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Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Ind. Decisions - 7th Circuit posts four today

Loughman, Kathleen N v. Malnati Organization (ND Ill.)

Before POSNER, MANION, and EVANS, Circuit Judges.
EVANS, Circuit Judge. Kathleen Loughman brought suit against her employer, Malnati Organization, Inc. (d/b/a Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria), claiming it failed to protect her from sexual harassment by her coworkers. The district court granted Malnati’s motion for summary judgment, and Loughman appeals. * * *

Malnati’s argues that “three isolated incidents,” as it describes them, do not make for a hostile work environment and that Loughman would have complained to one of the other managers immediately after the first two incidents or would not have continued to work at the restaurant if she found the environment there to be offensive. Again, Malnati’s is free to make that argument at trial. But, viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to Loughman, a reasonable jury looking at the severity of the incidents and Loughman’s frequent complaints could find that Loughman believed her work environment was offensive. For these reasons, we REVERSE the district court’s judgment and REMAND the case for further proceedings.

Lunini, Joseph A. v. Grayeb, Charles V. (CD Ill.)

Before FLAUM, Chief Judge, and CUDAHY and POSNER, Circuit Judges.
CUDAHY, Circuit Judge. Following an alleged physical altercation with Charles Grayeb, his former boyfriend, appellee Joseph Lunini filed suit against Grayeb and three police officers who allegedly refused to arrest Grayeb due to among other things, that the officers’ refusal to arrest Grayeb violated Lunini’s equal protection rights under the Fourteenth Amendment. The district court granted in part and denied in part the defendants’ subsequent motion for summary judgment, holding, inter alia, that the police officers’ claims of qualified immunity fail because Lunini’s equal protection rights were “clearly established” at the time of the incident and material questions of fact remain as to whether the police officers actually violated those rights. Appellants now appeal that ruling on the narrow question whether Lunini’s equal protection rights were indeed “clearly established” for qualified immunity purposes at the time of the alleged incident. * * *

Certainly Lunini is unhappy with defendant police officers’ response to the incident at the High Street residence. However, on this record it appears highly doubtful that any alleged police misjudgments (if misjudgments there were) took on constitutional proportions. While we take pains to affirm the baseline principle that police support and protection must be afforded to all citizens on a non-discriminatory basis, we decline to take the unprecedented step of implying a general constitutional police duty to arrest certain individuals during a response to an isolated domestic incident. Such a ruling would threaten to turn every police house call into a potential federal constitutional lawsuit. Cf. Olech, 528 U.S. at 565-66 (Breyer, J., concurring) (warning against a rule that “would transform many ordinary violations of city or state law into violations of the Constitution”).

IV. CONCLUSION. We are persuaded that, under the circumstances of the instant case, an ordinary police officer could not know that he or she risked violating Lunini’s civil rights by failing to arrest Grayeb. Accordingly, we must conclude that the equal protection rights alleged to have been violated in the instant case were not clearly established at the time of the incident at the High Street residence. The order of the district court regarding defendant police officers’ claims of qualified immunity is accordingly REVERSED and the case REMANDED with instructions to enter summary judgment in favor of defendants Stenson, Kice and Barden with respect to Lunini’s class of one equal protection claim.

Weinschneider, Sidney v. Hoseman, Daniel (ND Ill.)

Before POSNER, WOOD, and EVANS, Circuit Judges.
EVANS, Circuit Judge. Sidney Weinschneider, a Chapter 7 debtor in bankruptcy, appeals from the district court’s affirmance of an order of the bankruptcy court denying his request for attorney fees from the bankruptcy estate. * * *

All of which means that the basis for an award of fees in this case can only come from state law. And on this point, Illinois law is clear and unhelpful to Weinschneider. Illinois follows the American rule, under which attorney fees are not available unless the parties have agreed to them or a statute provides for them. * * *

Unfortunately for Weinschneider, the contract in this case does not contain a provision for attorney fees, nor is there a statute providing for fees in this situation. His claim for attorney fees as an administrative expense was properly denied, and, accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the district court.

Lefkovitz, Sigmund v. Wagner, Nathan (ND Ill.)

Before POSNER, WOOD, and EVANS, Circuit Judges.
POSNER, Circuit Judge. Before us is a multifaceted challenge to the confirmation of an arbitration award. * * *

The district court’s judgment confirming the award and denying sanctions is AFFIRMED.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on January 18, 2005 06:57 PM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions