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Monday, January 30, 2006

Ind. Decisions - 7th Circuit decides five today

None of them involve Indiana. Two are immigration appeals; here are the others.

Bassiouni, Mahmoud v. FBI is a 26-page opinion by Judge Ripple:

Pursuant to the Privacy Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552a, Mahmoud Cherif Bassiouni sought to amend records maintained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI” or the “Bureau”) that pertained to his contacts with, and activities concerning, the Middle East. After exhausting his administrative remedies, Mr. Bassiouni filed this action under the Privacy Act’s enforcement provisions, id. § 552a(g). The district court granted summary judgment to the FBI; it held that the records were exempt from the Privacy Act’s amendment requirements. Mr. Bassiouni now appeals. For the reasons set forth in the following opinion, we affirm the judgment of the district court.
USA v. Gilbertson, Allen K. is a criminal appeal, "affirmed in all respects."

In Ford Motor Company v. Phillips, Joy, Judge Posner writes:

Before us are petitions for leave to appeal under the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005, Pub. L. 109-2, 119 Stat. 4, from orders remanding two class action suits to Illinois state courts. The question the petitions present is whether amending a complaint to add or substitute named plaintiffs (class representatives) “commences” a new suit. Id., § 9. The suits were filed before the effective date of the Class Action Fairness Act but the amendments came after. So if the amendments are deemed to commence new suits, these suits are removable to federal district court; otherwise not. Knudsen v. Liberty Mutual Ins. Co., 411 F.3d 805, 806 (7th Cir. 2005); Pritchett v. Office Depot, Inc., 404 F.3d 1232 (10th Cir. 2005). No appellate court has yet decided whether adding named plaintiffs to a class action suit “commences” a new suit for purposes of removal under CAFA. * * *

Relation back to add named plaintiffs in a class action suit is of particular importance because of the interests of the unnamed members of the class. Suppose Mr. X files a class action and after the statute of limitations has run the defendant settles with X. If a named plaintiff cannot be substituted for X with relation back to the date of the filing of the original complaint, the class will be barred from relief. That is the fate looming in Boxdorfer if relation back is denied, and for all we know in Phillips as well for class members who own 1996 Ford models. Since, for this reason, Illinois in effect allows named plaintiffs to be substituted with relation back (“in effect” because the formal rule is that the filing of a class action tolls the statute of limitations for class members, so that they can if necessary be substituted for the named plaintiffs, without being barred by reason of the passage of time since the suit was filed), Steinberg v. Chicago Medical School, 371 N.E.2d 634, 645 (Ill. 1977); Regnery v. Meyers, 679 N.E.2d 74, 81 (Ill. App. 1997) (this is also the federal rule, American Pipe & Construction Co. v. Utah, 414 U.S. 538, 553 (1974); Culver v. City of Milwaukee, 277 F.3d 908, 914 (7th Cir. 2002)), the addition of such plaintiffs in the two cases before us did not commence new suits. Remand was therefore required, as the district judges ruled.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on January 30, 2006 01:35 PM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions