Articles Posted in U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals

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The International Child Abduction Remedies Act, 42 U.S.C. 11601, entitles a person whose child has been removed from his custody to the U.S. to petition for return of the child. Father and mother lived with their daughter, three years old, in Canada. The parties are of Indian ethnicity; theirs was an arranged marriage. During a vacation in India, mother alleged domestic abuse, so that father was detained, while mother flew to the U.S. with daughter. Mother gave birth to a second child in the U.S.; that child is not at issue. The district court ordered the child returned to Canada. The child was taken from her mother by U.S. Marshals, based on the father’s assertion that the mother is a flight risk because India is not a signatory of the Hague Convention. The child lived with her father in a hotel in Chicago until she was returned to her mother pending appeal. The Seventh Circuit vacated and remanded for a hearing on whether being with the father will inflict psychological harm on the child. The court noted the conflicting assertions of the parents and that the district court did not explore the issue, apparently seeing it as a foreign problem. View "Khan v. Fatima" on Justia Law

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The Seventh Circuit consolidated two cases involving transfer to courts in another country. One is an appeal from an order to transfer cases involving vehicular accidents allegedly caused by tires installed on vehicles in Latin America, from the Southern District of Indiana to the courts of Mexico. Its i a suit by Mexican citizens arising from the death of another Mexican citizen in an accident in Mexico. The second involves transfer, to Israel, of suits against manufacturers of blood products used by hemophiliacs, which turned out to be contaminated by HIV; it was brought by Israeli citizens infected by the products in Israel. The Seventh Circuit affirmed the transfers. Noting the existence of apparently dispositive precedent, the court referred to "ostrich-like tactic of pretending that potentially dispositive authority against a litigant's contention does not exist." View "Gonzalez-Servin v. Ford Motor Co." on Justia Law

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Husband, a resident of Sweden, sought return of his child, under the Child Abduction Remedies Act, 42 U.S.C. 11601., which implements the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. Wife had taken the child to the United States, her home country, under the guise of a vacation. The Act provides for return of a child to the child's "habitual residence." The district court concluded that Sweden, where all three had lived until recently, was the habitual residence. The Seventh Circuit affirmed. The district court acted within its discretion in denying additional time for discovery and in awarding husband fees and costs. The court noted evidence that wife moved to Sweden, intending to make it her permanent home and the lack of evidence that husband presented a risk of harm to the child. View "Norinder v. Fuente" on Justia Law

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In 1998 defendant was one of 14 persons charged in an indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Chicago with conspiracy to import and distribute heroin (21 U.S.C. 963). He was indicted in his own name and under supposed aliases, including "Alaji," but could not be found. The others were convicted. Defendant was found in England and, after protracted extradition proceedings failed, he apparently went to Nigeria. In 2009 he moved to dismiss the indictment on the ground that the English magistrate had found that he was not Alaji. The finding was based on a remarkable resemblance between defendant and his brother. The district judge denied the motion. The Seventh Circuit affirmed, noting the lack of finality in a denial of extradition and that the denial was not the equivalent of acquittal. Only findings that are necessary to a court's decision are entitled to preclusive effect. View "United States v. Kashamu" on Justia Law

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The district court dismissed a complaint asserting breach of contract, breach of a covenant of good faith and fair dealing, breach of a settlement agreement, promissory estoppel, equitable estoppel, quantum meruit, unjust enrichment, constructive trust, accounting, reformation of contract, and several types of fraud in connection with agreements for "street furniture." After extensive discussion of whether the plaintiff, a sociedad anónima formed in Uruguay, was the equivalent of a corporation formed in the U.S., and the fact that the contract called for application of the law of Spain, the Seventh Circuit affirmed. The court concluded that, while the defendant did not treat plaintiff well, no rule of law entitles every business to a profit on every deal. View "White Pearl Inversiones v. Cemusa, Inc." on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs, 23 Liberian children, charge defendant with using hazardous child labor on its rubber plantation in violation of customary international law. The Alien Tort Statute, 28 U.S.C. 1350, confers on the federal courts jurisdiction over "any civil action by an alien for a tort only, committed in violation of the law of nations or a treaty of the United States." The district court dismissed. The Seventh Circuit affirmed, despite disagreeing with the district court holding that a corporation cannot be held liable under the statute. The court also stated that the plaintiffs were not required to exhaust remedies in which alleged violations occurred. Plaintiffs did not establish an adequate basis for inferring a violation of customary international law; the company does not employ children, they work to help their parents meet quotas, and there was no evidence about work expectations for Liberian children living off the plantation. View "Flomo v. Firestone Natural Rubber Co., LLC" on Justia Law

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After the the defendants defaulted on $39 million in loans the bank began post-judgment enforcement proceedings. Defendants were "sluggish" in responding to citations and the bank learned that they had transferred about $20 million to accounts in India. The district court ordered defendants to surrender their passports pending return of the funds. The Seventh Circuit affirmed. The district court had the power to impose a minimal seizure on the defendants until they abided by the asset production order or explained why they could not. View "Bank of America, N.A., v. Veluchamy" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff, an Illinois corporation, filed suit for conversion against a corporation based in South Korea and individuals. Although the defendants were served, there was no formal response. The individual defendants sent a letter asserting that they had no connection to the corporation and requesting dismissal. Several months later the court entered default judgment in the amount of $2,916,332. About a year later the defendants filed appearances and a motion to vacate for lack of personal jurisdiction. The district court denied the motion. The Seventh Circuit reversed and remanded. After noting that jurisdiction can be contested in the original proceeding or in a collateral action, the court concluded that the motion was not untimely. The letter did not constitute an appearance by the individuals and the corporation was not capable of making a pro se appearance. The defendants have submitted affidavits concerning whether they had "minimum contacts" with Illinois that must be considered by the court. View "Philos Technologies, Incorpora v. Philos & D, Incorporated, et al" on Justia Law

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Defendants, based in Romania and Chicago, operated an internet scam using E-bay. The Seventh Circuit addressed appeals by defendants convicted of wire fraud (18 U.S.C. 1343). The court upheld a sentence of 63 months imprisonment, at the high end of the guidelines, that did not include credit for time served on related state charges or in custody of immigration officials. The court properly allowed the defendant's attorney to withdraw and declined to appoint new counsel. Another defendant's appeal was barred by his plea agreement. The court properly considered the foreseeability of losses caused by co-schemers in sentencing a third defendant, who also pled guilty to receipt of stolen funds in interstate commerce (18 U.S.C. 2315). With respect to the only defendant to go to trial, the court vacated a conviction for aggravated identity theft (18 U.S.C. 1028A), finding the evidence insufficient to show that he knew that the passport he used belonged to a real person and was not a purely fictitious document; affirmed his conviction for money laundering (18 U.S.C. 1956(h)),stating that the court did not commit plain error in not limiting jury consideration of âproceedsâ to the net profits of the internet fraud scheme; and vacated his 324-month sentence.

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Plaintiffs, injured in a 1997 Jerusalem suicide bombing, obtained a $71 million default judgment against the Republic of Iran for its role in the attack. They registered the judgment in Illinois in order to attach antiquities on loan to a university and property owned by museums. The court held that Iran was required to appear to assert a defense under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, 28 U.S.C. 1330(a). When Iran appeared, plaintiffs served discovery requests for the locations of all Iranian assets in the United States. The district court allowed the discovery. The Seventh Circuit reversed. The orders were subject to immediate appeal because of possible intrusion on sovereign immunity. The Act provides that property of a foreign state shall be immune from attachment unless an enumerated exception applies. The district court did not address the exceptions, but issued a blanket order that was contrary to the presumption of immunity. That there has been a determination of liability does not nullify the protections of the Act with respect to execution. Based on the presumption of immunity, Iran was not required to appear to assert the defense in the first place. The court noted provisions of the Act, under which federal agencies may assist plaintiffs in collecting judgments against foreign states.