Appellate & Post-Trial Litigation Blog

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Unpublished Appellate Opinions-A Tale of Two Circuits

It's an open secret that most federal appellate courts dispense with their cases via unpublished opinions. The numbers are in for 2022, and to be precise, 86% of federal appellate opinions were unpublished. This published-unpublished distinction is important because an unpublished decision is not precedential, and thus does not create circuit law. Examining the numbers of other federal circuit courts, the Seventh Circuit is an outlier at 65% unpublished. Only the D.
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Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Seventh Circuit Win on Appellate Sanctions

This week, an appellate opinion was issued by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Kinsella v. Baker Hughes. I represented the Appellant in this appeal of an arbitration ruling. The Appellee contended my client pursued a frivolous appeal and sought Rule 38 sanctions. While the Seventh Circuit ultimately rebuffed our position on the underlying merits, it issued an important ruling agreeing with our argument on the issue of Rule 38 sanctions.
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Friday, May 5, 2023

The Perils of Forfeiture

Federal appellate courts are loathe to address arguments not preserved in the district court. The Seventh Circuit is no different. That position was personified today in the Seventh Circuit's opinion in Sunny Handicraft v. Envision This!, No. 21-1579.

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Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Podcast Discussion on Law & Crime

I recently had the honor of being invited to speak on a podcast with Adam Klasfeld. As Mr. Klasfeld explains: On the latest episode of Law & Crime’s podcast, “Objections: with Adam Klasfeld,” appellate attorney Christopher Keleher, who also wrote the University of San Francisco Law Review article “The Repercussions of Anonymous Juries” in 2010, details the fascinating history of anonymous juries, laying out their benefits and drawbacks.

Mr. Klasfeld and I also spoke about the possibility of an anonymous jury in the trial of former President Trump and Jean Carroll.
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Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Seventh Circuit Win

This week, I won a reversal in the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. The case, Bradley v. Village of University Park, concerns the constitutional issue of procedural due process. However, this appeal focused on whether the law of the case doctrine and mandate rule applied. This is the second time the case was appealed to the Seventh Circuit.
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Tuesday, January 3, 2023

The SAFE-T Act, Stalled, For Now

The Safety, Accountability, Fairness and Equity-Today Act, commonly known as the SAFE-T Act, is an Illinois statute enacted in 2021 that reforms the criminal justice system. It represents a shift in the approach to policing, pretrial detention, bail, sentencing, and corrections. The law—a lightning rod in the debate over crime and punishment—was set to go into effect on January 1, 2023. One such provision of the statute would have eliminated cash bail across the state. But a Kankakee County judge found that portion of the law unconstitutional last week.
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Wednesday, December 7, 2022

The End of An Era

The Honorable William J. Bauer has stepped down from his post as a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. He served that position since 1974 with fairness, kindness, and wit. He will be missed by both bench and bar. I had the honor of serving as a clerk for Judge Bauer, and it was the highlight of my legal career.
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Thursday, October 6, 2022

Illinois Bar Journal Publication

I had the honor of being published in this month's edition of the Illinois Bar Journal. The article is entitled, "To Remain Silent: Navigating The Minefield of Custodial Interrogations." It examines Miranda warnings and the latest developments in Illinois and federal courts on this ever evolving issue.


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Thursday, September 22, 2022

Seventh Circuit Appellate Court Filings Decrease

The Seventh Circuit has issued its annual report for 2021, and once again, the trend is down. The number of appeals filed in 2021 was 2,493, a decrease of 5% from 2020. This cannot be attributed to the pandemic or economic forces alone. Examining the bigger picture, the number has steadily declined over 15 years. For example, there were 3,518 appeals filed in 2006, amounting to a drop of over 1,000 appeals over the last 15 years.
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Tuesday, August 30, 2022

En Banc Split Vote

The Seventh Circuit evenly split on an en banc petition this week, five to five in Johnson v. Prentice, No. 18-3535. The tie vote meant the panel decision stood, and thus the Court would not hear the case en banc. The issue generated a concurrence from Judge Michael Scudder and a passionate dissent from Judge Diane Wood.
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Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Appealing Summary Judgment

Litigants who prevail at summary judgment must be cautious at the appellate level. While it is tempting for counsel to portray the facts in their client’s best interests, federal appellate precedent is very clear that this is a bad idea. That lesson was reflected by the recent Seventh Circuit decision of Ziccarelli v. Sheriff Thomas Dart, No. 19-3435.
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