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Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Ind. Decisions - 7th Circuit posts five today

Grupee, James G. v. Gonzales, Alberto R. (Immigration) [4 pp.]

Kobs, Elvis v. United WI Insur Co (WD Wis.) [9 pp.]

J.S. Sweet Co. Inc. v. Sika Chemical Corp (SD Ind., Richard L. Young, Judge) [14 pp.]

Before FLAUM, Chief Judge, and EASTERBROOK and WOOD, Circuit Judges.
FLAUM, Chief Judge. J.S. Sweet Company, Inc. (“J.S. Sweet”) brought this diversity suit against Sika Chemical Corp. (“Sika”), alleging that defendant committed the tort of spoliation of evidence by failing to preserve materials relevant to a lawsuit between J.S. Sweet and one of its customers. Plaintiff also sued for breach of contract. The district court granted summary judgment on both counts, and Sweet appealed. We hold that Sika had no duty to preserve the evidence in question, that its loss of the evidence did not, as a matter of law, harm J.S. Sweet, and that Sika did not breach its contract with plaintiff. Accordingly, we affirm.

USA v. Williams, Winthrop (SD Ind.,Larry J. McKinney, Chief Judge) [5 pp.]

Before BAUER, POSNER, and KANNE, Circuit Judges.
BAUER, Circuit Judge. Defendant-Appellant Winthrop P. Williams, Jr. challenges the denial of his motion to suppress evidence seized during a search of his home. The evidence led to his indictment and conditional plea of guilty on one count of possession with intent to distribute more than 50 grams of cocaine. Specifically, Williams takes issue with a warrantless search of his residence, conducted immediately prior to a search authorized by a warrant, where the police first observed the evidence at issue. The district court found that the independent source doctrine applied in this case and denied the motion to suppress. We affirm.

Ezell, Stephen v. Potter, John E. (ND Ind.,Philip P. Simon, Judge) [19 pp.]

Before FLAUM, Chief Judge, and POSNER and ROVNER, Circuit Judges
ROVNER, Circuit Judge. Stephen Ezell, a longtime employee of the United States Postal Service, sued his employer for race, gender and age discrimination. He contended that he was treated in a disparate manner based on these prohibited factors and also that he was subject to a hostile environment. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the Postal Service on all of the claims. We affirm in part and vacate and remand for further proceedings in part. * * *

Ezell has not presented sufficient evidence to sustain a hostile environment claim and we therefore affirm judgment in favor of the defendant on that claim. But for the reasons we have stated above, Ezell’s race, sex and age claims are sufficiently supported to survive summary judgment and we therefore vacate that part of the judgment and remand for further proceedings. Ezell’s damages may be modest but he may take these claims to trial.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on March 16, 2005 02:03 PM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions