Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

by
Plaintiff filed suit against his former employer, Skybridge, alleging claims under federal and state law based on Skybridge's denial of a promotion and ultimate termination of plaintiff based on his age. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for Skybridge, holding that the CEO's statement that the company was looking for a "New Face" was facially and contextually neutral when made to plaintiff. Under the McDonnell Douglas burden-shifting analysis, Skybridge articulated legitimate, nondiscriminatory reasons for selecting another person over plaintiff for the CTO position and for ultimately terminating plaintiff. In this case, plaintiff's position as IT director of fulfillment became superfluous. The court rejected plaintiff's two remaining claims of intentional misrepresentation and negligent misrepresentation. View "Aulick v. Skybridge Americas, Inc." on Justia Law

by
The Brossarts filed suit against Deputy Sheriff Braathen, his supervisor, Sheriff Kelly Janke, and Nelson County, asserting federal claims under 42 U.S.C. 1983. The charges stemmed from confrontations at the Brossart family farmstead that extended over two days. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the grant of qualified immunity to Braathen and Janke on Rodney Brossart's excessive force claim where there was no Fourth Amendment violation, and even if Braathen's repeated use of a taser was unreasonable, it did not violate clearly established law; affirmed the dismissal of plaintiffs' claims that Deputy Braathen used constitutionally excessive force in tasing Rodney and Thomas Brossart; and rejected plaintiffs' claim for supervisory liability against Janke. The court also held that plaintiffs' failure to train claim against Nelson County was foreclosed by the court's conclusion that Braathen's tasing of Rodney and Thomas did not constitute excessive force; the absence of prior complaints to Nelson County of improper taser use meant there was no pattern of constitutional violations; and the state law claims were properly dismissed. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment in its entirety. View "Brossart v. Janke" on Justia Law

by
Defendant, a corporal in the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC), appealed the denial of his motion to dismiss claims related to the search of a residence. The district court determined that defendant was not entitled to qualified immunity because a reasonable officer would have known that a warrant should not have issued based on the information he provided to the issuing court. The Eighth Circuit reversed, holding that it was not entirely unreasonable for defendant to believe that his affidavit established sufficient indicia of probable cause for the search and seizure of the items listed in the warrant. In this case, the affidavit provided probable cause to seize a deer, based on an anonymous tip and a recorded jailhouse call. Furthermore, the items described in the warrant were relevant to the criminal offense under investigation, as they directly related to the existence, capture, and maintaining of a pet deer. View "Kiesling v. Spurlock" on Justia Law

by
The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment to the employer on plaintiff's claim of retaliatory discharge in violation of the Minnesota Whistleblower Act (MWA). The court held that there was no genuine issue for trial because no rational trier of fact could conclude on this record that plaintiff's protected activity was causally connected to his termination. Therefore, the district court thus did not err in concluding that plaintiff failed to satisfy his initial burden of establishing a causal connection between his protected activity and his termination sufficient to establish a prima facie case of retaliation under the MWA. Even assuming that plaintiff had established a prima facie case of retaliation, he has not shown that Plant Engineering's stated reason for terminating his employment—unsatisfactory job performance—was pretext for retaliation. View "Mervine v. Plant Engineering Services" on Justia Law

by
Plaintiff filed suit against the City and three police officers, alleging that they beat him while he was handcuffed. A jury found for the officers. The Eighth Circuit affirmed and held that the district court did not clearly err by denying plaintiff's Batson challenge where the officers offered a race-neutral rationale that the district court found credible; the district court did not abuse its discretion by admitting hospital records that were cumulative and harmless; the district court did not err by excluding evidence of racist emails sent and received by an officer given the minimal probative value of the officer's bias and the potential unfair prejudice to the other defendant officers who were not associated with the emails; and the district court did not abuse its discretion by refusing to sanction the officers with an adverse inference instruction for spoliation of evidence. View "Davis v. White" on Justia Law

by
Plaintiff filed suit against multiple defendants under 42 U.S.C. 1983, alleging claims of excessive force, illegal arrest, and illegal search, as well as tort claims under Arkansas law. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the denial of summary judgment to the defendants who took part in the incident, holding that the district court did not err in holding that Defendant Wolfe violated plaintiff's Fourth Amendment right to be free from excessive force because her use of force was objectively unreasonable as a matter of law. In this case, plaintiff was stopped and questioned while he was at a car wash and he did not commit any crimes. Furthermore, defendant was not resisting arrest, and was not acting aggressively towards Defendant Clark or threatening Clark's safety. Finally, plaintiff's right to be free from such excessive force was clearly established at the time. Therefore, defendants were not entitled to summary judgment based on qualified immunity. View "Perry v. Wolfe" on Justia Law