Seventh Circuit Review
Volume 3, Issue 2 (Spring 2008)
Introduction (contains Table of Contents, Masthead and About the Seventh Circuit Review)
|Ding, Dong, Conley’s Dead: Bell Atlantic Changes the Federal Pleading Standard|
|Brett A. Saltzman|
|3 Seventh Circuit Rev. 491 (2008)||[Abstract] [Full Article]|
In EEOC v. Concentra Health Services and Airborne Beepers & Video, Inc. v. AT & T Mobility, LLC, the Seventh Circuit set out to interpret the new federal pleading standard espoused by the Supreme Court in the recent landmark case of Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly. In so doing, the Seventh Circuit sought to determine what Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires a plaintiff to plead in order to withstand a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss in the federal court system. Although it could have imparted some meaning into Bell Atlantic’s otherwise ambiguous requirement of “plausibility” in the complaint, the Seventh Circuit failed to thoroughly define the “plausibility standard.” Rather, the Court of Appeals largely left the daunting task of defining and refining “plausibility” to the district courts within the Seventh Circuit. This Note explores the Supreme Court’s Rule 12(b)(6) jurisprudence and the Seventh Circuit’s interpretation of Bell Atlantic. It also looks at the application of Concentra and Airborne by the district courts within the Seventh Circuit to Rule 12(b)(6) motions. Finally, this Note attempts to shed some light on what Seventh Circuit courts require a plaintiff to plead in the complaint. [Hide Abstract]
|The Death Knell Tolls for Reparations in In re African-American Slave Descendants Litigation|
|Christina E. Lutz|
|3 Seventh Circuit Rev. 532 (2008)||[Abstract] [Full Article]|
The Seventh Circuit, in its recent decision In Re Slave Descendants Litigation, dismissed the claims of plaintiffs seeking disgorgement of the profits earned by Northern companies as a result of their illegal involvement in slavery. It is the latest in a long line of reparations cases dismissed by courts for various reasons, including the statute of limitations. This Comment addresses the tolling doctrines the Seventh Circuit should have applied and questions the court’s reasoning with respect to the expiration of the statute of limitations. In doing so, it positions Slave Descendants within the history of reparations by recounting the relevant case law. It further delineates the holdings of the district court and the Seventh Circuit opinion in Slave Descendants and outlines the manner in which the court should have applied the standard for equitable estoppel, and the considerations of efficiency, equity, and history such an application would have satisfied. [Hide Abstract]
|Sweet Result in Savory: How the Seventh Circuit Took the Correct Approach to Post-Conviction Access to DNA Evidence in Savory v. Lyons|
|Jamie T. Newton|
|3 Seventh Circuit Rev. 557 (2008)||[Abstract] [Full Article]|
Progress in the field of DNA testing over the last few decades has resulted in increasingly accurate results. Often this means that DNA evidence found to be inconclusive years ago may prove exculpatory to a prisoner if subjected to today’s more advanced testing. Prisoners may potentially gain access to this evidence through two methods: 1) a writ of habeas corpus; or 2) a § 1983 action. While both approaches can yield the same results, a writ of habeas corpus is subject to several procedural requirements which can delay a prisoner’s access to testing, making a § 1983 action a potentially more desirable path to follow. While both the Eleventh and Ninth circuits have allowed prisoners to gain post-conviction access to DNA testing through § 1983 actions, the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth circuits have held that prisoners seeking such access are limited to habeas relief. In the 2006 case Savory v. Lyons, the Seventh Circuit followed the lead of the Eleventh and Ninth circuits and held that a prisoner’s request for post-conviction access to physical evidence for the purpose of DNA testing is cognizable through a § 1983 action. This Comment reviews the jurisprudence leading to Savory, examines Savory’s facts and analysis, and argues that the Seventh Circuit’s approach in Savory is correct because the Supreme Court’s 2005 decision Wilkinson v. Dotson regarding the validity of § 1983 actions seeking post-conviction relief, though not speaking directly to the issue as it pertains to DNA testing, creates a framework in which such actions are cognizable. [Hide Abstract]
|The Seventh Circuit Steps Up on Cleanup of Hazardous Waste|
|3 Seventh Circuit Rev. 591 (2008)||[Abstract] [Full Article]|
The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (“CERCLA”) is Congress' vehicle for both encouraging timely cleanup of hazardous waste sites and placing the costs of cleanup on those responsible for creating or maintaining the hazardous condition. Most courts have utilized the “remedial canon” of statutory construction to broadly construe the former goal of CERCLA to the detriment of the latter. In contrast, the Seventh Circuit employs the “public interest” theory instead of the “remedial canon” of statutory interpretation, and strikes a perfect balance between the two competing goals of CERCLA.
Some courts apply “strict liability” in the context of § 107(a) recovery for a Potentially Responsible Party (“PRP”) who has voluntarily commenced environmental cleanup. The Seventh Circuit, in Metropolitan Water Reclamation of Greater Chicago v. North American Galvanizing & Coating, Inc., refused and allowed a PRP who had voluntarily commenced environmental cleanup to bring a cause of action against another PRP. This case illustrates how the Seventh Circuit closed a gaping hole in PRP recovery within CERCLA’s cost-shifting litigation scheme. As such, the Seventh Circuit continues to expand the rights of all environmentally aggrieved parties. [Hide Abstract]
|Caution! Government Intrusion May Be Closer Than It Appears: The Seventh Circuit Considers GPS Devices Under the Fourth Amendment|
|Catherine A. Stephens|
|3 Seventh Circuit Rev. 617 (2008)||[Abstract] [Full Article]|
The Fourth Amendment provides protection for individuals from unreasonable searches and seizures of their persons, property, and effects. However, as technology advances and the need for security in this country increases, individuals’ Fourth Amendment rights are in danger. Global Positioning System (“GPS”) tracking devices can now be easily installed on anyone’s car. The GPS device can then track that person’s movement for an extended period of time through the use of sophisticated computer and satellite technology. Under the current state of the law, the police are able to place these GPS devices on cars or possessions without reasonable suspicion, probable cause, or a warrant.
This convergence of rapidly improving technology and Fourth Amendment rights has created a novel legal issue: If the police install a GPS device without first proving reasonable suspicion or probable cause, or without first obtaining a warrant, have they violated the Fourth Amendment?
The Seventh Circuit recently addressed this issue in United States v. Garcia. In Garcia, the Seventh Circuit found that the installation of a GPS device did not constitute a search. Therefore, there was no Fourth Amendment violation. However, in deciding Garcia, the Seventh Circuit made errors in its reasoning. The court should have found that installing a GPS device constitutes a search; therefore, a warrant should be required prior to installation. Such a holding would allow police to use GPS devices without violating the Fourth Amendment.
The focus of this Comment is not to question whether police should use GPS technology, but rather to argue that police should be required, before using GPS technology, to successfully pass through the gatekeeping functions set out to protect individuals’ Fourth Amendment rights. [Hide Abstract]
|Lost in Cyberspace: A Call for New Legislation to Fill the Black Hole in Information Privacy Law Following Pisciotta v. Old National Bancorp|
|Elena N. Vranas-Liveris|
|3 Seventh Circuit Rev. 658 (2008)||[Abstract] [Full Article]|
This Note discusses Pisciotta v. Old National Bancorp, a case decided by the Seventh Circuit, which dealt with the following issue for the first time: whether the costs of credit monitoring spent by consumers whose personal information was wrongfully accessed through a database security breach but who were not victims of identity theft or fraud are compensable damages and thus recoverable under a negligence or breach of contract action against the database owner. The Seventh Circuit was rather definitive in its ruling that the plaintiffs had not suffered the requisite harm to place liability on the database owner, thus causing concern for consumers wishing to bring similar cases. This Note looks at whether Pisciotta could have come out differently, for example, by analogizing the exposure of the plaintiffs’ personal information to toxic exposure in toxic tort cases, and also by questioning the role of the economic loss doctrine in database security breach cases. This Note also assesses what should be done to protect consumers’ privacy interests in light of the difficulties consumers face under current common law, as illustrated in Pisciotta. Specifically, this Note proposes that legislation be enacted to provide for the recovery of credit-monitoring costs by affected consumers of a database security breach. [Hide Abstract]
|(Trade) Secrets, Secrets Are No Fun—Especially When Disclosed Through FOIA Requests to Everyone|
|Daniel B. Goldman|
|3 Seventh Circuit Rev. 690 (2008)||[Abstract] [Full Article]|
While the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) contains a provision exempting trade secrets from public information requests, FOIA was enacted to serve policies essentially antithetical to those of trade secrets—allowing individuals to access records collected by governmental agencies. The FOIA trade secret exemption is discretionary, allowing an agency, rather than a party submitting information to the government, to determine what constitutes a trade secret. Consequently, government agencies often disclose information through FOIA requests that are considered to be trade secrets by the information’s owners. One such instance arose in the Seventh Circuit in Patriot Homes, Inc. v. Forest River Housing, Inc.
This situation typifies a legal question about whether a trade secret can continue to exist after its disclosure by the government and whether obtaining such information via a FOIA request can act as a defense to a claim of trade secret misappropriation. This article contrasts the underlying principles behind the Freedom of Information Act and various trade secret regimes. Ultimately, this article suggests that FOIA should offer greater protection of private information submitted to government agencies, rewarding those individuals or businesses willing to both cooperate with the government and accept the costs of protecting their information. This end might best be achieved through an amendment to the Federal FOIA, applicable to the states through the Commerce Clause, allowing individuals to assume responsibility for protecting information that they submit to the government. [Hide Abstract]
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