« Ind. Law - Some other 2005 bills of interest | Main | Ind. Decisions - Court of Appeals posts one today »

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Ind. Law - 7th Circuit posts two today

Parks, Marshall v. Wells Fargo Home (CD Ill.) [12 pp.]

Before BAUER, KANNE, and WOOD, Circuit Judges.
WOOD, Circuit Judge. When Norwest Mortgage, Inc., failed properly to pay two tax installments on property mortgaged by Marshall and Cindy Parks, a bureaucratic snarl ensued. The Parkses, along with Norwest, became enmeshed in a legal fight to avoid losing their home. Although they eventually succeeded in defeating the claim of a tax scavenger who had fraudulently obtained a tax deed on the Parkses’ home, the Parkses blamed Norwest for allowing the situation to get out of hand. They sued Norwest (now part of Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, Inc.) for breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and violation of duties imposed by the Illinois Consumer Fraud Act (CFA), 815 ILCS 505/2, invoking the federal court’s diversity jurisdiction. * * *

We realize that, for a brief time, the Parkses must have been seriously worried about the prospect of losing their home as a result of Norwest’s errors. Nonetheless, Norwest’s actions were not the sort that can support emotional or punitive damages, nor can they form the basis of a claim under the CFA. We therefore VACATE the award of emotional distress and punitive damages and REVERSE the district court’s finding of liability under the CFA.

Cerros, Tony v. Steel Technologies (ND Ind., Theresa L. Springmann, Judge) [18 pp.]

Before EASTERBROOK, WOOD, and WILLIAMS, Circuit Judges
WOOD, Circuit Judge. This is the second time the district court has granted judgment against Tony Cerros in his hostile work environment claim against his former employer, Steel Technologies, Inc., and for the second time, we have concluded that we must reverse that judgment. In Cerros v. Steel Technologies, Inc., 288 F.3d 1040 (7th Cir. 2002) (“Cerros I”), we expressed concern that the court’s judgment against Cerros might have resulted from a “misunderstanding about the legal threshold for harassment cases,” given the court’s failure to explain why the “appalling litany of misconduct” documented in its order was insufficient to show a hostile work environment, id. at 1046-47. On remand, however, the court did not start from a clean slate. Instead, it incorporated its factual findings from its first order and made additional findings that unfortunately conflict with respect to critical aspects of Cerros’s claim. In light of these inconsistent findings, as well as certain problems with the legal analysis reflected in the judgment below and the conduct of Steel’s counsel, we remand this case for a new trial.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on February 23, 2005 01:19 PM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions