Paul W. Mollica

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In Thornley v. Clearview AI, Inc., No. 20-3249 (7th Cir. Jan. 14, 2021), a plaintiff fighting removal of her Illinois class action from state court persuades the Seventh Circuit that the federal courts lacked subject-matter jurisdiction over her claim. “Illinois’s Biometric Information Privacy Act, familiarly known as BIPA, provides robust protections for the biometric information of Illinois residents. See 740 ILCS 14/1 et seq. It does so by regulating the collection, retention, disclosure, and…
In Echeverry v. Jazz Casino Co., LLC, No. 20-30038 (5th Cir. Jan. 12, 2021), the Fifth Circuit affirms liability – but vacates damages – in a negligence case involving a casino and one of its contractors, holding “that none of the objected-to evidence was erroneously admitted at trial.” “Jazz Casino Company … hired Alabama Wildlife Removal (‘AWR’) as an independent contractor in January 2017 to remove birds from palm trees near the Casino. On…
In United States v. Earth, No. 19-1555 (8th Cir. Jan. 11, 2021), the Eighth Circuit upholds a conviction for assault on the Rosebud Indian Reservation, overruling several hearsay objections including comments made for medical treatment and “excited utterances.” Defendant Earth was charged with stabbing a cousin during a domestic dispute. “At trial, the defense conceded that Earth stabbed Sharpe Butte but argued that she did so in self-defense.” The jury convicted Earth of assault…
In United States v. Driscoll, No. 19-3074 (D.C. Cir. Jan. 5, 2021), the panel holds that the district court’s repeated efforts to force a verdict denied the defendant a fair trial and required that the conviction be vacated. “Jury deliberations in Driscoll’s trial began on Tuesday, November 20. The jury deliberated for approximately 45 minutes before breaking for Thanksgiving. After returning on Monday, November 26, the jury sent a note to the District Court…
In JTH Tax, Inc. v. Aime, No. 19-1746 (4th Cir. Jan. 4, 2021), the Fourth Circuit holds that the district court erred – on remand from an earlier appeal – in granting the winning plaintiff (1) additional compensatory damages on the grounds of newly discovered evidence, and (2) nominal damages. Aime operated nine tax franchises from Liberty Tax. Owing to an investigation by the IRS, Aime lost his Electronic Filing Identification Number (EFIN), which…
In Langere v. Verizon Wireless Servs., No. 19-55747 (9th Cir. Dec. 29, 2020), the Ninth Circuit clarifies the standard for when a three-judge panel may overrule circuit precedent in the face of “irreconcilable” Supreme Court authority. It holds that it is not necessary for the prior circuit caselaw to be on all fours with the intervening Supreme Court decision, only that its underlying reasoning be rejected. The Ninth Circuit had held in Omstead v.…
In Calvary Chapel of Bangor v. Mills, No. 20-1507 (1st Cir. Dec. 22, 2020), the panel denies appellate jurisdiction over the district court’s denial of a temporary restraining order (TRO), sought by a religious organization challenging the state’s emergency measures in response to the coronavirus pandemic. On April 29, 2020, after implementing a statewide shutdown to arrest the spread of COVID-19, the Governor of Maine (Mills) ordered a phased return to public gatherings. Calvary…
In United States v. Banks, No. 19-3245 (7th Cir. Dec. 18, 2020), the Seventh Circuit vacates a conviction that the panel holds was “unacceptably coercive,” when the trial judge exposed a dissenting juror during a poll, then sent the jury back to deliberate at 9pm. The United States prosecuted a federal employee who was charged with collaborating in a plot to rob a post office. After a five day trial, the jury adjourned to…
On December 14 and 15, 2020, four different panels of the Seventh Circuit issued five published opinions, holding on various grounds that the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) plaintiffs failed to plausibly allege an injury under Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, 136 S. Ct. 1540 (2016) … but holding in one case that there might be an injury, subject to further findings. Larkin v. Finance System of Green Bay, No. 18-3582 (7th Cir. Dec. 14,
In United States v. Alfred, No. 19-1243 (10th Cir. Dec. 14, 2020), the Tenth Circuit finds no error in admission of memes from the defendant’s social media page as “intrinsic evidence” of his facilitation and solicitation of prostitution under Fed. R. Evid. 404(b)(2) and 403. The defendant allegedly used the social-media site Tagged to operate a prostitution business. Defendant sent sixty-five Tagged users messages asking “What’s good wit cha ma[?]” The FBI, behind a…