Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

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Heraeus sought to obtain discovery from Biomet to use in its trade secret misappropriation case against Biomet in Germany, citing 28 U.S.C. 1782, which allows a party to file a petition in a federal district court to obtain discovery for use in a foreign proceeding. Biomet produced discovery subject to stipulated protective orders that limited Heraeus’s ability to use or disseminate materials outside of the German proceeding and the section 1782 action. The German court ruled in Heraeus’s favor and enjoined Biomet from manufacturing or distributing products developed using the misappropriated information. That court quoted several documents that were produced in the 1782 proceeding, subject to the stipulated protective orders. Suspicious that Biomet was continuing to sell products made with Heraeus’s trade secrets outside of Germany, Heraeus brought actions in other European countries and moved to modify the section 1782 protective orders, to exclude the documents that the German court relied upon and/or to restrict Biomet’s internal use of those documents. The Seventh Circuit upheld the denial of the motions, concluding that it lacked jurisdiction with respect to the first two denials because Heraeus failed to timely appeal those denials. The district court did not abuse its discretion in denying the third request to impose restrictions on Biomet’s internal use of the documents it produced. View "Heraeus Kulzer GMBH v. Biomet, Inc." on Justia Law

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The plaintiffs formed the Fredericksburg partnership to search for oil and contracted with Kraft for management services. The IRS began a criminal investigation of the partnership, Kraft, and Kraft principals Valeri and Blum. In 2003, the plaintiffs and the IRS settled allegations against the partnership in exchange for the payment of taxes for the tax year 1994. The statute of limitations for 1994 tax liability had expired, but the IRS had obtained a waiver from Valeri. The plaintiffs allege that the IRS did not sign the agreement and Valeri could not waive the statute of limitations on plaintiffs’ behalf, 26 U.S.C. 6229(a)–(b); that the IRS never sent the plaintiffs required notices that the IRS had begun an administrative proceeding, 26 U.S.C. 6223(a); and that plaintiffs did not discover these alleged violations until 2009. The plaintiffs never sent formal refund claims but filed suit in 2012. The Seventh Circuit affirmed dismissal of the refund claims for lack of jurisdiction for failure to exhaust administrative remedies and claims for damages because they alleged IRS errors only in assessing taxes, not in collecting them, and were outside the scope of section 7433. The court rejected claims to exceptions under the “informal claim doctrine,” noting that the plaintiffs never perfected their claims. View "Goldberg v. United States" on Justia Law

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Ariel Investments, based in Illinois and doing business nationally, and Ariel Capital, based in Florida, both manage money for clients. Investments has used its name since 1983; Capital only since 2014. In a suit under the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. 1125(a), the district court found that Capital was infringing Investments’ trademarks. The Seventh Circuit reversed, finding that the court lacked jurisdiction. Capital does not have a client, property, or staff in Illinois, does not advertise in Illinois, and never has had an agent even visit Illinois. The Lanham Act does not authorize nationwide service of process, so personal jurisdiction depends on state law. A defendant’s knowledge and intent concerning a resident of a state do not justify compelling that person to defend himself there. A state may assert specific jurisdiction, based on a particular transaction, only if the defendant has “a substantial connection with the forum State” that is of the defendant’s creation. ”No matter how one might characterize the relation between Ariel Investments and Ariel Capital, it is easy to describe the relation between Illinois and Ariel Capital: none.” If infringement happened, it occurred in Florida, or some state where people who wanted to do business with Investments ended up dealing with Capital because of the similar names. View "Ariel Investments, LLC v. Ariel Capital Advisors LLC" on Justia Law

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The Milchteins have 15 children. The two eldest refused to return home in 2011-2012 and were placed in foster care by Wisconsin state court orders. In federal court, the Milchteins argued that state officials violated the federal Constitution by either discriminating against or failing to accommodate their views of family management in the Chabad understanding of Orthodox Judaism. Those children now are adults. State proceedings with respect to them are closed. The Seventh Circuit affirmed the dismissal of the Milchteins’ suit as moot, rejecting arguments the district court could have entered a declaratory judgment because the Milchteins still have 12 minor children, who might precipitate the same sort of controversy. The Milchteins did not seek alteration of the state court judgment, so the Rooker-Feldman doctrine did not block this suit but it is blocked by the requirement of justiciability. The Milchteins want a federal judge to say where a state judge erred but not act on that error: “a naked request for an advisory opinion.” If Wisconsin again starts judicial proceedings concerning the Milchteins’ children, the "Younger" doctrine would require the federal tribunal to abstain. Younger abstention may be inappropriate if the very existence of state proceedings violated the First Amendment but the Milchteins do not contend that it is never permissible for a state to inquire into the welfare of a religious leader’s children. View "Milchtein v. Chisholm" on Justia Law

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The Milchteins have 15 children. The two eldest refused to return home in 2011-2012 and were placed in foster care by Wisconsin state court orders. In federal court, the Milchteins argued that state officials violated the federal Constitution by either discriminating against or failing to accommodate their views of family management in the Chabad understanding of Orthodox Judaism. Those children now are adults. State proceedings with respect to them are closed. The Seventh Circuit affirmed the dismissal of the Milchteins’ suit as moot, rejecting arguments the district court could have entered a declaratory judgment because the Milchteins still have 12 minor children, who might precipitate the same sort of controversy. The Milchteins did not seek alteration of the state court judgment, so the Rooker-Feldman doctrine did not block this suit but it is blocked by the requirement of justiciability. The Milchteins want a federal judge to say where a state judge erred but not act on that error: “a naked request for an advisory opinion.” If Wisconsin again starts judicial proceedings concerning the Milchteins’ children, the "Younger" doctrine would require the federal tribunal to abstain. Younger abstention may be inappropriate if the very existence of state proceedings violated the First Amendment but the Milchteins do not contend that it is never permissible for a state to inquire into the welfare of a religious leader’s children. View "Milchtein v. Chisholm" on Justia Law

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Apple Leisure specializes in packaged travel sales and resort management. In 2011 Scott and Natasha Mueller purchased an Apple all-inclusive honeymoon trip to Secrets Resort in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, through a Fond du Lac, Wisconsin travel agent. The contract attached to their travel vouchers explains in boldface type that “[t]he exclusive forum for the litigation of any claim or dispute arising out of … [this] trip shall be the Court of Common Pleas of Delaware County, Pennsylvania.” While on her honeymoon, Natasha became ill after Secrets Resort served her contaminated fish. She was diagnosed with Ciguatera poisoning, a foodborne illness caused by eating certain reef fish infected with Ciguatera neurotoxins. The Muellers sued in the Eastern District of Wisconsin. The district judge applied the doctrine of forum non conveniens and dismissed the case based on the forum-selection clause. The Seventh Circuit affirmed. The judge’s decision was procedurally and substantively sound. A forum-selection clause channeling litigation to a nonfederal forum is enforced through the doctrine of forum non conveniens; only an exceptional public-interest justification can displace a contractual choice of forum. The Muellers have not identified any public interest to justify overriding the forum-selection clause in their travel contract. View "Mueller v. Apple Leisure Corp." on Justia Law

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Testosterone replacement drugs have been FDA-approved prescription drugs for more than 60 years. In recent years, manufacturers have found a new market: older men. Numerous lawsuits were filed against manufacturers alleging that the drugs increase health risks. Cases alleging that the manufacturers failed to warn doctors and patients adequately about the risks, citing state product-liability laws, were consolidated for pretrial proceedings. The district court granted a motion to dismiss brought by Depo-T’s manufacturer, finding the failure-to-warn claims preempted by federal law. The court stated that DepoT’s manufacturers could not change their drug labels to add warnings because FDA regulations prohibit them from “making a unilateral labeling change.” The Seventh Circuit affirmed. In Wyeth v. Levine, the Supreme Court held that claims against a manufacturer of a brand-name prescription drug for failure to warn adequately of the drug’s dangers were not preempted by federal law.; in PLIVA v. Mensing, the Court held that such failure-to-warn claims against manufacturers of generic drugs are preempted. The Court cited the different regulatory requirements and processes for approving and labeling prescription drugs. Depo-T “does not fit neatly into the colloquial dichotomy between brand-name and generic drugs” so the Seventh Circuit focused on whether the FDA approved public sale of its drugs through the “new drug application” or through the “abbreviated new drug application” (ANDA) and stated that the FDA-approved label defines an ANDA holder’s duty of sameness and the lines of federal preemption. View "Guilbeau v. Pfizer Inc." on Justia Law

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E.F., a motor carrier licensed in Indiana to transport beer, wine, and liquor, entered into talks with Indiana Wholesale, a liquor and wine wholesaler, to deliver its wares. Twice the parties sought approval from the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission. Indiana’s prohibited-interest laws require strict separation of beer and liquor wholesaling. The Commission was concerned that E.F shares the same ownership and management as Monarch. a licensed beer and wine wholesaler, so E.F. might be deemed to hold an interest in Monarch’s wholesaling permit, which might block its venture with Indiana Wholesale. The Commission never definitively ruled on the proposal. Because of the issue, E.F. and Indiana Wholesale broke off their plan. E.F. sought declaratory judgment and injunctive relief, arguing that enforcement of Indiana’s prohibited-interest statutes is preempted by federal law. The district court dismissed the claim as unripe based on the aborted business relationship and regulatory uncertainty. In separate litigation, while an appeal was pending, the Indiana Supreme Court held that, given their shared ownership and management, E.F. would hold an interest in Monarch’s beer wholesaling permit under Indiana’s prohibited-interest laws. The Seventh Circuit concluded that the state ruling and the standing threat of prosecution were enough to remove any ripeness barrier. E.F. need not violate the law and expose itself to punishment to raise its preemption claim. View "E.F. Transit, Inc. v. Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission" on Justia Law

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In November 2005, Lee was admitted to the U.S. as a nonimmigrant student's spouse. In March 2006, the Temple sought a nonimmigrant religious worker (R-1) visa for Lee. That petition remained pending in USCIS’s California Service Center (CSC) for almost four years. In October 2009, CSC indicated that USCIS intended to approve the petition and retroactively amend Lee’s status, to give her lawful status June 2006-May 2009 and that the Temple could apply for an extension for the remaining eligibility period, through May 2011. CSC’s approval notice stated that the R‐1 visa was valid through May 2009. CSC later approved an extension, covering May 2010-October 2011, leaving a gap in Lee’s lawful status. A November 2010 I‐360 petition, seeking classification as a special immigrant religious worker, stated that Lee had worked for the Temple since October 2009. CSC denied the application because Lee had worked when she did not have a valid visa. In June 2013, CSC agreed to eliminate the gap; CSC approved the I‐360 petition. In December 2013, Lee sought to adjust her status to lawful permanent resident. The Nebraska Service Center denied Lee’s application, noting a status violation. USCIS indicated its intent to revoke the I‐360 petition for failure to establish that Lee had worked continuously in a qualifying occupation for two years immediately preceding the application. The Temple responded that CSC had unreasonably delayed the initial application. USCIS considered that an admission and revoked the I‐360. The Seventh Circuit affirmed dismissal of a petition for judicial review. The revocation at issue is the type of discretionary action that 8 U.S.C. 1252(a)(2)(B)(ii) bars from judicial review. View "Bultasa Buddhist Temple of Chicago v. Nielsen" on Justia Law

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Nelson, Schultz, and Rodgers formed an LLC to develop a mixed‐use luxury skyscraper on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile. The LLC’s operating agreement provided that development fees would be divided among the LLC’s managers “as they mutually agree” and that a manager of the LLC could be removed for cause by a majority vote of its owners. In 2005, Rodgers and Schultz voted to remove Nelson, allegedly causing him a loss of $1.13 million on the Ritz‐Carlton Residences. Nelson sued for breach of contract and torts. During discovery Schultz and Rodgers asked Nelson to produce bank statements and tax returns, which, they said, they needed to defend against his claims. After Nelson refused, the district court granted the defendants’ motion to compel their production and warned Nelson, twice, that it would dismiss the case if he did not produce the documents or provide an affidavit documenting a diligent search for them. Nelson did neither. The Seventh Circuit affirmed dismissal of the case for want of prosecution, rejecting an argument that the district judge erred by not assessing whether his misconduct justified dismissing the case. The judge sufficiently evaluated the matter and did not abuse his discretion by dismissing the suit after multiple warnings. View "Nelson v. Schultz" on Justia Law