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Federal Civil PracticeThe newsletter of the ISBA’s Section on Federal Civil Practice

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Newsletter articles from 2004

Arbitrator had authority to decide Family Medical Leave Act issues By Joseph M. Gagliardo May 2004 In Butler Manufacturing Co. v. United Steelworkers of America, 336 F.3d 627 (7th Cir. 2003), Butler, the employer, brought an action to vacate an arbitration award entered pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement ("CBA") between Butler and the United Steelworkers of America ("Union").
An at-will employee may maintain a discrimination claim under 42 U.S.C. §1981 By Lori D. Ecker March 2004 One of the significant changes to discrimination law occasioned by the Civil Rights Act of 1991 was its expansion of the availability of 42 U.S.C. § 1981 ("Section 1981") as a viable cause of action.
Be careful what you ask for… Some releases are void as a matter of law By Jac A. Cotiguala and Luarine M. Galovich March 2004 In most instances a claimant typically signs a release of claims in return for some money and the matter is resolved. In the employment arena, a sweetened severance package contains a general release in return for the additional money offered.
Case synopsis By Regina W. Calabro November 2004 Maynard v. Nygren, No. 03-3436 (7th Cir. 6/22/04). Maynard brought this claim against McHenry County Sheriff Keith Nygren alleging failure to accommodate under the ADA. Maynard was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in February 1996.
Case synopsis By Patricia M. Fallon May 2004 Melissa Robinson brought this cause of action for hostile work environment, sexual harassment and constructive discharge pursuant to Title VII against Macon County and State Court Judge Warren A. Sappington. T
Chairman’s column By Shari R. Rhode March 2004 The decisions of the courts, especially in the employment area, have been many. So many in fact that a single issue of the newsletter could not be large enough to bring them to you.
Chair’s note By Jack A. Strellis November 2004 The frequency of discovery abuses, intentional or otherwise, under the federal rules of civil procedure appear to be on the rise, causing consternation for practitioners and judges alike.
The challenges of e-discovery By Regina W. Calabro November 2004 The evolving arena of electronic discovery presents significant challenges and a wide-array of potential abuses.
Comments from the chair February 2004 It is an exciting time for attorneys in the Federal Courts. We are facing our newest challenge. Electronic filing is here for some of us and close for the rest.
Discovery abuses in the federal system By Regina W. Calabro November 2004 The Federal Civil Practice Section is directed to raise issues of immediacy of federal practice and then provide necessary, timely, and hopefully rewarding assistance to the lawyer that practices in the federal courts within any of the three districts of Illinois.
Due process does not require that punitive damages be capped at a 4-to-1 ratio with compensatory damages By Devlin J. Schoop May 2004 In Mathias v. Accor Economy Lodging, Inc., No. 03-1010 (7th Cir. Oct. 21, 2003), the Seventh Circuit held that a jury verdict, in which punitive damages exceeded compensatory damages by more than four times a single-digit ratio, was not unconstitutionally excessive in violation of due process.
Employee’s failure to register specific complaints doomed her sexual harassment and retaliation claims under Title VII By Joseph M. Gagliardo May 2004 In Durkin v. City of Chicago, 341 F.3d 606 (7th Cir. 2003), the plaintiff sued the City of Chicago for events arising out of her employment training with the Chicago Police Department.
The Federal Court will soon go “paperless” By Arthur B. Cornell, Jr. February 2004 The United States District and Bankruptcy Courts in Illinois, and throughout the nation, are converting to a new "paperless" case management and electronic case filing system.
How to correctly respond to a movant’s local rule 56.1 statement of facts By Daniel J. Kurowski November 2004 You're sitting at your desk when a partner stops by your office and asks if you're busy.
Illinois Legislature acts to protect employee rights By Joseph M. Gagliardo March 2004 1. State Legislature waives 11th Amendment immunity on certain employment claims
Is an adverse action necessary to state a retaliation claim? By Shari R. Rhode May 2004 Burwell v. Pekin High School (Central District, Case No. 00-2 111), now on appeal to the 7th Circuit, is a Title IX sexual harassment and retaliation case brought by a senior at Pekin High School.
Listening to oral arguments-Long distance style By Jeffrey S. Fowler March 2004 Well, perhaps not long distance, perhaps even from next door, or across town, or even in the middle of the night.
No back pay or front pay available to undocumented workers in a retaliatory discharge proceeding filed under the Fair Labor Standards Act By Joseph M. Gagliardo May 2004 In Renteria v. Italia Foods, Inc., N.D. Ill. No. 02 C 495, 8/21/03, Judge Kennelly addressed the type of relief that is available to undocumented workers in a retaliation proceeding filed under the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA").
The Northern District continues work on electronic case filing By James F. Holderman February 2004 The Northern District's preparation for its transition to Electronic Case Filing ("ECF") is continuing.
A plaintiff need not present direct evidence of discrimination to get a mixed-motive jury instruction By Richard J. Gonzalez March 2004 Plaintiffs' employment lawyers are hailing the 2003 United States Supreme Court decision Desert Palace v. Costa, 539 U.S. _____, 123 S. Ct. 2148 (2003) and, just as they did over a decade ago when the Court handed down Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins, 490 U.S. 228, 109 S. Ct. 1775 (1989), and when Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1991, hope that it provides a long-awaited breakthrough in employment discrimination law that will fundamentally alter the playing field which they have traditionally viewed as overwhelmingly favoring employers.
Restriction of litigants’ access to protected health information under HIPAA By Jeffrey P. Carren May 2004 Regulations issued by the Secretary of Health and Human Services under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act ("HIPAA") prohibit covered entities-health plans, health care clearinghouses and health care providers-from using or disclosing protected health information ("PHI") without the consent of the individual who is the subject of the information, unless such use or disclosure is specifically permitted by the regulations.
Senior judging By Milton Shadur March 2004 Senior status" for the federal judge is a label that covers a multitude of sins-at least as long as the sins don't collide with the constitutional guaranty that provides judges with tenure only "during good behavior."
Seventh Circuit reaffirms that plaintiffs who prove pay discrimination may be awarded back pay even if the illegal pay decision occurred outside the limitations period By Robert H. Brown May 2004 In Reese v. Ice Cream Specialties Inc., ___ F.3d ___ (No. 02-1633) (7th Cir. 2003) and Hildebrandt v. Illinois Department of Natural Resources, ___ F.3d ___ (Nos. 01-0364 and 01-3690) (7th Cir. 2003), plaintiffs claimed they were paid less than they should have been because they were an African-American and a woman, respectively.
The Southern District goes electronic! By J. Phil Gilbert February 2004 I hope that the first time you hear about the Southern District of Illinois' electronic filing system is not by receiving a "Notice of Return of Document for Failure to Electronically File Document."
Supreme Court in review By Joseph M. Gagliardo March 2004 The following is a summary of the seven employment law cases decided by the U.S. Supreme Court during its 2002-2003 term.
Tax procedure and administration update: Innocent spouse - Equitable relief available under IRC section 6015(f) By William M. Gasa June 2004 Section 3201(c) of the Internal Revenue Service Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998, commonly known as RRA 98, enacted Section 6015 and amended Section 66(c) of the IRC, hereinafter referred to as the Code.
Technology and The Law seminar-March 12, 2004 By Patricia M. Fallon November 2004 The Federal Civil Practice committee co-sponsored the "Technology and the Law" Seminar in Chicago on March 12, 2004.
The use of other discriminatory acts to prove liability: An analysis of recent Seventh Circuit jurisprudence By James W. Springer May 2004 English and American law have generally looked with disfavor on attempts to prove (or disprove) liability, through proof of acts or behavior on other occasions.
What is necessary to establish that an individual has a disability? By Shari R. Rhode May 2004 In Poor v. Bridgestone/Firestone, Inc. (Central District, Case No, 00-2321), the court issued a decision on a motion for summary judgment in a case under the Americans with Disabilities Act that provides an excellent text for anyone practicing or wishing to practice in the area of disability discrimination.