the appeal is dismissed.

Appeal dismissed.

U.S. v. Corrigan (MLW No. 77115/Case No. 20-1682 – 3 pages) (U.S. Court of Appeals, 8th Circuit, Stras, J.) Appealed from U.S. District Court, Southern District of Iowa. (Dennis E. McKelvie, Grinnell, IA argued for appellant) (Kristin M. Herrera, Des Moines, IA argued for appellee).

https://ecf.ca8.uscourts.gov/opndir/21/07/201682P.pdf

 

Sentencing

Plea Agreement

Breach

Where a defendant challenged his sentence, arguing that the government breached the plea agreement, the government breached the agreement by arguing in a sentencing memorandum that an offense level of 20 applied after agreeing to an offense level of 12, the defendant could proceed with an appeal despite an appeal waiver in the plea, and the matter is remanded for resentencing.

Vacated; remanded.

U.S. v. Brown (MLW No. 77078/Case No. 20-2170 – 7 pages) (U.S. Court of Appeals, 8th Circuit, Gruender, J.) Appealed from U.S. District Court, Western District of Missouri.

https://ecf.ca8.uscourts.gov/opndir/21/07/202170P.pdf

 

Sentencing

Upward Variance

Explanation

Where a defendant argued that the district court procedurally erred by failing to adequately explain the basis for its upward variance, the explanation given was adequate, and the defendant failed to show a reasonable probability that the court would have imposed a more lenient sentence if the explanation had been more extensive, and the judgment is affirmed because the sentence is also substantively reasonable.

Judgment is affirmed.

U.S. v. Sterling (MLW No. 77086/Case No. 20-1177 – 3 pages) (U.S. Court of Appeals, 8th Circuit, per curiam) Appealed from U.S. District Court, Western District of Missouri.

https://ecf.ca8.uscourts.gov/opndir/21/07/201177U.pdf

 

 

Sentencing

Supervised Release

Revocation Sentence

Where a defendant appealed the revocation of his supervised release and his revocation sentence, there was no clear error in the district court’s assessment of the evidence, and the revocation was not an abuse of discretion.

Judgment is affirmed.

U.S. v. Daye (MLW No. 77079/Case No. 20-2171 – 4 pages) (U.S. Court of Appeals, 8th Circuit, per curiam) Appealed from U.S. District Court, Northern District of Iowa.

https://ecf.ca8.uscourts.gov/opndir/21/07/202171P.pdf

 

 

Voir Dire

Implicit Bias

Nonviolent Crime

Where a defendant in a drug case argued that a district court failed to ask about implicit bias during voir dire, race was not inextricably intertwined with the conduct of the trial and there was no showing that voir dire on race was required especially since it was a victimless and nonviolent crime, and the court’s voir dire went beyond what was required, so the judgment is affirmed because the defendant also did not show any error in sentencing.

Judgment is affirmed.

U.S. v. Young (MLW No. 77117/Case No. 20-3085 – 11 pages) (U.S. Court of Appeals, 8th Circuit, Kobes, J.) Appealed from U.S. District Court, Western District of Missouri. (Angela L Williams, Kansas City, MO argued for appellant) (David Wagner, Kansas City, MO argued for appellee).

https://ecf.ca8.uscourts.gov/opndir/21/07/203085P.pdf

 

 

Employer – Employee

Discrimination

Accommodation

Where plaintiff brought claims of race and disability discrimination against her former employer, who had refused to agree to her suggestion of a modified schedule, the plaintiff failed to show that she was able to perform the essential functions of her job with or without an accommodation, and she did not identify a similarly situated employee who received more favorable treatment to support the race-based discrimination claim, so the judgment is affirmed.

Judgment is affirmed.

Lane v. Ball (MLW No.77094/Case No. 20-2139 – 4 pages) (U.S. Court of Appeals, 8th Circuit, per curiam) Appealed from U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Arkansas.

https://ecf.ca8.uscourts.gov/opndir/21/07/202139U.pdf

 

 

Immigration

Asylum

Jurisdiction

Removal

Where a petitioner sought review of an order denying asylum, withholding of removal and protection under the Convention Against Torture, precedent foreclosed an argument that the immigration court never acquired jurisdiction over his proceedings because his notice to appear was deficient, and the petitioner conceded that his asylum application was untimely, and he waived the claim by not challenging it on appeal, and the petition is denied since substantial evidence supported the denial of the withholding of removal.

Petition denied.

Mejia v. Garland (MLW No. 77119/Case No. 21-1254 – 2 pages) (U.S. Court of Appeals, 8th Circuit, per curiam) Petition for review of an order of the Board of Immigration Appeals.

https://ecf.ca8.uscourts.gov/opndir/21/07/211254U.pdf

 

Real Property

Zoning

Enforcement Actions

Where property owners challenged a city’s enforcement of zoning regulations against them, the property owners did not show that the enforcement actions violated their equal protection rights, and they did not present sufficient evidence of affirmative misconduct to withstand summary judgment on their equitable estoppel claim.

Judgment is affirmed.

Bruning v. City of Omaha (MLW No. 77116/Case No. 20-2581 – 9 pages) (U.S. Court of Appeals, 8th Circuit, Gruender, J.) Appealed from U.S. District Court, District of Nebraska, Camp, J. (Jason M. Bruno, Omaha, NE argued for appellant) (Jennifer Nicole Johnson Taylor, Omaha, NE argued for appellee).

https://ecf.ca8.uscourts.gov/opndir/21/07/202581P.pdf