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Thomas, an Illinois prisoner formerly confined at Hill Correctional Center, alleged that prison guards attacked him with excessive force and that the beating and subsequent disciplinary proceedings were in retaliation for lawsuits and grievances he filed. He sued the guards and other prison officials seeking damages under 42 U.S.C. 1983. In the course of pretrial proceedings, the district judge required the parties to stipulate to the events preceding the attack and ruled that certain inmate witnesses must appear, if at all, by video conference. The judge also declined Thomas’s request for recruited counsel, determining that he was competent to litigate the suit pro se. At trial, the judge entered judgment as a matter of law for the defendants on all claims except those asserting excessive force by two officers. The jury decided those claims against Thomas. The Seventh Circuit reversed in part. Because Thomas’s trial testimony allowed for a permissible inference of retaliation, the judge should not have taken the retaliation claims from the jury. The court rejected other challenges to evidentiary rulings and to the refusal to recruit counsel. View "Thomas v. Anderson" on Justia Law

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In the published portion of the opinion, the Court of Appeal noted that effective January 1, 2019, Code of Civil Procedure section 998 will have no application to costs and attorney and expert witness fees in a Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) action unless the lawsuit is found to be "frivolous, unreasonable, or groundless when brought, or the plaintiff continued to litigate after it clearly became so." In regard to the litigation that predated the application of the amended version of Government Code section 12965(b), the court held that section 998 does not apply to nonfrivolous FEHA actions and reversed the order awarding defendant costs and expert witness fees pursuant to that statute. View "Huerta v. Kava Holdings, Inc." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit alleging that a county deputy was deliberately indifferent to Jeffry Alan Barton's serious medical needs and that the county jail administrator failed to adequately train or supervise the deputy. Plaintiff also alleged that the county did not adequately train its detention facility workers and that its policies failed to ensure that detainees received adequate medical care. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of qualified immunity to the deputy where a jury could find that Barton was experiencing a medical need so obvious that a layperson would recognize the need for prompt medical attention, the deputy did not perform the healthcare screening the jail policies required, and it was clearly established at the time that booking Barton into jail would constitute deliberate indifference. The court reversed the denial of qualified immunity to the administrator and held that the administrator did not know that the deputy was inadequately trained or supervised. Finally, the court dismissed the county's appeal for lack of jurisdiction. View "Barton v. Ledbetter" on Justia Law

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The Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the Appellate Division affirming the judgment of Supreme Court granting Defendants' motion to compel Plaintiff to post a minimum of $500 security in this personal injury action, holding that N.Y. C.P.L.R. 8501(a) and 8503 do not violate the Privileges and Immunities Clause set forth in article IV, section 2 of the United States Constitution by depriving noncitizens of New York reasonable and adequate access to New York courts. At issue in this personal injury action was New York’s longstanding security for costs provisions that treat resident and nonresident litigants differently. Plaintiff was a New York resident when she commenced this action, but after she relocated to Georgia, Defendants moved, pursuant to sections 8501(a) and 8503, for an order compelling Plaintiff to post a minimum of $500 security for costs in the event she lost the case. Supreme Court granted Defendants’ motion, concluding that the statutes do not bar access to the courts. The Appellate Division affirmed. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that sections 8501(a) and 8503 do not unduly burden nonresidents’ fundamental right to access the courts because nonresidents are provided reasonable and adequate access to the New York courts. View "Clement v. Durban" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the order of the district court denying Defendant’s motion to suppress evidence gathered from a vehicle after a traffic stop, holding that sufficient evidence did not exist for an extended stop. Defendant was charged with drug-related offenses. Defendant filed motion to suppress evidence obtained after a traffic stop. The district court denied the motion, concluding that the police officer had sufficient facts to expand the traffic stop into a drug investigation and particularized suspicion to justify a canine search of the vehicle’s exterior. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the officer lacked the particularized suspicion required to extend the traffic stop into a drug investigation, and the stop violated Mont. Code Ann. 46-5-403; and (2) the extension of the stop to request a search by a K-9 unit violated the constitutional prohibition against unreasonable searches. View "State v. Wilson" on Justia Law

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The EEOC filed suit alleging that North Memorial violated 42 U.S.C. 2000e-3(a), by unlawfully retaliating against an employee. The district court granted summary judgment for North Memorial and dismissed the claim, concluding that North Memorial did not violate section 2000e-3(a) because it did not discriminate against the employee. The Eighth Circuit affirmed and held that the EEOC failed to establish a prima facie case of opposition-clause unlawful retaliation because merely requesting a religious accommodation was not the same as opposing the allegedly unlawful denial of a religious accommodation. The court reasoned that, when an employee or applicant requested a religious accommodation, and the request was denied by an employer such as North Memorial that accommodated reasonable requests that did not cause undue hardship, there was no basis for an opposition-clause retaliation claim under Sec. 2000e-3(a). The court held that the employee or applicant's exclusive Title VII remedy was an unlawful disparate treatment or disparate impact claim under section 2000e-2(a)(1). View "EEOC v. North Memorial Health Care" on Justia Law

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Petitioner appealed the district court's denial of his first federal petition for a writ of habeas corpus. The Ninth Circuit affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded for an evidentiary hearing on one of petitioner's penalty-phase ineffective assistance of counsel claims. The panel held that petitioner was entitled to equitable tolling for the period from August 29, 1998, to September 17, 1999, and thus reversed the district court's contrary ruling. The panel remanded for further proceedings as to Claims 1(C), 1(D), 1(E), 1(H), 1(I), 1(J), 9, and 14. In regard to two related claims alleging ineffective assistance of trial counsel, the panel held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying an evidentiary hearing as to Claim 1(A). However, the district court abused its discretion in denying an evidentiary hearing as to Claim (F). Therefore, the panel remanded for the district court to hold an evidentiary hearing so that it may properly assess whether the evidence of petitioner's childhood abuse and trauma -- in combination with the brain damage evidence that was not on its own sufficient -- gave rise to a reasonable probability that the outcome of petitioner's sentencing hearing would have been different. Finally, the panel affirmed the district court's denial of petitioner's motion for relief under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b). View "Williams v. Filson" on Justia Law

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In 1992-2006, Snider committed various crimes, including four convictions under Tennessee’s aggravated burglary statute. In 2007, he was convicted of conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine, 21 U.S.C. 846; manufacturing and attempting to manufacture over 50 grams of methamphetamine, 21 U.S.C. 841(a)(1) and 846; possessing equipment, chemicals, products, and materials that may be used to manufacture methamphetamine, 21 U.S.C. 843(a)(6); possessing a firearm after being convicted of a felony, 18 U.S.C 922(g); possessing a stolen firearm, 18 U.S.C. 922(j); and possessing a firearm during and in relation to a drug-trafficking crime, 18 U.S.C. 924(c). Snider was sentenced as a career criminal offender based on three Tennessee aggravated burglary convictions deemed crimes of violence (USSG 4B1.1(b)(B)), which was defined to include “burglary of a dwelling.” The Sixth Circuit affirmed the denial of Snider’s motion (28 U.S.C. 2255) to vacate his sentence, rejecting his argument that its 2017 "Stitt" ruling that a conviction for Tennessee aggravated burglary is not a “violent felony” under the Armed Career Criminal Act, 18 U.S.C. 924(e) required that it vacate his sentence as a career offender under the sentencing guidelines. Snider’s challenge to his advisory guidelines range is not cognizable under section 2255, which authorizes post-conviction relief only when a sentence “was imposed in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States, or . . . the court was without jurisdiction ... or . . . the sentence was in excess of the maximum authorized by law, or is otherwise subject to collateral attack.” View "Snider v. United States" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed in part the decision of the court of appeals denying Defendant’s ineffective assistance of counsel claim on appeal, holding that the court erred in finding that Defendant waived his ineffective assistance claim by only including a cursory discussion of ineffective assistance in a footnote. Defendant was convicted of drug offenses. On appeal, the court of appeals held (1) there was sufficient evidence to support the convictions, and (2) Defendant failed to preserve error on his ineffective assistance of counsel claim. On further review, the Supreme Court held that the court of appeals erred in rejecting Defendant’s ineffective assistance claim rather than preserving it for a postconviction relief proceeding. The Court then affirmed the judgment of the district court and instructed that Defendant could bring a separate postconviction relief action based on his ineffective assistance of counsel claim. View "State v. Harris" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed Defendant’s conviction of first-degree murder murder and second-degree arson and the sentences imposed in connection with the convictions, holding that the evidence was sufficient to support the convictions and that Defendnat's trial counsel was not ineffective. On appeal, Defendant argued that the evidence at trial was insufficient to prove the elements of her convictions and that her trial counsel provided ineffective assistance in eight respects. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding that the evidence was sufficient to support the convictions and that the record refuted Defendant’s claims of ineffective assistance. View "State v. Golyar" on Justia Law